Woman overcomes grief to fulfil dream of competing at Crufts

Karen Goodall, a veterinary nurse from Wakefield lost four stone to fulfill her lifelong dream to compete at Crufts and will compete at the world’s biggest show next month at the NEC, Birmingham with her Cocker Spaniel, Breeze.

Karen, aged 43, has had a difficult few years and found herself comfort eating after the loss of her sister to cancer and the death of her father. With her mother suffering from Alzheimers, she was struggling to come to terms with all that had happened to her.

Karen started competing in dog agility to lose the weight she had gained after the loss of her sister and father.  Karen commented: “Since l lost my sister and dad l put on a lot of weight, but by competing in agility and taking part in the training l have lost four stone and feel great. It helped me get out and meet friends; it really has given me something to look forward to each day. I’m enjoying life again and it’s down to my dogs, agility and dog showing, alongside my wonderfully supportive husband Andrew, that I’ve been able to pick myself back up.”

Breeze was welcomed into the family after they had lost one of their dogs, Smokey, a nine year old Cocker Spaniel after a three year battle with meningitis.  Karen began competing in agility with her other dog Inca in 2009 before starting to train and show Breeze last year.

Karen said: “Breeze is my first ever show dog and competes as Samsonli Sapphire Girl. I didn’t even think of showing her until someone I work with mentioned it to me. We started her off competing in agility and still hope to continue with the agility training as well as showing her.  I didn’t have any experience of showing and didn’t know where to start, but my friend Tammy helped me learn how to groom her and gave me lots of advice on how to show Breeze.”

Karen will be showing 11 month old Breeze on Saturday 9th March in the special puppy class at Crufts. Talking of competing next month at Crufts, Karen said: “I have only ever gone to Crufts as a visitor in the past and this is a lifelong dream of mine to compete with my very own dog at Crufts. It really has been a fantastic boost after such a bad few years and it’s extra special that it’s with Breeze as she is of the same pedigree line as Smokey.”

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “Karen really has been through a difficult time and her story can inspire others going through similar situations. By becoming involved in dog showing and agility, she has improved her confidence and boosted her fitness, losing an incredible four stone. This is a wonderful example of how dog sports can really help with health and fitness for owners and dogs. The Kennel Club’s Get Fit With Fido campaign encourages people like Karen looking to improve their health and fitness with the help of their dogs.

“We wish Karen and Breeze all the best for Crufts and look forward to hearing of their future successes in showing and agility.”

Crufts take place from 7 - 10 March 2013 at the NEC, Birmingham. For more information visit www.crufts.org.uk

14th February 2013

For journalists who would like further press information, images or interview requests click here.
Like our Facebook page:   
Follow us on Twitter:
Want to talk about Crufts on Twitter? Make sure you use #Crufts

Notes to editors
•    Watch Crufts on More4 from 6.30pm – 9pm on 7th – 9th March and on Channel 4 from 5.30pm – 8pm on 10th March. This includes all of the highlights from the Arena programme, including the presentation to the Friends for Life winner. Also watch Crufts live on the Crufts YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/user/Crufts.
•    Tickets cost £14 for adults in advance and £17 on the door. Best in Show tickets start from £17.50. Concessions are also available. All tickets are subject to a booking fee.  Book by calling the Crufts Ticket Hotline at The Ticket Factory on 0844 444 99 44, or online at www.theticketfactory.com.
•    For the latest updates you can join the Crufts Facebook page at www.facebook.com/crufts or follow the Kennel Club on Twitter.com/KCLovesDogs.
•    The Kennel Club, organiser of Crufts, is the UK’s largest organisation dedicated to the health and welfare of dogs. At its heart are programmes and investments in education and health initiatives to help dogs across the UK to live long, healthy, happy lives with responsible owners.
•    Crufts is a unique celebration of happy, healthy dogs and of the loving relationship that they enjoy with their owners. It recognises the varied roles that dogs play in society and highlights the many different disciplines and activities in which dogs are involved.