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Gallery: Four proud dog lovers from Mendlesham qualify for Crufts with their four-legged friends

09:00 22 January 2014

Mendlesham dog owners qualify for Crufts. Debbie Gaskin with Dachshunds L-R: Lenny, Rodney and Skipper.

Mendlesham dog owners qualify for Crufts. Debbie Gaskin with Dachshunds L-R: Lenny, Rodney and Skipper.

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They insist there will be no rivalry when their pampered pups prance for prizes at Crufts.

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Mendlesham dog owners qualify for Crufts. L-R: Kay Crisp, Debbie Gaskin, Aaron Marshall, Sharon Marshall and Isabel Eastall.Mendlesham dog owners qualify for Crufts. L-R: Kay Crisp, Debbie Gaskin, Aaron Marshall, Sharon Marshall and Isabel Eastall.

But it is difficult to imagine that bragging rights in the village park will not be coveted when four proud owners from Mendlesham enter a combined eight dogs at the prestigious show in early March.

“It is a great achievement for such a small village,” said experienced handler Debbie Gaskin.

She is just as familiar with the cavernous National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, where Crufts has been held since 1991, as she is with the nutritional 
and dietary needs of her 
three standard smooth dachshunds; three-month-old Rodney, Lenny, three, and Skipper, two.

The latter is a Malaysian national champion, recruited by the housewife as she bids to top the podium for the ninth time of asking.

“I give them a couple of miles’ walk every day,” said Mrs Gaskin, who has earned a top-five finish every year.

“An unfit dog will not do well.”

This year will be different though. Along with husband Gary, she will be joined by three other competitors from the village vying for approval from the quizzical judges.

Sharon Marshal, aided by son Aaron, has Afghans Annais and Thierry. Kay Crisp has Cocker Spaniels Mini and Dexter. Isobel Eastell has Airedale Terrier Susan.

But Mrs Gaskin said they will 
be driven only by individual honours.

“There is no rivalry,” she said. “We all want each other to do really well. We are all friends and although we don’t train together we will be supporting each other.

“Let’s hope we come back to Mendlesham with plenty of ribbons to show off.”

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