IT WAS only three months ago when Jake and Bonnie first met each other in the training yard.

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But now, in less than two weeks’ time, the pair will be aiming to run and jump in perfect unison to claim national honours at Crufts.

Jake Coles, a Stowupland High school pupil from Stowmarket, says he has a “new friend” in Bonnie, a three-year-old border collie cross spaniel. Jake, 14, said: “We get on really well and have done since the first day we met.

“When we were waiting for the pictures to be taken, I was sitting on the sofa by myself and she naturally came over to me and sat on my lap. She’s a lovely dog. We’re great friends now.”

They met after Bonnie’s owner and family friend Valerie White offered to help Jake qualify for the leading dog show by setting up their first training session together. They have since trained every week at the Suffolk Five Rivers Agility Club in Levington, sharpening their moves and practising their routine.

Jake said: “It was great when we found out we were going to Crufts and I am really looking forward to it now. Hopefully we can do really well.”

Jake and Bonnie will be hoping to be among the rosettes in the Young Kennel Club Agility Dog of the Year category at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham on Thursday, March 7. Jake qualified by winning at the Dogs In Need Agility Society competition at Trinity Park, Ipswich, in August – and revealed the inspiration behind his success so far.

He said: “My mum and I went to Crufts around five or six years ago and watched Valerie compete with her first dog. I really enjoyed it all and thought ‘I want to do that’. So then I started on my own when I was about 12 and I’m very happy to be going to Crufts now to compete.

“Working with dogs is very enjoyable for me and very enjoyable for the dog. We both get a lot of good exercise as well.”

The dynamic duo will be willed on by Valerie and Jake’s mother Joanna at Crufts.

Mrs Coles said: “Jake and Bonnie hit it off from day one and have made great progress in a short amount of time. We are all very proud of them both for getting this far and are looking forward to going to Crufts to cheer them on.”

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