On your marks, get set, go!
Dogs from Blackpool’s own flyball team, Trigger Happy, are taking off to compete in the European Championships.
Toby the golden retreiver, Peri and Harvey the spaniels, Holly B and Holly S the collies, and Jethro the cross-breed will be leaping over the hurdles in hot pursuit at the competition in Ipswich this summer.
Team member Amber Smith, 26, who lives in Bispham, said: “I am so proud of them.
“The European Championships only come to England every 10 years.
“We were picked by chance out of thousands of teams, so it’s a joy to even qualify.”
Flyball is a relay race in which teams of dogs race over a line of hurdles to a box that releases a tennis ball when the dog presses the spring-loaded pad.
The dogs catch the ball then speed back across the hurdles to their owners. The team to complete the course in the fastest time is crowned the winner.
College co-ordinator Amber, whose two dogs Holly S and Harvey will be running at the championships alongside her husband Anthony, said: “It doesn’t go just on speed, it also goes on agility.
“Cocker spaniels are very good at turning, which gives them an advantage over the greyhounds, who have the speed but are not very good at turning.
“The dogs absolutely love it. We wouldn’t be doing it if they didn’t enjoy it.
“They are a very good team and very confident.
“They just won first place in a competition last week out of 68 teams, so they’ve got a really good chance.
“My collie is the fastest one on the team and can do the whole course in just over four seconds.
“Her fastest time is 3.8 seconds.”
Team leader Carolyn Higgingson, 46, who lives in Thornton, said: “The dogs are always very hyped up and excited to race.
“They definitely enjoy it and it’s good exercise for them.
“I think we have got as much chance of winning as anybody else.
“I’m hopeful we’ll do well.”