A rescue dog who once struggled to catch his breath is now making spectators gasp with his acts of agility.
In just three years Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Barney has recovered from a life threatening respiratory illness and is now preparing to take part in the World Agility Open Championships in Italy with his owner Hayley Telling.
Hayley, 24, said: “I am over the moon to have been asked to compete there, it will be such an amazing experience for us both and I can't wait to learn as much as I can at our first international competition.”
It is a remarkable turnaround for Barney, who in 2010 was handed to Worthing and District Animal Rescue Service as a little pup suffering from a life threatening respiratory illness.
Because of his young age, the situation was critical and he was taken to Grove Lodge Veterinary Hospital for emergency treatment.
He made a remarkable recovery and improved enough to be fostered.
Having helped to nurse Barney through his illness, Grove Lodge veterinary nurse Hayley Telling offered to look after Barney until a permanent home could be found, but fell in love and decided to keep him.
Hayley, from Milton Avenue in Rustington, started taking Barney to puppy training classes, where his star talent emerged.
Having watched an agility display at a dog show, she was inspired to see if Barney had what it took to compete two years ago.
The pair competed in their first agility competition just three months later.
Since then they have proved to be a winning partnership, taking the top spot in numerous competitions, including the Starters Cup at Discover Dogs 2012 and Rescue Dog of the Year.
They have now been invited to compete as part of team England at the World Agility Open Championships 2014 in Italy in May and will be sponsored by Grove Lodge Vets.
Hayley said: “We have an extremely strong relationship, he follows me around whenever he can and I take him with me wherever I can.
“He is my best friend and I am extremely proud of him.”