You sure can teach this dog new tricks

East Kilbride News - - NEWS - Ni­cola Find­lay

A doggy-danc­ing duo who were Euro­pean semi-fi­nal­ists are aim­ing to fly the flag for Scot­land once again.

Marie Docherty, 53, from Calder­wood, and four-legged friend Erin trav­elled to Bel­gium re­cently with their team-mates from the Elite K9 Dancers squad.

It is a mod­ern dog-sport that is a mix­ture of obe­di­ence train­ing, tricks and dance that al­lows for cre­ative in­ter­ac­tion be­tween dogs and own­ers.

The squad – made up of three hu­mans and five dogs – com­peted at the Open Euro­pean Cham­pi­onships (OEC).

Team coach Heather Smith even made it through to the fi­nals with her dog Dare. But hav­ing won Crufts three times, she is no stranger to tough com­pe­ti­tion.

And fol­low­ing a suc­cess­ful trip, Scot­land have been asked to go to Switzerland next year where the OEC 2018 will be held.

While Marie and Erin will have to go through a fi­nal se­lec­tion process, she is hope­ful they will rise to the chal­lenge af­ter a fan­tas­tic ex­pe­ri­ence in Bel­gium.

It was the first time a team from Scot­land had com­peted at the Euro­pean cham­pi­onships.

Marie told the News: “Team Scot­land were very proud to fly the flag at the open­ing cer­e­mony where we were among around 16 na­tions.

“It was a re­ally emo­tional ex­pe­ri­ence and my mum Mary Docherty was per­suaded to be our team mas­cot and joined us in our pa­rade for Scot­land.

“The first night was mem­o­rable as all the na­tion­al­i­ties came to­gether for din­ner where we all ex­changed gifts from our own coun­tries.

“Tun­nock’s tea­cakes, Walk­ers short­bread and High­land tof­fee were some of the good­ies we handed out.

Star per­form­ers Marie Docherty at the Euro­pean cham­pi­onships in Bel­gium with Erin

Best friends Marie finds time to re­lax with danc­ing dog Erin

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