FOR someone who formerly had a phobia about dogs, Potterne resident Ellen Bothwick has been transformed into a successful trainer of a particularly entertaining pooch.

Mrs Bothwick and Harley, her 20-month-old English springer spaniel, regularly perform at day centres and residential homes, delighting young and old alike with Harley’s tricks and antics.

And the pair will be strutting their stuff in Potterne Pantomime Group’s forthcoming panto, Once Upon a Time.

Mrs Bothwick said: “Harley and I have a set routine at the centre of the show. The heroes are trying to raise money to save the hero from the ogre and Harley and I take part in their concert.”

But she started out with a fear of dogs. She said: “I got Harley to overcome my fear and we just clicked. My husband bought me a book, 101 Tricks for Dogs, so I tried a few out on Harley and he really took to it.

“I took him to a trainer but he was already so advanced that he didn’t benefit. I continued to train him myself and we now have a routine we perform to a music compilation that I put together.

“It is very unusual for a spaniel to excel at this kind of thing. They are usually used as sniffer dogs at airports and they rarely get involved in dance routines but, then, Harley is an exceptional dog.”

The dynamic duo have been busy since Mrs Bothwick launched her website

They performed at the Winter Wonderland event in Urchfont just before Christmas, took part in My Dog’s Got Talent in Swindon, attended Whiteway Fete in Gloucestershire, the Haven Nursing Home in Coventry and Harley won the Jack FM PetFactor competition in January.

The Potterne panto takes place at the village hall on February 14, 15 and 16 at 7.30pm, with a 2pm matinee on the Saturday.