AN ‘INSPIRATIONAL’ Kirk Hallam pensioner has become one of just 60 people in the UK to earn a prestigious dog training qualification.
After two years of studying, Raymond Jones, 82, has achieved full Kennel Club accreditation and is set to receive his certificate at the national Crufts dog show in March.
The retired dog handler with Staffordshire police has been an instructor at the Midlands Counties German Shepherd Dog Association since 2005.
He said the club, which meets at Elvaston village hall, will move to the ‘top of the list’ for dog training centres in the area now that it has its first Kennel Club-accredited instructor.
“They are really pleased and chuffed,” said Raymond, who keeps active by walking his Border collie Holly.
After a knee operation in 2004, he was forced to stop competing in dog trials and so became an instructor.
Raymond, who does not own a computer, spent two years studying books on dog training to win the award.
He explained that it is formally endorsed by City and Guilds, and entitles him to set up his own training school, if he so wishes.
“It’s one of the finest courses available at the moment and it’s a really good thing that it gives you a vocational qualification too,” he said.
His daughter Christine Cutler said: “He is an inspiration to the older person and has proved that age is not a barrier to achievement.
“Dogs have played a very important part in my father’s life and he strives constantly to learn more about the behaviour and everything involved in the wellbeing of this animal.”