They say dogs are a man’s best friend.
For Chris Betts and Wallis, the German Shepherd and Golden Retriever cross, this is certainly the case.
Today the duo will be heading down to semi-finals of Scruffts - a national competition for cross breeds – in London at the Excel - where 10-year-old Wallis will compete in the ‘golden oldies section’ and hopefully impress judges with her obedience skills.
However, originally Wallis was supposed to have an entirely different life as a working dog - before fate intervened.
Chris, 42, from Whitburn, said: “Fate brought Wallis into our family in March 2006.
“Mum overheard that Guide Dogs For The Blind were looking to rehome her as she had failed her 16 months milestone.
“She was too bodily sensitive to wear the hard harness as a guide dog should.
“Wallis soon became mum’s dog and she idolised her and enjoyed training.”
Sadly Chris’s mum Wendy Betts, a teacher at Marsden Primary, passed away in 2010, aged 70.
So then Wallis, who was just three-year-old at the time, became Chris’s companion.
The pair began training classes at Chuter Ede Community Association and All Saints in South Shields.
Chris said: “As Wallis continued to inspire me, we became a team, together competing in obedience shows ever since.”
Last year Wallis qualified and took part in the Kennel Club’s national obedience class finals held at their headquarters in Stoneleigh, Warwickshire.
This year Wallis made it into the Scrufts semi-finals by competing in qualifying rounds which were held at The Great North Dog Walk on The Leas in South Shields.
Chris said: “We are hoping that she will go through to the final which will be held in the main arena at Crufts in March 2017.”
Wallis will be retiring on December 30 after her final show in Preston.
However, if she’s lucky enough to make it through to the finals of Scruffts she will be brought out of retirement.
Chris added: “Wallis is well known and loved by many in the area, especially in the obedience world of competition.”
He added: “We are so proud of her and know my mum will be looking down on her and wishing us well.”
Wallis and Chris will be taking to the arena’s floor tomorrow, before heading back home.