Barley dances his way to a new forever home...
So, after all the glitz and glamour of this year’s Strictly Come Dancing, we reached the final; and what a fantastic final it was.
Stacey and Kevin were sitting in fourth place after the judges' votes but came from behind to win the coveted Strictly Come Dancing title through a very impressive public vote.
While all the glitter-balls where spinning and Stacey and Kevin had just started their Strictly journey, here at Dogs Trust we had our own four-legged version, called Dancing With Dogs...well, actually six-legged if you include the partner.
Each centre was given a 'doggy-adapted' dance to learn as the series progressed. Here at Salisbury, we were assigned the Samba, and CC2 Trainer Gemma was chosen to teach and then partner her dog for the final filming. Gemma chose Barley as her partner and planned out a training schedule, just like the TV show itself.
On top of her daily tasks, Gemma allocated Tuesdays and Thursdays for dance days. On these days she would break down the routine and gradually work Barley through it, step by step. At this stage, it would be worth pointing out that Barley had only just come into Stepping Stones (our new training and behaviour facility here at the Salisbury rehoming centre) and was generally a little shy and nervous around strangers. Gemma had only been working with him a little while when she chose him as her Dancing With Dogs partner. However, as you can see from their final clip, there is a fantastic bond between these two dance partners and Barley is loving every minute of it.
Training was going well, and Barley was making fantastic progress, we're two weeks away from filming our clip for the final and Barley finds his forever home. This was without a doubt, the best news we could have had. So, with his reserve in place, Gemma starts the process of introducing our Media Assistant, Stu, to Barley. It was imperative that throughout this whole process, Barley was comfortable and happy; not only with the training but with Stu and the fact a camera would be pointed at him throughout the filming. It doesn't sound like much, but for a nervous dog who doesn't know someone that well, it's a huge ask.
After several lead-walks with Gemma and Stu, Barley was more than comfortable; especially when Stu brought out the secret weapon...a Tennis ball. From then on, it was love at first sight, a definite bromance in the making. The walks continued, and Stu spent time playing with Barley in the same room he would be filming in...the rest, as they say, is history.
One week after filming this clip Barley left our Stepping Stones facility to start his new life in his forever home. We have been receiving constant updates from his new owners, who have fallen head-over-heels in love with this gorgeous boy.
Well done Barley; Stacey and Kevin may have taken the Strictly title, but you will always be our Dancing With Dogs champion.