HOURS of hard work paid off for a dog owner from Burnley after she walked away with a first prize in an obedience class at Crufts.

Kym Pearson, 54, of Brent Street, managed to transform her boisterous border collie, Zara, from an ‘also-ran’ into a ‘winner’ after much perseverance.

And now the pairing has walked away with the winner’s rosette in the Special Pre-Beginners Obedience Stakes Final at the prestigious dog show.

She said: “It feels fantastic to have won.

“It’s been a long, long journey to get here and required a lot of hard work and a lot of training.

“I was here last year and we finished pretty near the bottom so to now be at the very top is just amazing.

“It’s beyond my wildest dreams as I didn’t think Zara had it in her.

“Zara is a brilliant dog. She used to be quite a mad dog – she used to chase cars – but she is beginning to quieten down now.

“If you put in lots of dedication and lots of hard work to calm your dog down the results will pay off.”

Dog training already runs in the family for Kym – her mother Pat and late father Peter Steele shared the same passion down the years.

Kym, who works as a porter at Burnley General Hospital, is a member of Reedyford Dog Training Club which meets at Marsden Hall community centre in Nelson.