Congleton's Paige Jepson has no qualms giving up her free time to help others enjoy dog training.

The 21-year-old has a hectic schedule to contend with, juggling her clinical canine behaviour degree at Chester University and volunteering with her day job, milking as many as 200 cows a day.

Paige’s work has seen her compete at Crufts, the world’s largest dog show, since she was 13 but she is not just focussing on her personal performances as a dog trainer – she wants others to get involved and enjoy it too.

This year her efforts have seen her nominated for the Young Kennel Club Person of the Year Award which aims to young people who are transforming the lives of others.

“I help out at various Young Kennel Club (YKC) events such as Discover Dogs, Crufts and the YKC activity weekends we run for children, which take place all over the country,” said Paige.

“I help with organising the events as well as the obedience training – I probably dedicate at least six to eight weekends a year to volunteering.

“I just want to make dog training enjoyable for children and young people so that they stay interested and involved too.

“I run a two-hour training session once a week for two hours that I don’t get paid for either – I just do that purely off my own back.”

Since she got her first dog aged 10, Paige has gone on to acquire a pack of seven, all of which are a breed of collie.

She made her Crufts debut back in 2012, though things didn’t exactly go to plan, but she did not let that deter her and went on to win the obedience stakes with her border collie Poppy, 8, in 2016.

Although four of her dogs qualified to compete at this year’s Crufts, only two will be travelling with her, bearded collie Puzzle, and two-year-old Pebbles, who will be making her second appearance at the competition in the obedience stakes with former winner Poppy retired.

“I have obviously always been into dogs but I didn’t get my first one until I was 10,” she said.

“My first competitive visit to Crufts was back in 2012 and it was a nightmare. Poppy did a wee in the ring and tried to run away. I was nervous and she was nervous but I wouldn’t change anything about it.

“This year I want to focus my attention on Pebbles because it is her second time at Crufts and she has only just turned two.

“She was very young in her first year at Crufts and she came third in the obedience stakes so she is a very impressive dog. 

Finding the time to train her dogs, study at university and maintain a steady job is not an issue for Paige who says she gives up all of her free time to dog shows.

The script is not yet written for when her final year in education comes to an end this summer but she knows one thing for sure – she doesn’t want to work indoors.

“I am up at 5am every morning to milk the cows and then I will come back and walk the dogs and then head off to university,” she added.

“I milk at two farms and can get through as many as 200 cows in a day. At the weekends it is much the same, I do all of that and then I go to a dog show – so the only time I ever really have off, I just spend at dog shows.

“After graduation I am going to stay self-employed while I look for the perfect job for me but I don’t want to take my hobby to work with me so that I get sick of it.

“I love working outdoors and I couldn’t imagine having to spend the day indoors – I honestly couldn’t think of anything worse.”