Reprinted from the Owen Sound Sun Times December 19, 1998

CELEBRITY PETS

This Jack Russell is no lady

BY LJSE DIEBEL

Sun Times staff

Pup already has royal record

Admittedly, there's nothing lady-like about plopping down on a stranger's lap and trying to steal a few wet kisses. But then again, Diana is no ordinary lady.

This extremely affectionate 11 month-old Jack Russell terrier, whose full name is Natural Instinct Lady Diana, belongs t o Ken and Kathy Bushell of Armow, near Tiverton. The couple breeds Jack Russells at their kennel, Natural Instinct, and takes their dogs across Ontario and parts of the United States to compete in races.

As Lady Diana's moniker suggests, she was named after the former wife of Prince Charles. Despite being of two different species, the late Lady Diana Spencer and her canine namesake have some similarities.

"They both have beautiful eyes," Ken said, laughing. "We started calling her Princess but it didn't seem to fit, and we thought she was a bit of a Lady."

Lady Diana, the dog, is an American puppy racing champion. She was fastest puppy in her class after racing in the Jack Russell Club of America's U.S. National Trials held near Baltimore, Maryland in October.

Pups in her category measured 25.4 cm to 31.75 cm (10 to 12-and-a-half inches) tall at the shoulder. There was a second, separate category for larger pups. At the national trials, Lady Diana impressed judges by placing first in both the flat races and steeplechase. For flat races, dogs blasted out of the starting gate and raced to the end of the track where they jumped through a hole in a hay bale to finish. In the steeplechase, gates were added for dogs to jump over.

Lady Diana also placed fourth in the Puppy go-to-ground championship, where dogs raced through a nine metre (30-foot) tunnel. The smell of a caged live rat at the finish line provided motivation.

The original purpose for breeding Jack Russells in the 1800s was for the fox hunts in Great Britain, Ken said. These tiny, agile dogs would go into fox holes and scare the animal out.

In fact, it was this breed’s exceptional hunting skills that appealed to the Bushells. The couple both hunt with their dogs. Farmers hire them to rid barns of nuisance raccoons.

"That's mainly what we got (the dogs) for," Ken said. "We do a lot of barns,"

Raccoons have been known to eat grain and excrete on animal feed, Ken said. Emu farmers are particularly concerned because raccoon exretment can make their animals extremely ill, Ken said.

The Bushells said they prefer female dogs for hunting because they concentrate on the prey while males tend to get distracted because they want to mark territory.

The Bushells bought their first Jack Russell, Sassy 1, four years ago from Shirley and Robert Walker of Derby Downs Farm in RR 4, Tara. Sassy is mom to Lady Diana.

The couple have set up an Internet page for their kennel. It can be visited at http://wwwjackrussell.net/~ni

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