Lifestyle & Human Interest

'Fighting' Dog Trainer Returns to Stage and Blows 'AGT' Judges Away with Adorable New Pup


Most dogs can muster a few basic commands. Sit, down, shake and roll over are perennial favorites and many dogs have a solid, treat-fueled grasp on the basics.

Every dog can be trained, but some are certainly more motivated than others. Many would rather find a patch of sunshine to nap in than respond to your beck and call.

Some pups show a real talent for picking up tricks and more-complicated requests. Your dog may sit and stay, but can he resist a toy or treat and hold his position? Does he know the name of specific items and retrieve them when you ask?

Sully can do all that and so much more. Sully is a mop of a dog with a sharp mind and surprising speed — the result of crossing a Chinese crested powderpuff (the full-coated variety) with a border collie and a poodle, two of the world’s most intelligent dog breeds. Dogs bred for specific work that combine a variety of breeds are often called “sport mixes,” and they excel in many fast-paced sports like agility, flyball and dock diving.

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In 2017, Sully and handler/trainer Ashleigh Butler won the top prize in the agility competition at Crufts, one of the most prestigious dog shows in the world.

You may have seen Butler before, as she competed in Britain’s Got Talent several years ago, and actually won the 2012 series with a similar-looking dog named Pudsey. Unfortunately, in 2017, Pudsey passed away from leukemia.

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“I can’t honestly believe I am writing these words,” Butler wrote on Twitter on July 22, 2017. “My poor handsome is gone, and I don’t know what to do without him. My heart is broken, and I don’t know how I’m going to get through this. It hurts so much, that my handsome, incredible Pudsey Bear will never be by my side, where he belongs, again.”

“We only had 11 years together, but they were the best years ever. He was my one in a billion dog that will never be replaced. I don’t need to write all of his endless accomplishments on here to prove how incredible he was for me. Sleep tight my handsome man, I love you lots.”

Sully looked up to Pudsey, and while Butler isn’t calling Sully a replacement, they are both competing in “America’s Got Talent: The Champions” and hope to make history again.

“Here it is! Our AGT the champions performance,” she tweeted on Jan. 14. “I am so proud of Sully, he coped so well in a crazy atmosphere ❤ and once again made me the proudest person ever ❤ Thank you for everyones lovely comments so far and all of your support!”

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The performance is jaw-dropping, even more so if you’ve ever trained your pup and know the patience, dedication and consistency it takes to get even close to Butler and Sully’s prowess.

One of the best parts of their routine is just how happy Sully is. You can see how much he adores Butler, and how excited he is to work. That’s not every dog’s reaction, but Sully clearly loves to compete.

Is there anything Butler and her dogs can’t do? We’ll see as the show continues.

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