A DEVON dog owner wowed the judges and millions of television viewers but fell short of claiming the top prize.
Rachael Grylls and pet pooches Jessica and Jacob, both Jack Russells, starred in a heart-warming hour-long ITV1 special on Boxing Day in which they competed against some of Britain's most talented dogs.
That Dog Can Dance! saw five talented dogs and their owners vying for the title of Best in Show to win a top prize in the canine world – the chance to perform at Crufts, the world's greatest dog show, in 2013.
Christine Bleakley hosted proceedings with judging panel Ashleigh and Pudsey – who triumphed in Britain's Got Talent earlier this year in front of 13 million people – the inimitable Sharon Osbourne with her furry friends Bella and Rocky, and comedian Bill Bailey with his dogs Teddi and Bule.
Rachael and her two dogs first came to the attention of the public after winning a Facebook talent competition and a special video of Rachael, Jessica and Jacob showing off their range of jaw-dropping skills was put on the www.thisisexeter.co.uk site.
Rachael, who trains the dogs at her stud farm near Okehampton, was scouted by Simon Cowell for the Boxing Day show during the contest.
She said: "It was an amazing experience to perform with Jessica and Jacob in front of such a big crowd and high-profile judging panel.
"All the finalists were extremely talented and put on a fantastic show. I have been working with the dogs for a couple of years – just playing at it, really.
"It started as a bit of fun, but who knows where it might end up."
The show was won by 27-year-old post lady Lucy and four-year-old Border Collie Indie from Billingborough, Lincolnshire.