BARNEY is in the running for becoming the bravest dog in the Borders as he prepares to complete the final legs of a mammoth walk.

The 13-year-old Cocker Spaniel was taking on the 212-mile Southern Upland Way with owner Simon Neal just over two years ago.

But after they'd completed several sections, Barney suffered a potentially debilitating injury while playing near the family home at Kirk Yetholm.

It was discovered he'd snapped the cruciate ligament in his stifle joint.

And there was doubt he'd ever be able to take to the hills again.

But since undergoing orthopaedic surgery and months of physiotherapy, Barney and Simon are set to complete the epic cross-country route.

Simon told the Border Telegraph: “I really didn’t think we would ever get to the point where we would complete the walk because Barney was so badly injured.

"We always intended undertaking the walk in bite size stages.

"A couple of months after completing the first stage from Portpatrick, Barney was playing on open fields in Kirk Yetholm when he suddenly yelped and came limping over.

“I took him to the vet and there was a choice of an operation or allowing it to repair by itself and him being left with a limp.

“The operation went really well and he had lots of physiotherapy, but I was still amazed that he was fit and well enough to resume doing the Southern Upland Way.

"He loves the outdoors, sniffing away as he goes along, and he enjoys playing."

Kelso vet Robert Young conducted the surgery to repair Barney's leg.

And he also benefitted from regular sessions with canine physiotherapist Heather Halton at the surgery.

Since the treatments Barney and Simon have walked a further 140 miles of the Southern Upland Way.

And they will return to the trail this spring to take their final steps towards Cockburnspath.

Simon added: “We are keen walkers and Southern Upland Way is probably going to be the last big walk Barney and I will ever be able to do together but we have created some lovely memories together.

“We will start again in March when the weather improves and hopefully we will be able to complete it.”

Vet Robert recommended an operation to repair the stifle joint and performed the surgery with colleague Ann Anderson.

He then advised regular physiotherapy sessions and, within two months of the operation, Barney was completing five-mile walks with ease.

Robert said: “To comeback from an injury like this and be able to clock up so many miles is incredible.

"He’s a plucky, wee dog, who enjoys life, and he has done so well to be able to continue this walk.

“Physiotherapy has been key to his recuperation as it is has made a big difference.

“He is a well looked after dog, who wasn’t overweight, which is important, and the surgery was done promptly so that gave him a good chance of recovering.”