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Something Special For Everybody!
We were all swaying about in the shuttle, trying to avoid stepping on the dogs, when it suddenly struck me - it had been a whole year since we did this before, but it seemed like yesterday! Crufts is a unique point in our year. 'I remember it. Just after Crufts, on the way home on the M45, or 'they were staying with us over Crufts,' we say, and the position in time is pinpointed precisely. Other people may say 'after Christmas.' Dog people say 'after Crufts.' Love it or hate it, there is nothing like it, the world over.
Of course, it has its snags, and the shuttle from car parks to halls comes under that category perhaps, but then we are fortunate to have a shuttle. At other shows, we have to walk. The trade people ought to be thankful too, seeing people struggle laden with carpets, blankets, huge dog-beds, food, disinfectants, grooming aids. They'd never do it if they had to walk all the way! A big Trade Fair it certainly is, making us realise how many live off our hobby.
The part allocated for me to report was the Special Events, so making my way through the crowds, already large, I reached the area where most of the extra activities take place, while at the same time, people scattered to the various points which are their interest, for it is a fact that most people taking part are interested only in one facet - perhaps Obedience, Breed Competition, Agility - unaware that for the entire four days the Main Ring and Special Events Ring, the Citizens Obedience, the vast area of Discover Dogs, provide a constant show within a show, all free, giving a generous run for the money!
In complete contrast, the arrival of the Nuneaton Dog Training Club, not quite so expert as some we saw later, but not so long-established, with a varied routine, spoiled for me by the commentator insisting, very loudly indeed, in talking things through, not necessary when we can SEE, the constant banal remarks to the dogs becoming an irritant. With experience this should improve, as it has with some of the more established, who these days have learned when to shut up!
The members of RAF Dog Display Team, who have performed all over the world: Police Dogs: BAGSD, Upminster, were their professional selves, and after so many years at Crufts, are appreciated as our friends. Many of the dogs are 'rescues', with real problems, their capabilities under the tuition of their handlers remarkable.
Support Dogs is the most recent of our Canine Help Charities, only a few years old, but doing wonderful work alongside Dogs For Deaf People, Guide Dogs for the Blind. Talking with them always makes me feel humble - I have so much, they so little. It also makes me wish that people winning vast sums on the Lottery might remember people to whom life is so cruel, and perhaps allocate a small part of their riches towards their future.
The Kennel Club's brainchild, Good Citizens Obedience, had a crowded ringside all the time, fascinating to see how swiftly new dogs can learn under expert tuition. An adjacent ring for the KC Junior Organisation showed how gifted our youngsters can be. Getting around this area was a battle all four days as the crowds stood to admire. Indeed, it was impossible to fit in all the activities in the time available.
Tell me it wasn't perfect, but I don't care. Thanks to the KC and all their works, it was a great exhibition. A hard act for the Millennium to follow!
Dogs Worldwide.com - This article has been reproduced courtesy of Sheila Alcock
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