If you have never been to Crufts, you can have no idea about how big it is, nor how crowded and noisy it can be. We certainly did not! Dolly and I had only seen Crufts on TV and as we piled ourselves and our gear into the limo, we were extremely excited. "Prepare yourself, Birmingham NEC" we uttered, "We are on our way!"
Arriving at our hotel just after lunch on Friday 10th March, the tension mounted. The Hilton Metropole is huge, and was full of dogs and doggy people, so we soon settled in. We gave Mum a cup of coffee, then set off for the National Exhibition Centre which was next door, and accessed through some rather pleasant woodland. Of course, the show dogs had arrived early that morning, and not too many people were around in the afternoon so we will move on to give you a taste of what our following two morning walks looked like.
Photo: Diana Bailey
As we emerged from our pretty walkway, we joined a never ending 'crocodile' of humans, dogs, trolleys, and kennels on wheels. They were walking at a great rate of knots to get to the centre, to prepare for the ring. Some probably hoped to be placed in their class, or even to be awarded the title of Best in Show, Crufts 2017. Had we been showing, we might well have eyed up the opposition on that walkway.
Fashion aficionados would do well to take this route to Crufts, for here the brightest colours and top to toe coverings could be seen on dogs practising their ring struts. They were clearly aware that they must not ruin their chances by having a single hair out of place or putting any kind of paw wrong. We saw this handsome brown Newfoundland Hound dressed in red with purple bib,which is very on trend this year.
For the discerning taller dog, like this handsome Irish Red and White setter, blue is the must-have colour this season
The finely groomed legs are shown to their best effect in the skinny legged onsie, with ample tummy space for ease of movement. We liked the way the plain blue was offset with the colourful scarf and belly band. The generous rear opening enables happy tail wagging when required to impress the judge!
This handsome Clumber spaniel passed us en route for the NEC, and we were instantly attracted to his bright orange onsie. Mum has great admiration for Clumbers, so was thrilled to see him. Well, we must admit there was something very appealing about his fashion sense, but note those finely trimmed paws... even bigger than ours!
Most dogs walked into the NEC but as usual, there is always one, isn't there? To our surprise this little Pomeranian arrived in style in an orange car! And as if to prove that small dogs deserve as much attention as the big boys, he unashamedly posed in the Natural Instinct motor! Hang on, we are their ambassadors! Where was our car? We don't mind him using the car, but come on, be fair please!
There is no doubt that dog people are generally nice folk...polite, courteous, and kinda gentle, so imagine our shock when we found that it's not always the case at Crufts. You can't blame them, because some are anxious to get their dogs onto their benches, while others can't wait to get in and max out their credit cards on doggy paraphernalia.
The trading areas were very busy and got worse during the day, meaning it was vital for us to stay in our stroller in case our paws got squashed by thousands of big human feet.
We were quite pleased that our first day at Crufts was, in fact only a half day, and that we were able to go and have a quiet few moments in the Press Office where it was much quieter and cooler. Three hours passed so quickly and we were happy to make our way back to our hotel for some food and a good night's sleep, ready to face another day, which we will tell you about in our next article.
Emma Teckel Editor and
Dolly, Apprentice Reporter and Office Junior