Goodbye Crufts 2017

The dawn of 12th March heralded our final day at Crufts 2017.  Given the previous days' experiences, we had high expectations as we made our way to the NEC.  We were not disappointed!


The excitement started en route, in the loading area at the back of the hotel, where we spied a magnificent grey dog, although he appeared to be silver in the sunshine. He was clearly a top quality Weimaraner.  We asked if we might speak with him and permission was granted so while Mum went all gooey over him, we asked the questions.  "What's your name?"  We curtsied as he told us he was BSH CH Gunalt De Ice at Stridview, Crufts 2017 Weimaraner BoB.

After such niceties, we lifted ourselves to our full 12" and talked with him women to man, always respecting his status of course.   It turned out he came from one of our favourite places, Skipton, Yorkshire, and was owner of his human, Mrs. Karen Whitehead, who had a long chat with Mum about her special boy, who's pet name is "Ice".  At home, Ice is a family dog, sharing the sofa, and doing normal doggy stuff while sprucing himself up for big shows like Crufts.  As we left, he gestured a full stretch, we are pretty certain as a mark of respect to us for having the courage to stop and speak with Weimaraner royalty.   What a magnificent dog!  And what a great start to our day!

Humans are funny.  They get up, have breakfast and set off for work, but what is their first thought when they get there?  Coffee!  I mean it's all of 20 minutes since they drank a pint of tea.  This regular occurrence in our home was not going be disturbed by Crufts, for which we were shortly thankful.  The coffee addict is forgiven!. 


At the coffee hub aka The Press Office, Dolly and I loved lapping up the adoration of the many overseas visitors.  Meanwhile nosy Mum always enjoys knowing where they live and what draws them to Crufts.   This was no exception as we sat with the most delightful lady and gentleman who it transpired came from Ukraine. 

Meet Maria with her husband Leonid, who were so thrilled to meet us and gave us a copy of the Ukrainian Kennel Club magazine, which is fortunately written in both Ukrainian and English.  Their article on Chows is very interesting and is prefaced with a lovely Chinese legend about the world:  "When the world was created, who was allowed to clean up the blue sky by its tongue? 'Chow', Li Fou responded, "that's why Chow's tongue is blue"  We thought it was a lovely story and I wondered if we have any Chow readers, and if they had heard it before.


The magazine is jam packed with photos and results from the Ukrainian Dog Show which, like Crufts, welcomes competing dogs from all over the world, and they also stage agility competitions.  We were so thrilled to have met these lovely people, and as they  left us wished them an enjoyable day.  


We don't want to snitch, but I thought you might like to see how Mum spent some of our extra time in the press office.

Photograoh:  Amanda Knight

Well OK, it's a stitch up!  Mum was only pretending for a friend's photo shoot.  Of course had she needed a nap so early in the morning we would have cooperated and snoozed with her.  


As it was, we had lined up an exciting day starting with meeting Siw, Douglas Tikkanen's Mom.  Douglas is our Swedish Editor, so it was important for us to be wide awake.  Hurredly we made our way to the Samoyed area and scanned the crowd around the ring to see if we could find our new friend.   Just as we were losing hope of ever finding her,  Siw suddenly appeared and gave Mum a big hug, and then it was our turn.

Siw made such a fuss of us and we knew right away that we were going to be friends for life.  Being humans, Siw and Mum nattered away, mostly in admiration of us, we think!  We learned that poor Douglas was sulking at home because he could not come and meet us.  Siw explained that the Swedish quarantine laws require dogs to be kennelled for a long time on returning  home from other countries.  Now Siw is home, we understand that normal relationships have been restored.  


After all this talking, coffee was needed (again) so we went to one of the NEC food outlets, queued up in our stroller past all the lovely cakes and bought the coffee.  When we went to take it into the seating area, a man jumped at us.  "You can't go in there with dogs!"  We were stunned.  This was Crufts, and dogs aren't allowed to be with their minders while they drink their coffee????  Well, Mum kinda fumed, and pointed out the ridiculousness of their policy, while demanding that if we could not go into the restaurant, they must bring us two seats to sit on outside.  They allowed us one chair, but no more, as it was a round table!  Yes, we are still trying to work this statement out!   Anyway they were intransigent, and we promised to take this further.  You don't argue with a Dachshund and get away with it!  


After the ritual coffee break, it was time to say goodbye to Siw, and with a final glance at the beautiful Samoyeds, we went on to look at more charities.  

We were delighted to find the Animal Health Trust, which "is the leading veterinary and scientific research charity in the UK" (AHT media release).  In terms of research into canine genetics, cancer and epilepsy, the AHT are world leaders.  We receive their monthly newsletter, which is brilliant at updating us on dog diseases in Great Britain, e.g. Seasonal Canine Illness as well as featuring latest developments in verterinary medicine.  If you would like to subscribe to their free newsletter, go to


Another charity that interested us is Canine Partners, who train assistance dogs to help people with disabilities live more independent, fulfilling lives. These dogs are trained to a very high level to ensure that even  people with complex conditions can get the help they need with everyday tasks.


So far, we had not yet ventured into Hall 1 which was so full of visitors that it was quite scary.  However, we were on a mission to find a stand that had interested us before we left home.  What was so special about it?  Well, Dogrobes had recently commissioned their own tartan just for us dogs.  In red, charcoal grey and white, it appealed to Mum who prefers classic styles to the more garish offerings seen in some doggy clothing these days.  


The 'coats' are actually drying robes, which wrap around the whole body to quickly dry  off  dirty dogs . After a wet or mucky walk, if we don't have a drying coat, we might well share our accumulations of mud, sand, water, etc with all around us, and that is  not welcome if you have a cream carpet in the hall!


Josef and I had been well catered for, but Mum felt  Dolly should  have her own robe, as her belly always gets so wet if it is damp underfoot.   Before I knew it, there was Madam Dolly, being measured up for this bespoke garment, and I have to say the tartan did suit her.  A few days later, said robe arrived, and Dolly looked a real little cracker in it. She seems to think the Dogrobe gives her royal status and we have to pay to look at her now.  She is planning a world cruise on the proceeds!

As the day began to draw to a close, we headed to the press office for one last cup of coffee, and unexpectedly had the perfect end to our Crufts 2017.  Not far from us were some people deep in conversation about their charity, Hounds for Heroes. Leading the conversation was a gentleman with two wonderful golden labrador/retrievers, who agreed to be photographed for The Daxington Post. 

I know you will agree that these dogs look magnificent and their owner was at pains to ensure they were perfectly poised for the shoot.  Hounds for Heroes canines are specially trained assistance dogs for injured and disabled men and women of both the UK Armed Forces and the Emergency Services.  The charity's aim is to provide help and practical support leading to an enhanced quality of life for their clients.


Through an appeal named Puppies on Parade, £100,000 was raised to pay for the first five puppies and their ongoing costs.  So successful was the response that the appeal is now embarking upon it's fourth incarnation.  Puppy parents help the dogs through their first year of life, after which they undertake advanced training to become fully trained assistance dogs, performing numerous tasks to help their forever parents.  Of course, they also bring lots of love and companionship to enhance the lives of people who have become disabled.  


As we bade the dogs and their owner goodby, I thought how much we and our parents take for granted, often giving just a glancing thought for our armed forces and emergency service heroes who have become disabled while serving us, the general public.  They have given so much, and we reckon we should be doing more to show that we care about them.  Hounds for Heroes welcomes donations, and encourages fundraising efforts on their behalf.  If you are able to volunteer to give short talks about their work, or to coordinate their activities in your region, why not get in touch with them?


We had gone to Crufts to see beautiful dogs and to investigate the various activities around the Show.  Whatever else we had experienced, Dolly and I felt we had ended our visit with the most beautiful and deserving dogs we could have met.  They may not have performed in the ring, got a rosette, or gone best of breed, but for us they were Best  in Show.  They were the stars.and we will never forget them or their amazing veteran owner. 

Emma Teckel, Editor

2nd April  2017


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