The Road to Crufts 2018
After my visit to Crufts last year, I couldn't wait to get there this year too. This post is just a quick overview of our first day during which we saw some special people and made plans for the following two days.
After our hooman fell ill a few weeks ago, our attendance was doubtful and we were only sure once the GP had given her the go ahead at 6.30pm the day before we were to travel. Emma had gone to our friends for a few days, leaving me to help with the packing and planning ready to leave at 8 a.m. on 8th March. This was the first day of Crufts, and we expected to get there within a couple of hours.
After reaching the A47 near to our home, we joined a 5 mile traffic queue which delayed our journey by 2 hours. 4 hours driving in traffic is not funny!
When we reached our hotel we didn't even go to our room. Instead we left our bags and hot wheeled it (on our recently acquired scooter) to the NEC, just 3-4 minutes away. I had my pass but Mum had to go to the press office to collect hers. And so began our three day's work.
One of the people we planned to see was our nutritionist, Bianca Major, and sure enough she appeared almost out of nowhere. Would she comment on my waistline and suggest a diet? Hallelujah....No! We had a lovely chat over coffee, and discussed my nutrition while I got loads of hugs.
Sue Williams of the Guild of Dog Trainers is a good friend of ours and we so wanted to see her. Bianca was working with the Guild for the day and carried me all the way to their stand. Now Crufts is a bit like a maze in the middle of a jungle, so to have Bianca to guide us was wonderful and when we arrived I received a huge a welcome. I was a hit with all the staff and got multiple cuddles that made me feel comfortable among the noisy milling crowds.
Sue was a good friend to our Josef, but I think she likes me too. I talked to her at length about her organisation, what they do, and how they intend developing their work. It was all very impressive, and Sue has promised us an article or two, asking me to keep nagging her for them. I promise I will!
Another friend we wanted to meet was Siw Tikkanen, who is Mum to our Swedish Editor, Douglas. We could not find her around the Samoyed ring, and just when we thought all was lost, she appeared from nowhere. After a few hugs, we went off to the press office which is a little quieter for meetings and interviews. Apparently, Douglas was none too pleased to be left at home, but Swedish quarantine laws are so strict and he would not want to be in kennels for weeks on end.
There is no doubt that the scooter was a godsend. In previous years, we had been pushed around in the stroller, but this year it was much easier and by tea time we had visited all five halls to explore and make plans for the following days.
Our final port of call was to Natural Instinct Dog Food. We are ambassadors for this brand and I always get a warm welcome with hugs and special treats. I thoroughly recommend the beef jerky! We were so pleased to see these special friends, especially Sara Kinge, Tamara Littlewod and Emma Cooper. We learned that Emma had designed the whole stand, including all the artwork. It was magnificent, and I consider Emma to be a very talented young lady.
After a long drive and 4 hours exploring Crufts I felt we needed to rest, so went back to the hotel, where Mum took me with her to the bar. Uh oh, we were stopped because they do not allow dogs but Mum explained I am an assistance dog, showed them my official badge and we were welcomed very warmly. I sat on the floor next to Mum and watched her intently to ensure she dropped no chicken and cheese stacker with BBQ sauce. Of course, she gave me some. Yum!
We watched TV for a while so I could growl at the agility dogs and watch the best in group classes of the day. I loved Nana the Newfoundland who won the working group. She is a gorgeous chocolate coloured gentle giant, with a snuggly wooly coat, fine movement and beautiful head. Dreaming of Nana, we had a good night's sleep to prepare us for the following days. Bring them on!
I will be writing more articles for our website, so please keep an eye out for them.