Crufts Super Saturday

Crufts is a huge show and following my recognisance mission on Thursday, Saturday was reserved for some in depth exploration.   

 

Having received several requests to visit specific stands, we first went to Agria Insurance, where we met up with our friends Janet Hughes and Simon Wheeler.  Almost as soon as we arrived Janet came to give me hugs and to my surprise wanted to take me on a celebrity tour.  As we walked around, I was inundated by people click click clicking their cameras at me.  I had no idea I was so famous and popular!

This gave my PA time to gather information from Simon Wheeler, the Managing Director,  about the direction in which the company is moving.  Agria are actively involved with Dachshund Rescue and are developing further partnerships with pedigree breed clubs and rescue charities.  Although insurance providers, they also offer pet care advice, which we have previously highlighted in The Daxington Post.  

 

Why would an insurance company want to offer health advice?  And why have a vet nurse advice line?  Simply because they have a genuine desire for dogs and other pets to be healthy.  


Of interest to older dogs is Agria’s annual ‘amnesty’ period, generally around the month of November, when no obligation quotes are offered for we oldies.  This is so refreshing in a world where most companies will not even consider new business for the over 8’s.  

Agria administer The Kennel Club Insurance and have a fine reputation for  their claims service.  In fact they won the Best Pet Insurance Provider of the Year and Best Claims Service at the Moneyfacts Consumer Awards 2018.   It is good to know that their Best Claims Service award was won purely on votes by consumers.  

Agria also sponsor a number of events, e.g session speakers at the SPVS VPMA Congress (The Society of Practising Veterinary Surgeons and Veterinary Practice Management Association).  Additionally they sponsor a number of agility events, and large shows like Crufts.
 

Agria are concerned with welfare issues, and supported the government in campaigns to outlaw practices such as the smuggling  of dogs, including tiny puppies, from Eastern Europe.  Some popular breeds commanding particularly high prices, e.g.Pugs, Bulldogs and Dachshunds but there are too many stories of dogs and puppies being bred and transported in horrendous conditions. Sadly, many imported dogs have genetic health or deformity problems, and consequently suffer a lifetime of health and behavioural problems, some dying shortly after joining their new owners.   

 

Here, we have only scratched the surface of the many services offered by Agria Insurance. For the full story click: https://www.agriapet.co.uk

Photograph:  Natural Instinct

Our next port of call was to our partners,  Natural Instinct, who give generous support to both The Daxington Post and Dachshund Rescue.   I love visiting them, as I get lots of hugs.  As premium raw dog food suppliers they also give me healthy treats like beef jerky and white bait.  Yum!  Thanks ladies.  

 
Mum had a long chat with Operations Manager, Sara Kinge, while Emma Cooper and Tamara Linwood made a real fuss of me.  I never want to leave their stand because it feels so much like home, with lots of attention and lovely grub!  
 
Much as I would have loved to stay,we had to move on, promising to pay them more visits before heading for home.    https://www.naturalinstinct.com
 
Our next visit was to the Guild of Dog Trainers, and CEO Sue Williams.  Wow!  I wondered if I should curtsey as this lovely lady is famous, having written widely for the dog press, and appeared on both radio and TV.  
 
As an older, well trained dog, I was not spooked by our meeting as I know Sue was a great friend of Josef. Indeed, she even asked him to review one of her training videos!  That was a real privilege for Josef and  apparently it was a real hit.    
During my visit I decided that dog trainers were OK, especially as they understood me and gave me lots of cuddles.  
 
I discovered that the Guild of Dog Trainers provide a valuable service to the canine community. Regarding their work they state “The Guild is passionate about training dogs using methods which evolve from creating understanding between dog and human.”  
 
They also understand that owners like to have well trained dogs, while society itself expects a certain level of good behaviour from pooches, especially in public. Certainly in Britain, there are laws with which dog owners must comply.  All these issues are incorporated into The Guild of Trainers training programmes.  
 
 
Ensuring dogs are taken to professional dog training classes has many benefits.  Both Emma and Josef learned a lot from their classes, where each dog is not only a member of the group, but also individual help with specific learning needs.  
 
Occasionally, trainers may need a little help themselves, particularly if a difficult dog turns up to classes, and the Guild of Training is there to help through their mentoring service.  They also offer professional education courses, covering a wide variety of subjects for those who wish enhance their training skills.  
 
As the Mary Poppins of canine behaviour (Practically Perfect in Every Way), I obviously do not need further training, but was delighted to come away with more knowledge of this brilliant organisation, that can help other dogs to be as good as me!  http://www.godt.org.uk
When we attend dog events, we are always keen to see our friend and nutritionist Bianca Major.   Sporting trim waistlines we try to look our best because we love her and her comfy cuddles.  
 
Bianca is a very talented lady whose qualifications include BSc (hons), PGDip Nutrition & Canine Nutrition, MSFTR, CPN.  In addition to her degree and post-grads in Human and Animal Nutrition, Bianca has continued her studies in the US and the UK and is one of only a few Certified Companion Animal Nutritionists in the UK.  In addition she is a certified CPD lecturer in animal nutrition and regularly lectures in the UK and abroad.  To cap it all Bianca is also a qualified trainer and a member of the Guild of Dog Trainers.  We feel very privileged that she is our friend and finds time to care for us. 
 

Bianca, Mum, Emma and me at last year's Crufts

While training is a vital part of a dog’s life, grooming is equally important, especially for heavy coated breeds and dogs like wire haired dachshunds and some terriers who need hand stripping.  
 
For humans aspiring to become groomers, or dog owners who just want to smarten up their pooches themselves, there were plenty of grooming schools at Crufts offering information about their training courses. As smooth haired Dachshunds, we have comparatively few grooming needs, but our nails must be regularly clipped.  I hate it!  
 
 
Crufts is huge and I was fascinated by it all.   Mum drove me around the whole show on her scooter to see the wide variety of interests it served.  Sadly, we could not stop and talk to everyone but I realised as never before that almost anything you could ever want for your dog could be found here.  
 
 
Many people arrive with generous budgets and bulging wallets to stock up on dog paraphernalia.   One visitor told us “We wait for Crufts every year, because any and everything we want is here!”  Unsurprisingly we saw lots of people staggering to their bus stops and cars under the weight of massive parcels containing super goodies for their pooches.   How they made their choices I have no idea, because there truly was something for everyone.

Doggy delights abounded on every floor, some from overseas companies.  Lamb food from New Zealand, collars, leads and beds from Germany, and intriguing puzzles from Sweden demanded attention from visitors. I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw  kangaroo leashes (yes leashes) from France being offered for sale. The mind boggles!   But it is OK because this company also sells dog leads.  If you do not believe me click:

http://www.kangarooleashes.com

 
For dogs wanting to get away for a little R & R there were many stands offering dog friendly hideaways, both in Britain and abroad.  British accommodation providers are slowly learning to accept that dogs are much loved family members and just as parents would not leave their children at home, neither do they wish to exclude their fur babes from holidays.  Everything from hotels, cosy cottages and even overseas holidays could be found and the Show Guide also included a ‘good beach’ section.  I was delighted to see that many popular resorts make provision for dogs.  I think they should all follow the example of Sandbanks on the south coast, which has a dedicated year-round dog beach.   I dream of a day when families, including dogs, can holiday anywhere together and hope that visiting Crufts has inspired many to seek out pet friendly facilities.  
 
Crufts is a great place to gain awareness of the many organisations concerned for our health and welfare and I was delighted to see the Animal Health Trust stand. This organisation does such good work in research and the treatment of doggy diseases.  Their Newmarket facility is fairly near to us, and we know several dogs who have benefited from their insight and treatment. For dogs wanting to know more about their work, please sign up to receive their regular newsletter. I am always pleased to receive these updates and value their alerts on specific health issues  If like us you walk in woodland areas, then Seasonal Canine Illness may be a problem and their email updates provide reminders to avoid such areas ‘in the season.’   
 

 

Crufts is an iconic show, but I wondered how many people were fully aware that it is the ‘baby’ of The Kennel Club which always has a stand offering lots of information.  I like to go and say hello because their staff make a big fuss of me which, after all, is what the show is really about!  Of course, we always come away with lots of information about their extensive work. 
 
The Kennel Club provides many services to dogs and their humans, e.g. education, breed and welfare topics.  Along with their partners they promote best practice and research in health related issues.
  
The Kennel Club also has an Academy which aims to set standards through education, and offers free films for breeders on breeding related subjects.
In the field of education their  Breed Health Symposium addresses many dog related topics. 
 
Very sadly, over the years, breeders have ‘developed’ the features of some dogs, often with the unhappy outcomes.  Genetics are not always the best friends of pooches.  Take the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, where genetic heart disease problems are an issue.  Along with the breed club and the Veterinary Cardiology Society, the Kennel Club is trying to improve the heart-screening scheme in the UK.  They are also working with breeders to address the various problems affecting large breeds.  
 
In fact, The Kennel Club offers many resources to professionals, breeders and pet owners, and if you would like to know more, you can start your research here:  https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/services/
 
Even after three days at Crufts, I have only been able to scratch the surface of this great show.  We did not  visit the agility rings or main arenas, believing they would be best covered by young Andy our Northern and Dachshund Rescue Reporter.   We were right, as his article has already shown.   
 
However, I met some very special dogs and people who deserve more than a passing mention here.  They will be the subject of my final article in this series.  Did I enjoy Crufts?  Did I learn a Lot?  Am I pumped up to be there again next year?  Oh yes!   Stand by Crufts 2019, I am on my way!
 
Dolly Teckel
Sub Editor HQ
The Daxington Post
3rd April 2018
We apologise for the late pulication of this article, due to illness and IT issues.  
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© Diana Bailey