Why do people visit Crufts year on year despite knowing more or less what it will be like, and the danger they put themselves in of spending loads of money? I don’t know! This was my second visit to the greatest dog show in the world, and although there was the risk of catching Covid-19, something about it made my human throw caution to the wind, pack the car and set off for Birmingham UK.
I was very excited, because any visit to the NEC (National Exhibition Centre) means staying at my hotel, the Ibis Styles NEC/Airport, where I am Dog of Honour. Everyone knows me there; they are all anxious to see me and I get treated like royalty. For instance, on entering our room, were there chocolates on the pillow for Mum? Well, see for yourself.
Obviously, I really love visiting my hotel, but was so disappointed that my little friend from last year was nowhere to be seen. Skyla-Rose was missing! This little girl and I became good pals last year, especially as we could be photographed together at my wall. She had promised to come this year, but her Mum wrote to me: " Sorry we missed you this year we weren’t able to attend ? we will be back next year though. Skyla-Rose would love to be reunited with her friend."
Well, Skyla-Rose, I plan to be there next year too, by which time I guess you will be much taller, but I am sure I will recognise you. In the meantime, I shall just remember the little girl I made friends with last year.
Thursday being the first day of Crufts, and with quite a lot to pack into four days, we almost immediately hot-pawed it down to the NEC, just a couple of minutes away, and were soon soaking in the atmosphere that is only found at this great show. Normally, an early start is imperative so that I can slowly adjust to the increasing noise as visitors arrive. It really does help this country loving boy to enjoy the show, so imagine my shock when, arriving mid-way through day one, I was met with a huge ‘blast’ of noise!
I always receive a great welcome at Natural Instinct, and especially from Emma Brown, who ensures I get my wonderful meals when at home, as well as special treats at events. Beef jerky…. Yummy, and did I mention chicken hearts? Of course, I brought some home for my girls, who were as keen on them as I was. Can a man never have something to himself?
As for Agria Pet Insurance, I owe them a huge debt of gratitude. If dogs are unfortunate enough to have IVDD our humans have a lot of worry and anxiety to cope with. When I went down with this horrid disease last summer, Agria ensured that financing my surgery was not something Mum needed to be concerned about. I was so pleased I was an Agria insured dog, as they really cared for me and Mum. We know the company well, so it was big hugs all round when we thanked them personally.
With different dog groups being judged each day, the NEC is always an exciting place to be. From teeny weeny little dogs to hulking great Irish Wolfhounds, the variety is astonishing, and every day many of the varieties can be seen in the Discover Dogs Area. Here you can get pictures and information about many breeds, and maybe even pat a dog or two. Our friends Mo and John have a special soft spot for labradors and retrievers and were even able to see an obedience display by a very gifted group. They were amazing.
This was Mo and John’s first Crufts visit so it was great to be invited to sit in a normally restricted enclosure to watch an obedience competition. One of the perks of travelling by scooter! Congratulations to the handlers on training their dogs to perform such exacting routines. As you can see from our video it was wow!
Sometimes, we long haired dachshunds need our fur touching up at these shows, after all the hugging and kissing we get. Although I had packed my grooming gear, when the girls on the Pet Teezer stand saw and adored me, they snapped up the opportunity to groom me to a state of magnificence. They were very nice and did a great job. Well, a man has to look his best!
We long haired dachshunds are known to be babe-magnets, which I must admit is rather nice, if a little tricky sometimes. Attracting the attention of multiple beauties is good for our self-image, but can cause difficulties if we are in a relationship with that special girl who makes our heart beat faster. At this point, I will only say that I hope my girl-friend is not reading this report, although I shall plead innocence. I was simpy aghast at the sight of such fluffyness and trying to work how long her fur-dressing routine took. Honestly!
One of the great delights at Crufts is to meet up with our friends from Hounds for Heroes. What a great job they do helping services veterans who might benefit from having their own dog. We love meeting Alan (the chap in the photo with the dogs) who has a great sense of fun, and a wonderful team of volunteers. Hounds for Heroes have placed seventeen dogs with veterans, and each has been a huge blessing to their special humans. Now, I am sworn to secrecy, but Alan told me I could give you some inside information. Hounds for Heroes will be making an exciting announcement a bit later in the year and have promised keep us in the loop, so watch this space.
Any visit to Crufts can be tiring, but if you are there for four days, take my advice and build a break or two into your schedule. When returning from my time-off one day, I needed to get from the ground floor to the upper level via a long ramp. What fun it was to pass a gentleman who. seemed familiar. I was on Mum’s scooter, and stopped at the top to quip, “Have scooter will speed!” We got into conversation, and as we moved along the Piazza together, I realised we were talking with the Kennel Club Vet, as seen on a number of TV shows. You really do mix with the best people at Crufts.
On another occasion, we took a break on the upper floor walkway where Mum decided to look at at her newly acquired 'I Love Dachshunds’ rosette. To my surprise, a smartly dressed gentleman approached and engaged in conversation with us. Seeing the rosette, which he thought was a third, he looked at me and declared, “You should have got first”. Puffing out my furry chest with excessive pride I acknowledged his kindness, and was tremendously impressed when he told me he was the Chairman of the Kennel Club, Mr. Tony Allcock OBE. As a man of influence I was certain he had ear-marked me to win the big trophy on Sunday night. Well, a man can dream can't he!
Strolling around the show rings is always interesting. For instance, consider the differences between the Hungarian Puli with a huge mop of corded hair, and a couple of massive Turkish Aksaray Malaklısı dogs. It is astonishing that we are all so different, yet members of the same species.
Being a PR man, I am never happier than when making guest appearance on exhibitor stands. Being a handsome dog, I always draw a crowd, but during our stint on the Natural Instinct stand, Mum was the star! I could not believe they had persuaded her to make fruit smoothies on a static cycle. But how? Well the bike links directly to a handlebar-mounted smoothie blender. With each pedal stroke the rider creates fresh smoothie, which Mum shared with other visitors. Then it was my turn, so I cycled with Emma Brown, who gave me some special treats and loads of hugs. I swear the humans did not stop laughing for the whole time we were there,.
I loved every day at Crufts, but Sunday was special because it was Dachshund Day. Time to sit back, relax, and watch some fantastic dogs performing in the show rings. Among them was our friend Mac aka Abydachs Rides The Storm to Bournder. What an elegant dog he is, and a real showman. I watched him in the ring competing for the top spot and in my opinion there was no contest. Clearly the judge thought so too because he gave him 1st in the Veteran Dog class. Owners Irene Cook and Patricia Rhodes, along with handler Helen Kerfoot were rightly proud of their boy.
One of his rewards was a cuddle with Mum!
On the benches, right next to Mac was Bob aka Loggeta Trouble in Texas, my walking buddy. At 9 months old, having already achieved much success, here at Crufts he showed beautifully, and achieved the honour of being named Best Puppy in Breed. Bob’s owner, Lloyd Cross was rightly proud of his boy, and also did well with Myles and Derry his other dogs.
The only reason I had to leave the dachshunds was to go off for a film shoot. Why didn’t I get a make-up artist? Filming was great fun and it was good to have an audience, who later wanted to meet the ‘star performer’. Sadly, I was unable to provide pawtographs, but gave everyone a Daxington Post flier, which was much appreciated.
Back in the Dachshund area, it was great to look around, to meet friends, and take lots of pictures, which you can see in the gallery below. Every competing dog at Crufts has to qualify to attend this great show, so. I was proud to be mingling with the best from home and abroad.
Back at our hotel, we settled down to watch coverage of the Best in Show competition on TV. Mum chose the Dachshund from the final line up, but of course, our breed does not often succeed against much larger dogs. I think the hotel walls must have reverberated to Mum’s shout of “Yes” when Maisie, the Wire Haired Dachshund took the top spot.
Credit: Kennel Club Photo
What a hoot when Maisie expressed her delight with an additional performance on the lap of honour! Yep, you got it, she pooped! Mum giggled as I held my head at a proud angle, delighted and overjoyed that one of my breed, albeit with a different coat had become the first ever Dachshund to win Crufts.
Mum’s response, under her breath was simply “Only a Dachshund…….”
Of course, Crufts is about more than show dogs. For instance, some very talented pooches take part in the agility competion, but you can always depend upon at least one of them to make an absolute fool of himself,….. to everyone’s delight. What a way to make yourself famous!
At the end of my last day at Crufts 2020I slept very contentedly, dreaming of next year where perhaps it would be me bringing home that huge trophy, but I don’t think you should hold your breath!
19th March 2020