Oh my Dachshund! I have never seen so many of my own breed in one place! Yes, I am talking about DachshundTown, at Milton Keynes, UK on Saturday 9th June 2018.
Our 6.30 a.m. wake up call was a shock. I mean, give us a break, that's two weeks running!
With the car packed to the roof, we set off for Milton Keynes, nearly 2 hours away. Finding the venue was fun but when we arrived, the field was full of stands being prepared for the visitors. As usual, our Chauffeur decided on the route to our stand, only to find Sam, one of the organisers chasing after her at a rate of knots. Whoops! Wrong way!
Sam kindly walked us to our place and left us to get ready to start the day. We worked alongisde the Dachshund Rescue stand, managed by Irene and Terry Cook. That's it, on the right with the umbrella providing shade for the dog pen.
After making sure that Sam had not collapsed with exhaustion, we unloaded the vast collection of gear in the back of the car. Why does Mum think she needs all this stuff? It turns out that the answer is because it is all needed, and that really is the truth.
Of course, Dolly and Bella and I were the last to emerge and were immediately taken for a walk by our friend, Terry. He’s a great dog walker, and about the only person I will go with willingly.
Our directors chair allowed us to supervise Irene, Terry and Mum setting up the tables, while Bella Andy and Mac all rested in the dog pen we now take everywhere. All the stand holders were very busy getting ready for the show’s opening at 11.30 a.m.
Of course, Andy the Dachshund Rescue Ambassador and a reporter for this newspaper was there. As ever, he was ready to roll over for belly rubs from anyone willing to give them. The poor people managing the Glamwags-Pets stand received a lot of visits from Andy, and as you can see, they were only too happy to oblige.
A lovely family, Helen, Charlotte, and Emily had offered to help us by bucket rattling at the entrance as the first people and dogs arrived. Oh wow, did they do a good job! They triumphantly returned to our stand with a lot of money, and had thoroughly enjoyed doing it. So much so, that they said they’d love to help again some time. Yay, girls! We will be in touch!
At the same time, our wonderful professional photography team arrived. Emma Newman had come up from south London, along with advisor Basil, and her push button assistant, Jester! Proudly wearing their incredible pink press cards, they took virtually all the photographs included in this article, for which we thank them all from the bottom of our hearts.
We were delighted to find ourselves next to The Dachshund Breed Council stand, managed by Ian and Sue Seath who, with their colleagues, do a fantastic job promoting the health and welfare of Dachshunds and so much more.
Mum had previously been in contact with them, but they had never met, so it was great to do so.
Their presence was so important at this virtually ‘all dachshund’ event, because they could answer questions, highlight their work, and make people aware of what it means to be owned by a Dachshund. Basil was very keen to ensure people came to the stand, and sat like a doorman at the entrance.
Of course, we had a job to do! Consulting our DacNav, we plotted our course around the field but were not too successful as we hardly moved from our starting point all morning! Our poor Chauffeur did her best to hand out our Daxington Post flyers, but with Dolly in the front basket, and Emma on the footplate, lots of people wanted to pat us and we did no get far. It was also hard to offer folk the wonderful fluffy dogs we had been gifted by Natural Instinct, https://www.naturalinstinct.com to give to all the visitors. They were very popular. As you can see, Dolly supervised!
After getting no further than 50 metres all morning we made a determined effort to get right around the field in the afternoon and by Jove,we did it! We stopped a couple of times, first because Mum was beguiled by a huge stuffed dachshund at Harry Dachshund Crafts (Face Book) stand. The idea is that this chap can sit in our scooter basket when we are too old to go to shows. I felt quite upset, and my little heart withered as I realised I might be made redundant, but Mum said we will always be the inspiration, even when it might be kinder to let us rest at home while the fake mutt does the work! He is rather handsome, but has to be named. We rather fancy either Gruber or Horatio, but the final decision has yet to be made.
But this was not the end. Oh no! Very soon she spied a bag covered in breed images, and a pink cake mould from Devoted to Dachshunds
I have no idea what Mum has in mind to bake, but it had better be a pilchard and cheese cake. All for us, of course!
We also met a lovly young lady at the Furbaby Casting's (Face Book) stand, where Mum resisted the urge to immortalise our paws in a choice of items. She was sure we would not have co-operated for the mould as it was late in the day and we were both very tired.
By now, the real action was happening in the main arena. A Fun Dog Show was in full swing as we first passed the ring, and it was simply wonderful to see so many Dachshunds competing for the top honour .
I have to say, the fancy dress competition was amazing. From Harry Potter to a royal wedding and even a house, there was so much for everyone to applaud. Wow! What a lot of imagination and work went into each costume. I guess it was hard for the judge to choose a line-up, but it seemed to me that everyone was a winner for all the effort they had made to compete.
Shortly afterwards the Beauty Pageant got under way. Well, that was a new one on us! We had met one of the judges, Rachael Baker, AKA Miss Worcestershire, and Miss England contestant, who was delightful and certainly knew what was required of contestants. I bet the competing dogs were all nervous, and had practiced their walks, their tricks, and the answers to all the questions they thought they might be asked. How nerve racking!
The one thing that upset Dolly was that she was not allowed to compete in the Cheese Run! Even Usain Bolt cannot compete with her when food is the prize! We don’t know who won, but we hope they got a huge ball of cheese for their efforts! It was certainly great fun to watch.
Things didn't improve when Mum went off on her own hunting down an ice cream. What? Ice cream, and we didn't get any? This was terrible news. We would love to have seen Mr. Whippy, who filled a cornet to the top and beyond, then asked Mum what sort of Dachshund she had. When she replied 'short-haired", he added a little bicuit, a bit like a communion wafer, bearing an image of one of our breed! Wow, how is that for making our doggy mums feel good?
We had a busy day, mostly meetinge hundreds of people, some of whom already knew about The Daxington Post. We are convinced that the networking was more successful than ever before because our photographer, Emma, brought us a lovely new penant to place at the front of our scooter. Of course, Dolly thought she was the Queen! I swear I saw her give the regal wave a couple of times. We hope that everyone we met will keep in touch and feel they can send in articles, photos etc. for publication.
Our day had been so eventful, that we hardly noticed the minutes slipping by until it was time to return home. With all the equipment in the car, our Mum got a bit watery eyed when Bella did not come with us. Instead, she was going off with Irene and Terry who would take her to her new forever home in a couple of days. In the two months she had stayed with us, she had surgery, experienced lots of new things, and she and Mum formed a bond that we think will live on throughout their lives.
Photograph: Andrew Bramah
As we left for home, we pondered on the day. It had been great, wonderful, incredible, amazing, and beyond anything we could ever have imagined. Organisers Kerry and Sam had produced something so special, we had one single question. When's the next one?
Why was it so great? Well the organisation was brilliant. It all ran so smoothly, and everyone was so enthusiastic and kind. Visitors really felt welcome. The DachshundTown Team were super efficient, and all this amounted to a extraordinary phenomenon - throughout the whole day, and meeting hundreds of people we did not hear one single complaint! Now that is rare!
We have not been able to include all of Emma Newman's photographs in the text of our article, but some memories of people and dogs we loved meeting are in the gallery below.
Congratulations DachshundTown Team. You did a great job. Let us know when and where the next one will be. We will be there!
10th June 2018