Having lived with Emma for five months, I am very suspicious when the day starts before 9 am! When we were both woken at 6.30 a.m., we were stunned,but obediently went into the garden then rushed in for breakfast, and went back to bed. This was an undogly time to be awake. Mum had clearly lost her mind. But no! She carried on busily preparing for a road trip and at 7.30, we were bundled into the car, bound for The Eastern Counties Championship Show, incorporating Just Dogs Live, at the Eastern Counties Showground, Peterborough. This is an enormous venue, and not one you can capture in a single photograph.
These big championship shows are very important, and Just Dogs Live is particularly well organised, not just for competing dogs, but for lots of pet pooches too. We felt especially privileged to be there and wore our purple wrist bands with pride! Arriving at 8.30 a.m, we were surprised at how warm it was already and Emma,who does not cope too well with the heat,was soon huffpuffing along, just like Mum! Finding a shady space, out came the wet drying coat for Emma, before continuing on to the huge building where the Dachshunds were being shown. We soon found our friends, Irene Cook and Trisha Rhodes with their beautiful dogs Rory and Ruby. I have never seen so many Dachshunds in one place in my life! The hall was crowded with them, especially the standard long-haired variety, which our Mum continually drooled over! We watched by the ringside, as the dogs did their very best to secure the judge's approval, and we were especially impressed with Ruby, who is Irene and Trisha's champion girl.
Remembering that I was there to work, I networked with all the Dachshund people, giving them leaflets about The Daxington Post, and meeting up with some old friends too. We watched humans pampering their dogs, and witnessed the work that goes into getting them 'ring fit'. Not a hair can be out of place! Lots of love is given to each dog, to ensure that they are happy, proud to be themselves, and ready to show the world how good they are. Oh boy, were they all stunning? Yes they were!
For some dogs, showing is almost like a day at a health and fitness spa, with multiple treatments thrown in..... the sort of thing you would pay a high price to enjoy. Right next to us, we watched as a beautiful black and tan dog was prepared for his big moment. The beauty box was bigger than the dog!
Of course, judging is somewhat subjective, and from the ringside, we tried to pick the winners. Sometimes we were right! In most classes there were plenty to choose from but oh, I wish I had entered the veteran bitch class, because I would have certainly been placed no lower than second! Yes, there was just one entry! No doubt some people were disappointed at their placing, but in reality, every individual takes home the best dog. Even though we did not enter, Mum says that applies to us too!
Having watched all the dogs, picked some winners, and revelled in being in the company of such esteemed Dachshunds, we fell in love with Mum's choice. Ruby reminded her of her very first Dachshund, a beautfiul shaded red. I just had to include this picture of Ruby being loved to bits after her stint in the ring. A hug from her Mum was the greatest reward she could have had for doing well.
Following our uplifting morning, we had lunch and the fish and chips were especially good. Then off we went to investigate what was on offer on the various stalls. Sadly, the collars I really wanted did not fit, so I have returned home unaccomplished in that respect. But, true to my word, I avoided all the herbal goods vendors, since I am very happy and pretty fit for a girl of my age. However, I felt a very strong attraction to one stand.... oh how I lusted after donuts! Even the stand was half donut shaped! Cruelly, I was denied this treat.
Among the many stalls we visited were those selling doggy clothes, food, accessories and the like. I hastily passed by an array of doggy intelligence games, which although good, might have been a little simple for me at my advanced age. After all, I already have superior skills as a stuffed toy surgeon and quickly warmed to the idea of carrying out multiple limb amputations on the many octopusses available on this stand.
I also rather fancied having my own personal, monogrammed blankie to comfort and warm me on a cold winter's night. I am 12 years old and deserve this. If Dexter the stuffed dog could have a named warmie, why couldn't I? Mum refused, on the grounds that she is a quilt designer and I already have multiple bespoke covers, and if I insist on them being monogrammed, she can do that. Life is so unjust!
On a very hot day, 28℃, with no shade in the car park, we were distressed to hear public service announcements regarding dogs left in cars and consequently in danger. We wondered how on earth human beings can think it OK to put their dogs' lives in danger like this. Don'y they know that cooking dogs in hot cars is dangerous, causes immeasurable suffering and even death? Sometimes we despair! It was so hot, even in the shade of the huge outdoor judging gazebos, that there was little respite from the heat and Mum even found a public shower to give Emma a dousing to keep her cool.
By mid-afternoon, we felt very tired, and were grateful for Mum's best purchase of the afternoon. Wow! A huge, three-cup cone full of ice cream that she shared with us. Next we called on Eukanuba, for coffee and a chat about their products and our newspaper before doing a final round of the stalls down one of the long avenues.
We had hoped to observe some of the many activities at the show, but it was extremely hot and humid, so we missed the agility competitions, several doggy displays and the fun dog show. It was just too dangerous for we old girls to stand and get scorched in the blazing sun. But even without seeing such attractions, we had the best day at Just Dogs Live, and can't wait for next year. We hope to see you there, too!
10th July 2017