Oscar at Just Dogs Live

My visit to Just Dogs Live was a revelation!  What a fantastic show!   In fact, it was two shows in one;  on the one hand championship dogs were being judged for prestigious awards, and on the other we pet pooches mooched around taking in the sights and sounds of the many attractions laid on for us.  

 

The East of England Showground is huge, with the largest car park I have ever seen.  Access to the entrance is an easy walk, leading to the very large indoor arena.  The  foyer was filled with traders selling everything from show leads to greetings cards, from designer dog biscuits to lovely monogrammed blankets (I’ve got one myself). 

To the left is an enormous hall, where owners of generally  smaller breeds lovingly prepare them for the show ring.  You should have seen them strutting their stuff,  hoping  to win the prestigious title ‘Champion’.   Later on, the ‘Best of’  groups are judged; ultimately Best in Show also took place in this area.

On leaving the arena, the scale of the Just Dogs Live event really hits you.  To the left, food vendors offer tempting human treats and  full meals, something we ‘serial food thief’ find very interesting.   It was great to see so much space with adequate picnic and seating areas for  hungry visitors to chill out and eat.  Sadly, there was no slap up meal for me and we just walked on by.  

 

Moving around the showground I was stunned by the number of trade stands loaded with goodies to tempt visitors.  I had my list ready!  Essential supplies only, you understand , a show lead, smart travelling harness and a cooling waistcoat. As it was so warm, the girls and I needed cooling bandanas, which were great for a warm day, and very on trend.   

 

The vendors were fairly well spread out around the showground, which meant plenty of walking, not a problem to we sporty dachshunds.  The long avenue of stands were complemented by, others arranged in small groups near the  demonstration and have-a-go rings. 

If you wanted to know where to find the flyball competitions, you just followed the noise!  Never mind the dogs!  Their humans make a real racket as their pooches participate.  It’s certainly a  fast, fun and furious relay, with teams of four dogs trying to complete the 51 metre course .  Oh boy, do they need to be fit!  Each dog has  to run over four jumps, trigger the spring-loaded box that fires the ball for them to catch and then, ball in mouth, run back to the start, scaling the four jumps en route.  The winning team is the one that completes the course first.   Did you know it’s the fastest growing dog sport in the country?

 

Now obviously, this is not a dachshund sport because our long backs are a bit vulnerable to all that jerking about, but where it is possible, flyball can help develop a closer bond between human and dog.  Obviously it entails training, puts you in touch with other dogs and like-minded humans.  Who  knows you might eventually qualify to compete in competitive events.

Elsewhere, we were delighted to watch the  Phoenix Working Newfoundlands display team.  What huge, magnificent dogs, owned by a group of friends who enjoy activities with their dogs.  Newfoundlands are working dogs, often used in water rescue work, but here they were pulling various carts.  One in particular pulled a seated cart, more often used in Scandinavia for an afternoon. ride in the country.    At Just Dogs Live they simply delighted onlookers who admired their work.  I think most onlookers found these huge, cuddly, magnificent dogs irresistible as did we.

It was good to see  my old friend Trip Hazard demonstrating his tricks!  Wow!  He works with seeming ease to produce a great show, obviously the  result of many ours regular training with owner extraordinaire, Lucy Heath.  I wonder if I could learn to stand on Mum’s back!   In the same arena we saw Betsty Boo, the amazing instagram frisbee dog doing some exercises with her human who is an advocate of joyful dog training.  Impressive stuff!

My predecessors have previously seen the East Anglian Staffordshire Bull Terrier display team, who are extremely clever, and present an impressive agility demonstration.  It is all very intense, as both humans and dogs complete the course .  Good to see they all got a treat at the end. 

 

Of course, it’s fun to watch the professionals, but there were plenty of opportunities to have-a-go at various activities.  Flyball,  agility and  steeplechase were enormous fun and even the tiniest little dog was game to have some fun at the chase.  Wow!  He was a little flyer over those hay bales!  

My three days at Just Dogs Live were incredible.  Friday was a long day, and we were grateful for the catering facilities and coolness of the air conditioned Arena.  Our photographer David Dolling, his wife and three dogs came along and took some great photos mainly of the elite show dogs.  Almost all of them had won Best of Breed, meaning they were very good.   Friday is the quietest day of the three, giving us a chance to familiarise ourselves with the layout, and do our shopping.  I don’t think the girls minded that I spent so much!  I also took the opportunity to approach some of the exhibitors, who generously donated goods to help us raise funds at a future event for Dachshund Rescue UK.     

 

Inevitably, we met loads of dogs, and I was charmed by a little Hungarian Pumi with what I called ‘bunches’ ears.  Well it’s what they look like.  I discovered that the medium to small sized Puma is a versatile stock dog, adept at gathering, driving and keeping stock under control.   Who would have thought it?   Oh and they are apparently extremely vocal.  Goes to show, looks can be deceiving.

 

I digress here to say that it is surprising how many dogs with the ‘cute’ factor are chosen by humans to be family pets, lap dogs, fashion accessories even, without realising that they actually need to be worked and well exercised to maintain their innate instincts and to keep them alert fit and fun!   The Pumi is clearly one such, whose working life we only discovered on researching the Breed.

The variety of dogs we saw at Just Dogs Live was astounding, from giant Great Danes to tiniest cavvie pup Mum cuddled.    I was amazed to see lots of even smaller dogs over the three days. 

On Saturday I was not amused at being woken at 5.30 a.m. However, when I knew we were returning to Just Dogs Live, I was ecstatic…. It was Dachshund Day and my mate Mac and his sister Ruby would be there to strut their stuff in the Championship Dog Show.  Both are long haired dachshunds, and with breed judging was schedule started at 9 a.m. we were anxious to cheer them on.  The preparation and viewing Gazebo was a tad small for so many dog entries, making  it a real squash for everyone, but Dachshund people always cope, just like their dogs!  

 

On this day  Emma Newman, our wonderful professional photographer, arrived.  Emma had driven up from Surrey with our dachshund pals Basil and Jester who are great fun.  Together, we watched the judging and were thrilled when Mac took first in the Veteran class.  He showed himself brilliantly, with grace and elegance , and we were so proud of him.   You should see him move!    Having accomplished that part of her mission , Emma and we went to explore what Saturday had to offer. 

 

The weekend, Sat/Sun really sees things taking off.  With many more visitors and a full programme of activities there was so much more to see and do, e.g. the steeplechase and Newfoundland carting.  If only it hadn’t kept raining!   It was a challenge, but it was invariably possible to find shelter in the larger gazebos or in the cattle sheds used as show areas for this occasion.  

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We had originally intended visiting on Friday and Saturday, but when Just Dogs Live invited us to also attend on Sunday, we said yes, leaving home a lot later, thanks Mum. 

 

Sunday was dedicated to tying up loose ends.  We were amazed at how much we had missed.   It’s not every day we get to meet a celebrity vet, but immediately after arriving we did! TV personality Marc the Vet was addressing an audience in the arena foyer, followed by a Q &  session.  We stopped by and waited for him to finish, and were invited to have our photo taken with him.  Ahem, it was Dolly who got into the picture, a nod to her seniority I think.  

Although our third day at Just Dogs Live was a much shorter than the previous two, we still managed to complete our mission of gathering as much news and information as we could, and I think we achieved it.  Oh, did I forget to mention the ice cream?  Yes I was introduced to this wondrous feast of deliciousness, which really did round off the whole event for me.   My sisters and I had a great time, saw a load of other dogs, competitors in the Championship Show and the Pet Fun Dog Show,  with other pooches achieving major feats in the demonstration tings, and novices having a wonderful time trying to emulate them.  Add to that the onsite refreshments,  and  the shopping opportunities of which I took full advantage, 

 

If I had to choose just one of our pictures to sum up Just Dogs Live, it would o be this one that mum took.  I reckon it illistrates the fantastic bond that can exist between dog and human, especially when they are on a great day out.  

I reckon Just Dogs Live is something every self respecting dog should experience.  It is normally held on the first weekend of July, so make sure you book the date for next year!

 

Oscar Teckel

Editor, The Daxington Post

16th July 2019

 

Before you leave, click on the photos in our gallery to see more Just Dogs Live pictures. 

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© Diana Bailey