When I was invited to take The Daxington Post to the Stradsett Country Show incorporating the Festival of Dogs, I of course accepted and got my PA (Mum) and the office junior (Dolly) to help me work on a plan straight away. My project management skills are second to none, so with timeline in paw, I worked through its stages.
Once again, Natural Instinct Dog Food, supported us with lots of goody bags to hand out to the public, which helped us raise some much needed funds for the UK Dachshund Club's Dachshund Rescue Scheme. I scratched behind my ears to think how we might do this and in the end, chose a special dachshund hand puppet to offer as a competition prize.
Finding our stand was between a pack of Inuits on one side, and huskies on the other was a little worrying, but with the invaluable help of Penny and Sandra from the Festival of Dogs team, we soon got going. These lovely ladies put up banners where Mum could not reach, lifted some heavy stuff and promised to get their 'big boys' to fill our paddling pools and put the sides on the gazebo. To say that the rain fell in buckets while this was all going on is no exaggeration, and even under the gazebo we sure did get wet! When we had finished, we scanned the grounds around us, as more exhibitors had arrived, and it really was beginning to look like a fantastic country show.
Saturday morning started witb a huge shock...... Mum got up at 6.00 a.m. 'Hello, what's she up to?' we thought. I mean, 6.00 a.m. does not exist in this house! But after our breakfast, at 7.30 we all got in the car, and set off on our road trip to Stradsett. Would you believe this was repeated the following day? Do humans not know that dogs need their beauty sleep?
Music on both mornings was proveded by our Inuit neighbours. Boy, do Inuits sing? Yes, they do, tho whether to howl at the moon or to welcome the morning, we do not know, but we felt as if we were in some Canadian forest rather than in an English field.
Before long, the public started streaming in to see us and the team, who had also arrived to help us. Division of labour sorted, Sarah with Sybil and Sable and Mum (with us) directed the crowd to our gazebo.
Inside the gazebo we left Ernie, the gorgeous chocolate Dachshund in charge of his Mum, and what did we find? He was cosying up to Sarah's pup, young Sable. Ah,young love! Talk about while the cat's away......! We were actually glad they had time to play on what was a busy day.
We need not have worried, because Ernie had already trained his Mum and sure enough, there she was taking money, helping people with their entries..... oh, and having a cuddle with Sable herself when opportunity allowed.
The girls outside did a fantastic job of talking to people and getting them to take part in the competition while we sat under our blue and white umbrella accepting admiration, pats and love.
Visitors loved meeting us and we saw a whole load of dogs coming to use one of our two paddling pools in what was very hot weather. On the Sunday, Dexter, who belonged to a young man who works where our poster was made, came for a dip, while a cocker spaniel just splashed and rolled in the water, giving all the bystanders a shower in the process! We also had the joy of meeting a very special young pup, just 12 weeks old, on his first public outing. What a little sweetie he was, and Mum managed to get a cuddle with him
Bescause we were at the show to work, we did not feel we could nip off and have a look round, although of course we encouraged our volunteers to do so, to give them a break. However, we had to leave them for a little while to keep our date with Dima Yeremenko, who is a famous dog trainer, from Dogs Have Got Talent. He was nice, scooped us up, and was so thrilled to be photographed with us, and vice versa.
On the Sunday our friend Fergal the gorgeous chocolate long haired Dachshund arrived with his family, to help us out. He, along with Mum Julie, Dad Dave and human sister Tabitha,worked all day in a variety of roles, which was a real joy. I can now exclusively report that Dolly is a bit sweet on Fergal!
Then Irene and Terry Cook arrived, all the way from North Yorkshire, to help us out. They came on behalf of Dachshund Rescue UK and Dolly was thrilled to see Irene, because it was she who facilitated our special girl coming to live with us. We had been asked to give a Dachshund talk which Mum did on Saturday, and Irene did on Sunday
Another helper, Jacquie Pitfield arrived, to give us a hand with various jobs on the stand. She brought her partner Terry, who was a great help, especially in making everything secure on Saturday, something Mum couldn't have managed to do.
Altogether, this was an extra special show. We had met thousands of people and dogs, talked with many of them and at the end of it all came home, very sleepy old pups, ready for bed. Certainly, Ernie had the right idea as our picture shows, although a little birdie told us today that he too took a little time to get over his hard day's work.