I have been working on the Living Heritage Country Shows for a year now with the Fun Dog Show, and believe it or not this is the first show where I haven’t needed to pack my wellies! The sun was out, the people were out, the dogs were out, and it was an absolutely fantastic Bank Holiday weekend!
I have to admit that when I first arrived, I was slightly taken aback at the rather hilly nature of the site, and sleeping in a tent on a 45 degree angle was an interesting experience, but by the end I was absolutely loving the new site (first time Living Heritage have used this one).
The layout worked great for us on the dog show: we were next to Paul Makepiece from Trochry Gundogs, and I enjoyed watching his demos (and playing with his rather gorgeous three month old cocker spaniel puppies!) On the other side was Martin from Ferrets 2000 – one of the UK’s leading experts in ferretery (is that a word? I might have just invented it!) Opposite us were the Scurry Bandits, and behind us the lurcher racing. So there we were, surrounded by friends and photographic opportunities and with the sun shining… it was always going to be a good show!!
Day One (Sunday) and a constant stream of visitors through the gates (which were also very close to us!) I was pretty busy photographing dogs all morning, but managed to sneak off every so often to observe the progress of the chainsaw carving competition. these guys are so creative and it was amazing to watch a very boring piece of wood become something absolutely stunning in their talented hands. I just loved the man with his head down the hole (actually a bike rack!)
The dog show started as usual with the young handler competition. We make it as easy as we can: it’s a big ask for some of the children to bring a big dog (sometimes bigger than they are) into the ring and expect it to behave… We always welcome parents into the ring for support and have a spare lead if necessary so they can control the heel work a bit! And with the ten and under handlers we also have an extra person in the ring to help anyone who might be struggling while they await their turn in the spotlight. After Andy had awarded his usual first to fifth rosettes (No-one leaves without one – we have a lot of fifths!!) we moved on into the next nineteen classes – many of them full and eventually the ‘Best Dog’ was won on the first day by the gorgeous saluki, Rio. Salukis are not the most common breed, although we are seeing an increasing number in the dog show ring, and it was a pleasure to watch this elegant girl prancing around the ring.
Day 2 and I was up early on Monday and took the opportunity to explore and see what was going on in the far rings of the show ground. You could find anything because there are often new or local exhibitors and I was absolutely delighted to find a fourteen foot Burmese python in a reptile tent. He was wonderful! And although I am not usually in the habit of being on the ‘wrong’ end of the camera, I had to get a picture just to prove to my kids that I’d held it! He was actually very heavy!
Monday was really hot. The dogs were wilting a bit by the end of the dog show and I can’t really say I blame them! A stunning Welsh Springer won the Monday show.
But I have to say that the real show stopper of the weekend was this very cute nine week old chihuahua puppy. Her parents were found wandering around an industrial estate in Kent, and when captured, her mother was discovered to be pregnant. The wonderful ladies of Cinq Port Rescue found her an amazing foster home where she could have her puppies, and both parents and all four pups have now gone to their forever homes.
This little one was handed over by Cinq Port Rescue to her very happy new owner while we were at the show, and spent the weekend being wonderfully socialised as she helped take the dog show bookings. I’d love to tell you her name, but she doesn’t have one yet – I believe the shortlist is only twenty now.
And Gillies Leap Fun Dog Shows were delighted to donate £300 from the weekend to the wonderful work the Cinq Port Rescue does, added to by the tin of money from the dog portraits. The prize draw was won by this lovely little terrier (right), so if his owners would like to pick your favourite photo and get in touch (don’t try and buy it off the gallery), I’ll send you a mounted print!
So, all in all a fantastic weekend! It was a long drive home to Derbyshire after all that, and my husband did wonder why I kind of clamped myself into bed that night… it was strange sleeping on the level after two nights clinging to the side of a hill!