Tuesday 17 March 2015
My kind of dog...
Last week ran away from me somewhat; in fact it sped off into this week. I started to feel anxious in anticipation of a string of demands for the next instalment of ‘Day By Dog’. However it seems that everyone else is equally busy and torn in different directions; maybe it’s that time of year. I'll spare you all the details but there is one dog related reason why my week was unusual, I was lucky enough to attend Crufts. I have never been before and while my passion for everything dog couldn’t be denied, it is safe to say I’m perhaps more akin to the muddy, grubby, covered in dog hair side of things.
I remained open-minded and was grateful for the opportunity to experience everything Crufts had to offer. Before anyone jumps to any wild conclusions - while this was a day away from my own doggy brood, it was not just a jolly! Attending the event is something our dog welfare team are encouraged to do if they possibly can, and I completed some extensive homework and learnt a lot along the way. Some of that education was very specific to the different breeds, many of which we rarely see at Wood Green. The most striking for me was the Mexican Hairless. I enjoyed talking with the breeders and finding out about these unusual dogs, considered sacred by the Aztecs.
For me and for Wood Green it’s not just a dog show, it’s about everything that encompasses our relationship with dogs and the part they play in our lives. Our value which is shared by many dog owners is that all pets are well cared for in loving homes for life and Wood Green attends the show to promote this alongside its vital welfare and rehoming messages to a huge audience who – like me – are passionate about dogs of all shapes and sizes! It’s a great place to find out about different breeds and speak to people who really know them. For me, the highlight of the day was watching the Rescue Dog Agility Challenge in the main Arena, where I saw Fern, a former Wood Green puppy and now an agility star, win against dogs from other charities. Inspired? Read Fern’s story; a testament that rescue dogs too have the potential to excel at all sorts of different training and activities.
Don’t think you have to have a Border Collie to take part in agility or flyball, as many others will happily oblige! Staffies are often very agile and trainable; a fine example is Tommy, who would really benefit from the physical and mental stimulation. Maybe start with Crufts in your garden! Another great option is Cani-cross, if you like running or want to start, it’s perfect for you and a canine companion. Timothy, a one year old Husky, who needs plenty of exercise, would be a perfect candidate. These are my kind of dogs; I love running and being active. If you don’t then why not try obedience and trick training and maybe develop a speciality like Fern’s ‘play dead’. Who knows, the next rescue dog Crufts competitor could already be in our midst!