Tuesday, 10 March 2015

CRUFTS. Not just for show dogs !!

Well we're just back from 4 amazing days at Crufts 2015. We had a fab time and met some fab people. Miya and I were taking part in the Good Citizen Dog Scheme Silver Display Team this year. We were fortunate to have been picked to take part and this weekend was the culmination of many weeks of hard work and practise. Thankfully all went well and we had a great time.

MIYA AND ME AT CRUFTS 2015

If you are a dog lover or are owned by a dog then you have to visit Crufts even just once to sample the occasion. I am not a show dog person by nature. I dont think I could be bothered with all the preparation and pomp that goes with showing dogs. But as a dog owning enthusiast I always marvelled at the other groups that regularly participated in the Crufts experience. Like the Agility, Flyball, Heel Work to Music and the many other groups that entertained at Crufts.
To go to Crufts under the Agility or Heel Work to Music banner meant many many months of training and qualifying sessions. And then only the cream get to go to Crufts. I thought my dream would never be realised. Having started my own training business and committing to teach the Good Citizen Dog Scheme training programme, I joined the Kennel Club GCDS and got my business 'Listed' status. After a couple of years running courses and organising tests for the handlers that came to do my courses I was surprised back in December when I got an email from one of the working party members of the GCDS invitoing me to attend a qualifying session for the Silver Display team for Crufts. I had no idea what was involved but I jumped at the chance. The 'try outs' were in England about four and a half hours drive away. Undaunted my wife and I and Miya (above) set off at 5:00am on the last weekend in January to head down to Wakefield for the Silver team try out. We duly arrived and was warmly greeted by the selection committee. There were some 25 other dogs and handlers there for the try outs. I learned whilst there that the team would consist of only 9 dogs and handlers.

THE TEAM LEADERS AND THE FINAL NINE AT REHEARSALS IN WAKEFIELD 

Happily we were picked for the team after a full day of different exercises testing us. What followed was another four weeks travelling down to Wakefield every Sunday for team practise. this meant up at four in the morning to leave at five so that we could be there for the ten o'clock start. we made it on time every week. 

Finally the big weekend arrived and we spent four wonderful days with a great bunch of people taking part in the biggest dog show on earth.

GOOD CITIZEN SILVER DISPLAY TEAM CRUFTS 2015.

For Miya my Northern Inuit this has to be the highlight of her life so far. When I think back at how she started in life it is truly a story worthy of a hollywood film. I rescued Miya from Dogs Trust in Glasgow when she was 14 months old. She had already had to stints behind bars by that time having gone to two different owners. when I came across her she had such emotional baggage and trust issues. Hard work and patience and time to heal has turned her into who she is today and what an amazing testament to her character that she has gone from being a rescue reject to performing on the worlds biggest doggie stage the Crufts arena.

HIGH FIVE MIYA.
One last mention has to go to my wife Heather. throughout this whole journey she has been a constant companion at my side with nothing but 100% support. Without which none of this could not have been possible. Thank you very much and I love you dearly.

PHOTO BOMBED BY MIYA

I hope this gives encouragement to anyone out there who has a desire to take part in the biggest dog show on earth. You dont have to have an Agility champion or a breed champion or a Heel Work to Music champion although all of these are perfectly acceptable routes. Some times hard work and dedication can get you there as well. Live your dreams. Set yourself a goal and go for it. Don't short change your life by not having ambition. But remember to have fun along the way. Its not the goal that counts, its the journey. As ensign Kim says "to the journey".