Going to Crufts for the first time was a bit daunting, especially for Dolly who had only been with us for seven weeks.. We did not feel she should stay with a friend, as this would mean yet another change in her life, which would not be fair. Mum was concerned about her, but she really need not have been as Dolly coped remarkably well with the Show as did I.
Arriving at our Hotel at 2 pm on Friday, we decided to go straight over to the NEC to get Mum her press pass, and then we were off, hunting around for interesting areas to visit in the following days.
We thought the most appropriate place to start was ‘The Great British Dog Walk’ stand, especially as three days at Crufts meant we had to walk miles and miles anyway.
The young people on the stand welcomed and made a huge fuss of us. They told us all about their work as part of the charity ‘Hearing Dogs for the Deaf’. They aim to put on 20 walks across the UK, encompassing picturesque locations, with fun activities for children and refreshment and gift stalls along the way. They want to get many dogs joining in, to enable them to help train more puppies to work with deaf people. If you want to take part, you can find your nearest walk on their website https://www.hearingdogs.org.uk/support/great-british-dog-walk/
It felt strange that we were talking about dog walks when we did most of Crufts in the stroller, so we were not at all surprised when they decided they should frame us!
However, our encounters with ‘The Great British Dog Walk’ were not over. While we were there, a photo shoot was arranged as Rachel Riley, the C4 Countdown mathematical genius, had arrived. Rachel supports this charity, who were celebrating their 35th Birthday. They had the most enormous cake to mark the occasion and, Ssshh! don’t tell anyone, Dolly gave it a quick lick as we passed by it!
As we are small in stature we considered we needed to be upwardly mobile, so we made our way to the Mercedes stand where we saw a superb big car. Of course, if you need to travel with two Great Danes, then Mercedes might be the way to go!
We wanted to get round to see as many people as possible, and by special request visited our friends at Natural instinct, who had not yet met Dolly. Within minutes, she was being cuddled by Michelle, aka ‘The Boss’, who wanted to know all about our little adoptee. Everyone there loved her so much and I felt a bit like the bridesmaid!
Crufts offers a great opportunity to see people from overseas, as was the case with our good friend Douglas’s Mum. Douglas is a Samoyed, who lives in Sweden, and when we heard his Mum would be there on Sunday we hot wheeled it right up to Hall 4 to meet and greet her. She told us that Douglas would be so jealous as he had desperately wanted to come to Crufts, but Swedish quarantine laws make it impossible. We are sure that he and his sister, Zoe, have now let their Mum know how they feel about being left at home while she enjoyed herself at Crufts.
Of course we were only a small part of The Barking Bugle team, and before we left for home it was a great pleasure to be photographed with our fellow journalists. If Gizmo, Lily and we look dog tired, it’s because we were! In our case, three days is a lot for two old pensioners (three including Mum) to cope with, especially as Dolly is nearly 12 years old But hey, we walked the walk, talked to lots of people, absorbed the noise of the obscenely loud public address systems around the exhibition rings, and received pats and admiring glances from the thousands of people milling around the five halls. Roll on next year, that’s what we say!