The Irish Guards Mascot Conmael, leading the Parade of Rescue hounds.
Preparations at Coldham Hall, Cambridgeshire, the setting for this year’s rally, started some three months prior with the designated grassed area being cut and rolled several times. There being hardly any rain here in this part of the country during July, the main ring had been painstakingly watered to keep it fresh and green. So much better for the photos!
The first main ring event was the rescue parade headed by Drummer Vaughey of the Irish Guards with The Dog, Conmael. Each rescue hound was presented with a special rosette.
The same format was repeated for the veteran parade whose ages ranged from a mere 7½ to almost 10 years. Again each dog was presented with a special rosette and goody bag sponsored by Fish4Dogs.
The ‘Pudding and Pie Club’ yielded a huge spread for lunch of which quiche seemed to be the favoured offering! I think every flavour imaginable was on that table. There were lots of scrummy homemade dishes, two in particular stick in my mind, a gorgeous plum crumble and a very hot shepherd’s pie. (Not such a good idea with thin paper plates – maybe I should not have been so eager - or greedy)!
There were lots of eager takers for the agility course. My very obedient agility dog, Rafferty, gave an excellent demonstration of how to avoid going over the jumps and disappear into the great green yonder. Fortunately the rest of the participants were much more willing and proved to be very able.
Dog of the Year title was awarded to Stefan and Monique Purdy’s three legged wheaten wolfhound Loopy who, when bored with the photo shoot, hopped off back to his car at a remarkable speed. Loopy was unfortunate to lose a hind leg as a young puppy – but at nearly six years old now he is an inspiration, showing us that some Irish Wolfhounds can and do lead happy and fulfilling lives on three legs. His owners say that his disability has never posed any significant problems to him. He is accepted unconditionally by both his human and dog family and he just gets on with enjoying his life. A worthy recipient of the title.
Peter presented judge Jane with a bottle of wine which, after a long day, was very welcome. Had she not been driving home, I’m sure it would have been opened there and then!
Dog of the Year Loopy with Stefan
Then it was onto the quick fire rounds of the novelty classes. Undisputed waggiest tail winner was Chris Stewart’s Jack Russell cross Floyd, the only non-wolfhound in the class. Floyd also proved to be a bit of a star on the agility course – being able to clear well over twice his height! Second place with a very creditable Wolfhound wag was Maureen Sturman with Bliss. All three Wolfhound entrants, with their floor length tails, had thought the class was for ‘Longest Tail’.
Handsomest Dog was Tina Jones’s Ben and Prettiest Bitch was Wendy Heather’s Grace. The Joneses took another class, this time it was Brian with Mikey, as Best Crossbreed. The only entry in Best Six Legs/Fancy Dress was Wendy Heather and Grace as jockey and horse. Paddy Grice was declared to look the most like his dog Remy, the Border Terrier. The dog the judge wanted to take home was my Rafferty – because Jane thought he looked like the Womble Uncle Bulgaria!Lunch over, and our judge for the day, Jane Roe stepped into the centre of the ring to be rewarded with some very well filled classes. Winner of the Puppy class was Angela Parsons’ Lily. Heading the large Any Variety Hound class was Maggie Holder’s Cait, ably handled by Stephanie Penfold. Another win for Maggie in Any Variety Sporting, this time with Greyhound Billy. Winner of Any Variety Open was Veronica Downes with Border Terrier Percy. Best of the Veterans was Caroline Sheppard’s Jasmine. The Irish Wolfhound Club chairman, Peter Pask, made the presentations to the main winners.
Tina Jones with Mikey (temporarily distracted by a sausage!)
The final event of the day was the Leprechaun Derby. The rules were quite simple. Each of the five contestants in the heat had to run with their dog and an egg and spoon, to the other end of the ring avoiding the strategically placed sausage; don the leprechaun hat, complete with fetching ginger beard and sprint back to the start line, ensuring their dog ate the aforementioned sausage on the way - and the egg stayed on the spoon. I’m pleased to report that no thumbs, blue tack, or cake icing was used to keep the eggs co-located with the spoons. After much hilarity and encouragement, remembering that Wolfhounds are indeed sighthounds and not scenthounds, the overall winner was Tina Jones with her Welsh Foxhound, Mikey.
That concluded what had been a great day out. The weather was kind and several hundred pounds was raised for the Irish Wolfhound Rescue Trust. Thank you to our hosts Clive Painter and Kathy Goodall.
Veterans with Drummer Vaughey and ‘The Dog’ ~ Conmael.
Hostess Kathy with Regan - 9 years 9 months
Best in Show Cait and Reserve Best in Show Percy
Judge Jane Roe choosing Best in Show (L - R Lily, Cait, Billy, Jasmine & Percy)
Some of the class winners
Best in Show - Cait
Best Puppy in Show - Lily
Best Veteran – Jasmine
Best Crossbreed – Mikey
Handsomest Dog – Ben
Prettiest Bitch – Grace
Dog the judge would like to take home - Rafferty
Many thanks to Tim Arnold and Kathy & Clive for these photos.