Sunday, 9 March 2014

Hugo and Pip Do Crufts - again!

Pip enjoying all the attention
Oooh, more of that please!
I went up to Crufts on my own yesterday, stayed over, and was joined today by Hugo, Pip, Martin (my OH) and Toby (my son). A brilliant, sunshiny day which started with Toby taking Hugo and Pip up on the Common for a good run before setting off to meet me at the N.E.C. where we were all going to represent the Akita Rescue and Welfare Trust - Toby has now decided that seven o'clock in the morning is definitely the best time to walk them as no one else was about at all.

Hugo spots Ashi Taka
I arrived at the show-ground just after my family so they were waiting for me outside the entrance when I got there. Surprisingly, Hugo and Pip didn't spot me straight away which was probably because of the volume of people arriving at that time. I got quite close before I was noticed and Pip set up her usual bark/howl of greeting, leaping up as if she hadn't seen me for years. Apparently, last night Hugo and Pip spent all evening lying behind the front door waiting for me to come home - nice to be loved isn't it?!!

We then had to fight our way through Halls 1 and 2 so we could get to Hall 3 where we had a spot in the Eukanuba rescue booths. Hugo and Pip went very willingly into their little pen and were quickly mobbed by the crowds, taking any amount of stroking, patting, being oohed and aared over and being photographed from every angle. With us were Stephanie, Teresa, Kirtsy and Jude but It wasn't long before we were joined by Kevin with the stunning Ashi Taka - a long coat akita who was really wowing the crowds with his laid back attitude and beautiful coat (Hugo's not so keen on him though!).

Ashi Taka
Kessie & Kovu
Toby took Hugo off for a comfort break but, as Pip also looked as if she needed 5 minutes peace from all the crowds, I followed with her a few moments later. I hadn't realised how much she depends on Hugo for reassurance because as soon as we hit crowds of people she went almost in to panic mode and at one point, when I took a slightly different route from the one Hugo had gone, she sat down and refused to go on until I coaxed her out. Once outside she set up a whining cry and wasn't at all happy, however much I tried to comfort her - she was only relaxed once she had Hugo in her sights. Needless to say we didn't separate them again.

Hugo gets down to greet his admirers
Later in the morning Rosie and Damien bought the two K's - Kessie & Kovu (another one whom Hugo is not keen on, and the feeling is mutual!) - so we were able to go off for an hour or so. Once again Toby and I fought our way through the crowds to look at the stands with Hugo and Pip in tow.  I have two country dogs who are used to open spaces which they can explore on the end of a long lead so are not at their best when being held close and, Hugo in particular, keeps trying to see round people and pushing them from behind when they don't move fast enough! We decided to retreat to the safety of the booth and they really settled into their role as ambassadors for ARW, loving all the attention.

Rosie, Kevin and Toby had all made cookies  with special Akita-shaped cutters which we handed out to children when they visited the stand. Hugo and Pip decided these were far nicer than any of the doggy treats we had for them so have had a large quantity of 'junk' food today as they quickly made it evident to anyone who had one they they wanted some too!

Going home!
By mid-afternoon we were beginning to flag so we decided to take Hugo and Pip home, leaving Kessie, Kovu and Ashi to work the crowds. As soon as we hit the motorway, Hugo and Pip were lying down and asleep which is where they stayed for the whole journey home. What was really funny was when we got back - Hugo and Pip were let into the house first while we unloaded all of our things but Miss Pip then stood on the doorstep and went mad, howling and talking, greeting us as if we had been away for hours. I think she had forgotten she had been with us the whole time. She then had a mad five minutes leaping on and off the bed upstairs and running about and has now crashed out again - think all that sugar might be out of her system now!.

All in all it was a very successful day with lots of interest and new contacts made. All of the dogs were beautifully behaved and were loved by everyone who met them. Really proud of all of them!

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Beauty Parlour Time!

Hugo before
Eight o'clock this morning saw Hugo, Pip and I walking across Selsley Common on a beautiful, crisp, sunny day along with all the other early dog walkers around Stroud. There seemed to be groups of people standing around all over the place so I picked our route carefully to avoid any confrontations but needn't have worried. We saw a German Shepherd, two greyhounds (one with three legs) and several spaniels - all off lead but all beautifully behaved and ignored us totally which resulted in a very pleasant walk.

Pip before
The reason for the early start was to let Hugo and Pip do what they had to before we took them over to Pets at Home at Gloucester where they were booked in for a grooming session. They have never been to a groomers before so we had no idea how they would behave, nor have we left them with anyone else apart from the vets and we all know what they (Pip is particular) think about that! They aren't particularly keen when we brush them so we thought we would let the experts have a go especially as they seem to have been blowing for weeks.

Hugo after
We arrived in plenty of time and after explaining certain traits - Hugo's hip dysplacia which makes him a little tender over his hips sometimes and also his phobia about baths, towels and hairdryers, and Pip's slight separation anxiety we left them in the hands of two lovely young girls. Hugo and Pip went straight through hardly looking back at us - it was like leaving your child on their first day of school. We were told they would be at least three hours so off we went to do some shopping in Gloucester.

Pip after
One and a half hours later I noticed I had a missed call on my mobile so phoned back thinking the worst - perhaps they had been a nightmare and couldn't be done or were upset at being left. Not so, they just wanted to to say they were ready! We arrived back to be greeted by a room filled with fluff billowing all over the place, escaping into the main part of the store as soon as the door was opened. There they were, all fluffed up, sparklingly clean and very pleased to see us (Pip being her usual vocal self and Hugo standing with his feet up on the counter to get to us). They had been very well behaved and had even let the girls clip their nails which they haven't let us get near lately. Apparently Hugo had done the usual Akita thing of leaning although this happened to be against Pip on the table and neither of them batted an eyelid when two Jack Russells came in to have their nails clipped. Think I need to adopt these two girls!! As we left the store I kept seeing wisps of hair floating around that huge store so think there will be evidence of Hugo and Pip's visit for some time.
Squeaky clean!

The reason for all this pampering and preening is for a very special event. Once again, Hugo and Pip have been invited to Crufts on the Akita Rescue and Welfare stand next Sunday (9th March) to represent the Trust and to promote rescues. So, if anyone is coming to Crufts on the big, final day when the Champion is selected, then do look out for us.