Saturday, 12 March 2016

Time for a Bath - it Must be Crufts Again!

Hugo waiting to go in to Pets at Home
Hugo and Pip have had a very busy two days and are currently lying exhausted on the floor - I don't think they will be moving much for the rest of this evening!

Yesterday started bright and early because Hugo and Pip had a 9 o'clock appointment with their beautician to get them ready for their next grand appearance at Crufts. Before we made our way to Pets at Home where the Groom Room were going to perform their magic, Martin and I took Hugo and Pip up to Minchinhampton so they could have a good walk first. We arrived at the Gloucester store ten minutes before it opened so we waited outside in the sunshine. Hugo was very interested in that big, bad Akita just the other side of the shop door that, strangely, copied his exact movements. Miss Pip was in fine form, play bowing to Hugo, trying to make him chase her and woo-wooing in excitement. At last the doors were opened and we were straight in, hurriedly dragging Hugo and Pip past the lady cleaning out the rabbits, and down to the beauty parlour at the end. Hugo went in without hesitation, nosey dog that he is, but Miss
Miss Pip in mad-dog mode
Pip started to dig her feet into the ground just in case it was the V.E.T she was going in to. She soon gave in and went through the door, too, where the nice lady took them both through the counter door and into the room at the back. She told us she would be washing and grooming Hugo but another girl was coming in at 10.00am to do Pip. We were told to come back about 1.00pm unless we heard otherwise so off we went. After doing our weekly shop we were on the way home with it when my phone rang - the Groom Room were almost finished so we could come back at 11.30am. After offloading the shopping we set off again and walked through the store. As I opened the door to the cubicle at the end of the shop I leaned over the counter and there
Sparkling, clean & fluffy
was Miss Pip, just finished - she was thrilled to see me and dashed round to great me, howling and throwing herself at me. Martin took her outside the door as it was rather a confined space and there were a couple of other people in there and the girl went to get Hugo who greeted me with much wriggling and leaning himself against me - I think he was pleased to see me. All this time and while I paid Miss Pip was standing outside with Martin howling and generally letting the whole world that she was there. The ladies in the parlour said that she had been very vocal for the first hour or so - I suspect while Hugo was being pampered and she was left to wait. We certainly like to create an audience when we go out. Hugo and Pip looked fantastic when they came out, sparkling white and very fluffy and soft. The ladies had even cut their nails which is something they will not let us attempt to do so we were very pleased.

All of this grooming and preening was, of course, for today's main event - Hugo and Pip's fourth trip to Crufts to represent Akita Rescue & Welfare Trust on the breed rescue stand. This morning's start was exceptionally early with the alarm clock going off at 5.30am but Hugo and Pip decided to ignore that,
Early morning walk
lifting their heads briefly and then promptly going back to sleep. And there they would have stayed had Toby not arrived causing great excitement, especially when they saw we were all wearing our ARW uniforms. Toby and I first drove Hugo and Pip up to Minchinhampton Common for a walk before we set off - it was frosty and dry so perfect and yesterday's beauty treatments were not ruined by wet and mud. Even better we were the only people up there so it was a very pleasant walk. Back home we picked up Martin and off we set to the N.E.C. in Birmingham. We arrived at eight o'clock and made the long walk from the car park to the Hall 1 entrance which is the only door that dogs are allowed to enter through, even though we were in Hall 3. A quick trek through all the halls and we were finally at our destination and Hugo and Pip settled in to their pen for a day of being fussed and stroked and generally made the centre of attention. Some time later we were joined by Meg who stood outside the pen and wowed the crowds too - a gorgeous, laid back girl who is this year's cover girl for the Kennel Club calendar. 

Greeting the crowds
At first it was exceptionally noisy as the ring next to us was holding the Young Kennel Club owner's fly-ball competition and the load speakers and dogs barking was almost unbearable. Fortunately, after half an hour or so it died down and more sedate activities took place. Hugo, Pip and Meg were stroked and patted by hundreds of passers by and loved every minute. After several hours they began to flag and gradually sank into lying positions, although still allowing people to lean over to touch
Getting tired now
them. By three o'clock were were all exhausted so we decided to call it a day, leaving Meg to greet the crowds alone. 

The journey back through the halls was quite traumatic as the aisles were chock-a-block with people all going in the opposite direction to us so we had to fight our way through. Martin and Hugo led the way with Pip and myself following. Hugo was getting quite stressed as he normally likes to weave as he walks but he was
Young Meg, our pin-up girl!
very confined and kept bumping into people and coming to dead ends so it was with great relief we reached the doors and got out in the fresh air. Hugo and Pip are definitely 'country' dogs and are not used to crowds or narrow pathways as we tend to walk them in wide open spaces but they behaved beautifully and we were very proud of them. The journey home was, fortunately, very quick and uneventful with two sleeping beauties in the back who hardly moved all the way back. Here's to a quiet day tomorrow, I think we all deserve it.

Homeward bound.