But this year was different.
This year we had Leonard.
This year, we became full blown DOG PEOPLE!
On Saturday myself and my animal loving Pre-Teen hit Crufts in style, joined by 2 of our dog loving friends who have a particularly bonkers giant of a dog themselves, a French Mastiff called Cooper.
We were lucky enough to be given tickets by The Forestry Commission and the Kennel Club in association with their new Paws Outdoors campaign to go along and bask in all the madness that is Crufts, for the very first time.
I have to admit, I didn't really know what to expect, I knew there would be dogs obviously, but I wasn't sure how fun watching dogs walk around in a circle and stand still whilst they held their tail up would be.... HOW WRONG I WAS, there is so much more to Crufts than that.
So much goes on during the day and each day is different. There are shows, stalls, talks, meeting all sorts of breeds, stalking celebrities... ok that was just me... and it was Damien Lewis... and I couldn't help but follow him, he is amazing!
The show brings together the old and young in their love of dogs and for us the new joy of having a pet dog seemed to grow into a passion of what we could achieve with Leonard if we tried really hard... well, if Kyd tried really hard, he is his dog after all.
The work that goes into each and every dog that is shown at Crufts is immense. Each and every dog has his or her own personality, quality and talent, and it is clear to this cat loving newbie that the trainers would be as lost without their award winning pets as I would be with mine. Everything they have goes into getting them to this point and Kyd is now more determined than ever to be just like them.
Young Kennel Club
This weekend we saw a set of trainers of similar age a to Kyd, show their pets in a ring with pride and obvious passion for what they do. For me that was hard not to be impressed by, the talent, patience and skill these Young Kennel Club members was obvious and the love they have for their animals is inspiring and I know they are the future stars of the Kennel Club and Crufts. Kyd loved that they were his age and that they had dogs, just like him, he didn't seem that interested in the ring though, it wasn't very him, there was not enough excitement for this little thrill seeker.
International Freestyle Heel Work
(aka Dancing Dogs) however... now THAT was his thing.
As we sat down in the arena I told Kyd that the next show would be the 'dancing dogs'... he looked at me in a 'dogs don't dance silly woman' way... Oh boy was he wrong!
We had our lunch watching and laughing at all sorts of dogs and their owners from all the way around the world, dancing in costumes to everything from Lady Gaga to When I'm Cleaning Windows. The latter, I may add, was our utmost favourite, such a clever performance, it got the first 10 of the round too which was greeted with a crazy response from the audience. The winner of the competition was in fact Richard and Whizzy, from our very own England, with our favourite, When I'm cleaning windows, and we were up on our feet cheering with joy at the result.
Kyd likes to preform, he likes to put on a show and be the centre of attention... HE ALSO LIKES A GOOD ROUND OF APPLAUSE... He would have loved to have been in the centre of that arena with Leonard, you could see it in his eyes as he watched in awe of how the dogs jumped out of boxes, walked under cheese and on their hind legs whilst the audience clapped and cheered.... Maybe one day that will be Kyd and Leonard standing up there getting their trophy... you never know?!
The excitement didn't stop there though, the day had only just begun.
The RAF showed us what their Police Dogs get up to on patrol in Afghanistan and around the
world. As the nephew of a Sargent in the RAF, Kyd was fascinated at how the dogs worked just like Uncle D... and that the men had guns... what is with boys and guns!
Flyball... Oh My... I was not expecting THAT! During the RAF display there was a noise of madness coming from behind the arena, we thought a cat had been let loose. NOPE turns out it was the Flyball dogs getting ready for their
competition. FLYBALL WAS MAD! Several groups of 4 dogs and their trainers, racing over objects to get their ball from a board and back, like a crazy barking dog relay, to see who got the fastest time and won the heat in the best of 3 and then a final round to get a winner.
Flyball is MENTAL!!! So fast and crazy. The audience were screaming like it was the 100m Olympics, actually NO, it was more like the FA cup final as we backed 1 team for each round and cheered like mad men if they won and sighed with almost real tears in their eyes if they lost. We were up on our feet and clapping and the adrenalin was contagious. Kyd was jumping up and down and screaming. He loved it!... However, Leonard is not doing that job... we both agreed it was too noisy and bonkers and we liked quiet(ish) dancing more!
What we learnt at Crufts 2014...
We learnt that dogs can be not only their owners best friend but their dance partner too. We also learnt that they can work doing many jobs. We saw just what they do in the RAF and spoke to a fire investigation dog (the CSI of the dog world) who told us that with training Leonard too could be a CSI dog. We learnt that dogs can be the life and soul of so many people's lives, how they can help people with disabilities by learning how to do amazing tasks like doing the washing and picking things up that are out of reach for them. We learnt how to be responsible dog owners and how to train Leonard properly. We learnt that with proper training ANY dog has the ability to be amazing and change lives. We learnt that WE... the crazy cat lady included... ARE DEFINITELY DOG PEOPLE!!
Kyd has been inspired by Crufts 2014 to be the best and most responsible dog owner he possibly could be. I would recommend any family with a dog attend next year's Crufts, it was a great day out and has left us with some fantastic memories we will share forever.
Look out for more info on the Paws Outdoors campaign on this blog in the future.
We were not paid for our trip to Crufts nor were we paid for this review, however we did receive tickets to the show in association with the Forestry Commission. Kyd and I would like to thank the Forestry Commission for sending us to Crufts and we look forward to working with them more on the Paws Outdoors campaign.