Saturday, 11 March 2017

Telling tails about Crufts

Crufts! The world's biggest dog show is drawing in tens of thousands of dog lovers from all over the UK and abroad. It's one of our favourite events – the Words & Images UK team of Ann and Rob have been going to Crufts for years, always looking to see what's going on in the canine world.

Today was especially good as we bumped into a couple of people who we've written about in the past in the doggy press. One being Mrs Averil Jarvis MBE, the founder of the charity The Cinnamon Trust. This it the national charity for the elderly, the terminally ill and their pets.

Mrs Averil Jarvis MBE (centre) and some of the Cinnamon trust team.

Back in the early 1980s Averil saw how important pets are to people, especially the elderly and those living alone. She also saw how the elderly worried about what would happen to their pet should they fall ill, have to go into a home, or pass away.

Averil set about doing something to alleviate that fear. She founded The Cinnamon Trust, created two home-from-home sanctuaries and amassed an army of volunteers – some 16,000 people now, who help out in practical ways to assist an elderly or housebound person care for their pet, such as walking their dog, cleaning the budgie's cage, taking the cat to the vet; and providing life-long foster homes for pets, if the owner is no longer able to look after them.

Later in the day, Averil later presented the Cinnamon Trust Young Volunteer of the Year Award to Ayrton Cooper, a student at Nottingham University. Read his full story here:

The Cinnamon Trust's motto is: “Peace of mind and practical help for people – love, care and safety for pets.” We'll be writing about their work again soon. But in the meantime read more about them here:

Canine artist, Christine Varley

We also met up again with canine artist Christine Varley, who we interviewed when her youngest son was at nursery. Now aged 17, he was helping mum and dad on their Waggydogz stand. How time flies! Christine does pet portraits as well as reproducing her animal paintings on cushions and mugs etc. See her website:

We stopped for a chat with Corporal Briggs of the RAF, and Air Dog, Geo, a gorgeous Golden Retriever, trained as an arms and explosives sniffer dog. Geo's handler is Corporal Webb who was off getting a much needed cup of tea, leaving Corporal Briggs holding the lead. He explained that the Air Dog's role in this country is to carry out searches prior to major gatherings and VIP events. When working overseas these brave dogs will be at the head of the infantry, making sure that the way is clear and safe for the patrol to follow.

Corporal Briggs and Air Dog, Geo of the RAF

We discovered a number of rare breeds in the Discover Dogs zone. One being the Entlebucher – a Swiss mountain dog which is pretty rare in this country, with only 77 known to be living here at the moment. Owner and breeder Rosemary Kind told us that Wilma, pictured here, is currently blogging about her time at Crufts – clever dog! You can read what Wilma and fellow Entlebucher Alfie have to say on their blog at:

Entlebucher Wilma with owner, Rosemary Kind.

Neither Rob nor I had heard of the Eskimo Dog, and we discovered unsurprisingly, that they are a sled dog. These dogs hit the headlines back in 1925 when they heroically saved the small town of Nome in Alaska which had been hit by an outbreak of diphtheria. Around 150 dogs and 20 mushers raced across the Alaskan wilderness with supplies of diphtheria antitoxin. They covered 674 miles in five and a half days – saving the lives of the townsfolk and those in the surrounding communities. Today this event is known as the Great Race of Mercy.

Eskimo dog.

We also came across possibly the cutest dog of all time – the little Affenpinscher. Also known, as the Monkey Terrier. They originate from Germany and grow to be only 9-11 inches tall, weighing between 6.5lb and 13lb. However, these little dogs stand their ground and are renowned for living happily with extremely large breeds. Nine year old Topsy here shares her home with a Newfoundland and a Great Dane. Visitors to the show, Lacey and Bella couldn't resist a cuddle with Topsy either.

Affenpinscher, Topsy.

Topsy with Lacey and Bella

Another face that was also irresistible was Bull Mastiff, Able.

Bull mastiff, Able.

And finally, we were stopped in our tracks by this adorable line up of Golden Retrievers heading into the show ring.

Roll on tomorrow and more doggie tails.

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