News Update
October 2009
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I’m a bit late doing the update again but never mind! Anyway, Mary’s had a great couple of months in competition. Last weekend in Championship obedience we think Foxy would have won the bitch ticket but she dropped too early on the sendaway which put her out but in the dog Championships Taz worked a stunning round and went into the lead early in the day and stayed in the lead all day but in the stay exercises sniffed and lost one mark which put him in a run off for reserve which he won so he got the reserve challenge certificate (ticket). Levi also had a good day winning Open C. Levi qualified to work Champ classes at Hatchford Brook on the 1st August by winning Open C. He then went on to win the next two Open C classes he went in to and then went on to win out of Grade 3 agility at Taz has won two reserve Challenge Certificates but the big news was that at the BAGSD show in Birmingham, under judge Janet Oliver, Taz won the Championship and qualified for the dog Championship final at Crufts 2010. This also gave Taz his Championship title so he is now known as Obedience Champion Woodsorrel Red Devil. I think Taz is a late developer! On the following day to this he was leading the Championship class in Wales by 3 points only to lose 8 points in the stays so a disappointing day

Now our Foxy, who was also a bit late developing, has only recently qualified to work Championship bitch and at her third attempt at Thames show under judge Gwyneth Hooper-Wheeler she won the Championship class and also qualified for Crufts 2010. And she also has got a reserve certificate as well naow.

On the agility front Mary seems to be in the places wherever she goes now with Levi and Ozzie They are both Grade 4 in the now but the big news is that Mary has also qualified China for the Novice Olympia finals this Christmas. China is owned by Julie Skipp and Mary has been running her this summer. Not the easiest dog to work with but certainly she has made a lot of progress. I’d better just mention that Mary qualified 3 dogs for the Dogs in Need agility finals, it was an achievement even if she didn’t have a great deal of success in the finals!

A quick flip through where we’ve been in the last few weeks. We visited Battersea Dogs Home at the beginning of October – a fascinating visit. Mary was invited to go by Jo who is in charge of all the working dogs to give a bit of advice. We had a full tour of the centre, I have to say it is quite amazing – I didn’t think we’d ever see a multi-storey kennel block but we have now!

The centre is well, right in the centre of London, not much in the way of green fields round it but they really do make the best of the space available. There are brand new exercise pens with solid sides so the dogs do not see dogs in the next pen and when you are there, there is a constant stream of kennel persons walking dogs on leads down to the exercise areas.

They have also got what they call the training barn. It is a bit compact and the floor looks a bit slippy but it isn’t and at least they have got somewhere for the working type dogs to do something in. When the dogs arrive they are then diverted to various kennelling systems. There is an indoor puppy area and when we were there they had just received a complete 9 puppy litter of Staffies.

There is a ground level kennelling block specifically for dogs that need treatment before they can be moved to a rehoming block. Next door to that there is another ground level block which is dedicated to the larger breeds. The next block we looked in was the multi-storey kennel and this is for all the medium and small breeds situated over 3 floors with each floor having its own grooming parlour. All the kennels were immaculately clean and all the dogs looked well although one or two were under veterinary treatment and looked a little bit sorry for themselves.

In the main kennel block on the ground floor there was the general public reception area, a doggy shop and the usual interview rooms for perspective new owners and after the owners have been accepted as potential adopters they are then taken upstairs in the block to where the kennels were on the upper two floors. There were some really super dogs, in fact Mary fell in love with a big GSD and we could have easily fell in love with some of the Staffies there.

They are very fortunate being very high profile and they must be one of the few establishments that hold interviews for voluntary helpers as they are normally in the fortunate position of being over subscribed. The big difficulty they have – I think it is because of location – is the type of dog that they have in as they are swamped with Staffie and Staffie crosses which does limit their choices and as they say, unfortunately somebody has to do it and I’m sure they do their level best to educate the new owners in the importance of keeping their dogs in control and on a lead. In saying that, we did see a good variety of other breeds but there was only one collie and one or two other guarding breeds and a good selection of smaller dogs.

Anyway, to sum it all it was a really worthwhile day and I have to say that we both believe they do a sterling job in the location they are in having to take unwanted dogs in from owners who probably have had ‘status symbol’ dogs for all the wrong reasons.

Just a quick look back through September. Mary had a few days in the caravan at Kath Dark’s farm over at Daventry with a few friends from Rugby DTC doing their own thing training dogs and with Kath joining in. It is a great venue and Kath is ever so hospitable so I think that will be a repeat next year. And the weather was good as well. On the 16th & 17th September Mary was taking a 2 day HTM course at the Mid-Wales Dog Training Centre for Gail Gwesyn-Pryce. She has a dedicated ourdoor training ménage with a small building for the tea and coffee etc a great location in the middle of nowhere about 15 minutes from Newtown and a great bunch of girls on the course. I think they all enjoyed it, in fact I think Gail is going to book Mary again for next September. The highlight must have been the canine hydro-therapy pool. Well I think that was what the original intention was but what she actually installed was a swimming pool with a ramp down one side into the pool. So of course, what everyone does is goes in for a swim with their dogs and that is exactly what Mary did – in fact she was doing HTM with Levi in the pool! It is in a poly tunnel type building and the water is really warm and we said if we were just a bit closer we would arrange a dog club day and night there where we could all have a pool party, take a few drinks have a swim with the dogs – I can’t think of anything better!

The week before that was Mary’s traditional training week at Maggie and Rex’s in Anglesey. Again, we were blessed by having a really good bunch of people on the course it was a really good atmosphere training in both agility and HTM. Rex and Maggie are great hosts, they have got a lovely training hall and this year instead of getting caterers in they did their own barbeque which I helped Rex with on the Monday. I gather that it will be sold out again next year. In fact, I reckon we could do 4 or 5 of these week long courses because we have finished with a waiting list for both of them.

At the end of August Mary did an evening for Richard Curtis down in Hampshire. We did want Richard to do something with his dogs but he said it was his night off – how sweet! You’re spoilt Richard. Mary was on top form in comedy mode, I had to take some of it off her and I think the highlight of the evening was 4 of the audience members turning into Irish dancers for the Irish Riverdance routine. I think we did rename them the ‘Chronic Feet’ dance troupe – it was hilarious just like the whole of the evening. Even the dogs were on form.

And Mary had her weeks break at her sisters in Canada in August. We find it difficult to both get away on holiday abroad as we now have 10 dogs and Mary’s sister who lives with us has got her own dog now so that is 11 indoors we have. So I know everyone will feel sorry for me as I am having to go away on holiday by myself as well. Well not quite, as I am going with my mate Roger Churchill sightseeing in the middle of November. We’re not going far though – Hong Kong, Cambodia and Borneo. They keep taking the Mickey out of me as we could have saved some money by sharing a room but I did say that I wouldn’t in case people thought I was gay! Oh dear should I be saying that? There is definitely nothing wrong with being gay and I have nothing against gays at all it is just that I’m not one and Roger might snore!

Tickets are selling well for Mary’s Cabaret night in Rugby in aid of Wiccaweys Border Collie Rescue on Saturday 24th October and the following day she is at the opening of a new Pets at Home in Stratford upon Avon. On Sunday 1st November she is spending the afternoon with Richard Curtis at My Pets Stop in Leeds so you need to be a bit quick if you want tickets for that.

And finally in mid November she is appearing at Discover Dogs in Earls Court. She’s got a training spot each day and she is performing her Crufts Riverdance twice each day and the good news is the Celtic Feet Irish dancers (yes – the proper ones!) will be with her. And if you want to see Mary she will no doubt be making regular appearances on her trade stand which is number 266 in the corner of the main ring.