Tuesday, 12 June 2012


I never go anywhere if I can avoid it. I prefer to stay in the house and potter about on the internet. For some reason -possibly the fact that I've actually made the effort to go and see Bruce Springsteen in less than two weeks time -he's playing a whole two miles from my house- may have something to do with me also deciding to go to this year's Great North Dog Walk with Susan and (borrowed) springer spaniel Sam. It's an annual event which includes a dog show and this year is sponsored by the chain Pets At Home. We like this chain because they don't sell puppies or kittens and do a lot of work with local charities (like us, Animal Krackers).
To be honest, we didn't get off to a very good start. Sam's long-term fosterer tied him up securely on the back seat but tied him to the seat belt which, being extensible, meant Sam was too. So, after several near disasters caused by a virtually unrestrained lively and very strong dog, we pulled in and I tied him to the extensible metal part of the rear seat head rest which thankfully kept him relatively secure. Apart from the facts that he is both strong and lively, in other respects he's a lovely dog who is friendly with both people and other dogs.

We got there intact, signed Sam in for a couple of categories in the dog show and set about looking for our Krackers colleagues. We were supposed to have a table selling soft toy animals to publicise our charity but that didn't materialise when the person who had the van didn't turn up until much later than we did by which time we couldn't be bothered but it was no big deal really as it meant we could enjoy the dog show.

Benjy, schnauser, Sam

We found Animal Krackers co-founder Andrea's family fairly quickly (see above), though I noticed the Benjy the three-legged dog before the people who accompanied them. Andrea was also there with Charlie a lovely affectionate mongrel who gave birth to six puppies within an hour of her arrival. We pretty much hung around the show ring as the various dogs who were with us were entered in various categories. Benjy won Best Rescue Dog and later Best In Show (3 legs good, 4 legs bad in competition with a 3-legged dog) and guess who came second in the Best Rescue Dog-

L-R: Unknown, Sam w/Susan, Benjy w/Victoria, Charlie w/Andrea

Also in the show ring, cheques were presented from Pets At Home to various local animal charities, including NorthEast Greyhound Rescue (which we help out with food and stuff) and us. We all had our photos taken with the dogs.

Other people we met there whom we knew included Mark from Ferryfarm Kennels (with his young daughter Abbie and their three dogs), Sharon of the Greyhound rescue with her daughters, and, stuck out on his own in a small tent away from the activities but at the beginning of the Walk, Victor the Mexican vet sitting at a leaflet covered table with a volume of Readers Digest condensed novels. We've known Victor for a number of years and he's treated many of our cats and Susan and I chatted to him for a little while before-

Yes, we even went on The Great North Dog Walk itself though by this time, along with Edie and her small friendly dog (unless you're another dog in which case he's a small vicious sod) called Sammy, we were feeling rather tired and just did about a mile and a half loop (or maybe it was less).
 Me (note highly inappropriate t-shirt) with Sam, Sammy & Edie

All in all, a good day and congratulations to the organisers and Pets At Home.

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