It’s cold, grey and raining; so much so the wild birds almost have access to their very own family friendly swimming pool which is forming on the patio outside. Luckily this is the day after an absolutely beautiful day (in so many ways) for the #PupIdol event on behalf of the wonderful London based charity, All Dogs Matter.
Bright blue balloons hanging on the entrance to The Garden Gate pub in Hampstead, London and a hive of activity from dogs great and small forming a ‘cat’ walk (dare I use that word?!!) to scurry their way into the venue, meant I knew we’d reached our destination! Ted, desperate to get in on the action, made sure it was a hasty retreat from the car and into the thick of it.
We were greeted by a sea of people and their pooches watching and competing in the various categories from Golden Oldie through to Mr and Mrs Hampstead! These ranged from fellow Dachshunds (Monty, an 11 month black and tan smooth haired and a wire-haired, named George); a Labradoodle named Pippin and Jack Russell, Piper, who had come with his owner having been adopted from Battersea Dogs Home a few months ago. As well as those lucky to be loved, there was a lovely Jack Russell x Chihuahua called Milo, along with many gorgeous Staffordshire Bull Terriers, such as the lovely Puffin, who are looking for homes (please see the attached All Dogs Matter link at the end of this post for details if you’re keen and able to adopt).
On the panel of judges were brilliant dog advocates and champions ranging from the delightful Peter Egan, stunning Michelle Collins and the fabulous Ricky Gervais. I even accidentally photobombed a photo of Ricky with the lovely Staffie, Puffin, as you will have seen if you follow me on Twitter! There was stiff competition in each of the categories and whilst Crufts don’t need to be quaking in fear, what we witnessed was the love and affection everyone has for their dogs and others.
In addition to the fierce competition between the dogs, there was even fiercer competition amongst the crowd in the form of an auction! With fabulous prizes donated from an array of kind-hearted donors, I found myself (along with Ted!) in a bidding war for a dog photoshoot with the lovely Ian from Dogstar Photo. After a tense back and forth rally (I felt I was in the Wimbledon final!) we finally outbid our competitor. Needless to say, my pockets may be lighter but being able to contribute to such a worthwhile charity is worth it (plus Ted, who is a known poser!) will no doubt enjoy his photoshoot (and I will enjoy writing about it for you all!)
Back to the real reason we all came and that was to support the hard work done by All Dogs Matter. We all sat and listened, ears pricked, between the categories about just some of the dogs looking for homes of their very own. There were a range of stories to bring tears to your eyes, as to how these beautiful creatures found themselves in need of a new home. This included a puppy purchased and given up for adoption within just a week when the owner ‘realised’ they were away from home for 18 hours a day; leaving the poor dog alone, with no contact, no exercise, just solitude. Simply heartbreaking. All Dogs Matter have already rehomed 171 dogs this year, but sadly there are many more looking for a place to call home. Hopefully one of you reading this may be able to help. If not, it would be great if the dogs could wear ruby-red slippers, click their paws three times and be taken there…