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Preparing for Crufts

So, you have qualified CRUFTS, quite possibly the largest and most prestigious dog show in the world, there is an awful lot of preparation to be done before the actual show day its self, I don’t mean grooming, clipping or conditioning your dog, I mean the actual preparation of yourself.

This is more than any other championship dog show where you just load up your dog and your show bag and turn up at the event. I am sure you know far more about that kind of thing than me, the entry forms have been returned often well in advance of what would normally be the deadline for a qualifying show.

But this show you have to be there very early in the morning and also have to be there much later than normally would be expected at any other show, it’s a long eventful day filled with anticipation, anxiety, hope, triumphs, disappointments and even the odd glass of Champagne!

The night before your allocated group show day you have everything under control the dogs are ready and up for it, the show bag is checked and double checked for all the usual things that you take to every dog show and very rarely use or need, you have checked your passes five or more times and left them next to the car keys so as not to forget, your sandwiches are wrapped in tin foil, your show outfit is bag from the dry cleaners and is hanging on the door still in the plastic cover, ready.

The alarm clock set and it’s off to bed for an early night, a night of little or no sleep, drifting in and out of only very light sleep until 10 minutes before the alarm sounds then the deepest possible sleep, your mind finally said yes you have everything in hand.

The alarm clock sounds very loud, you spring into action trying not to wake the rest of the house, it normally a time you would be going to bed, not getting up, even the dogs have a look of confusion, why are up in the middle of the night?

Dogs loaded, car started, the journey begins, the SAT NAV says you be there well in time, the dogs go to sleep in the back of the car. The journey is going well, the roads are quiet, you are happy, it’s all under control. Still dark you have time to pull into the service station on the motorway for the all-important toilet stop for both human and dog, you grab a coffee and continue on the way.

As day breaks the sun pops up and the low sunlight blinds you in such a way that it makes you suddenly realize that you are not in full control, you are on the motorway network in the UK, roadworks, traffic jams and maybe even the odd little accident that make the SAT NAV clock drift away. The caffeine has kicked in, your senses are stimulated, your palms are starting to get sweaty, the dogs are sensing you are anxious, they “mess about” in the back of the car, making you even more anxious, you can’t stop looking at the time to destination on the SAT NAV.

Your driving skills are put to test at a slow pace you need to be in the correct lane, one wrong move and you are on the Toll road!

After what seems an eternity your exit his here, you leave the works commuter traffic and join the show traffic, even though just as slow a sigh of relief is given. Surrounded by your own kind, number plates with a “K9 DOG” feel and even a lot of foreign number plates.

The stewards direct you to the exhibitor car park, it’s a long way from the entrance, trade stand holder seem to be parked much closer.

You gather your gear for the day and join the crowd heading towards the NEC, traders, exhibitors, public, staff and officials, like and army of ant’s head in the same direction at speed, only to be slowed down by the security who are quite rightly checking every ticket for every man, woman, child and dog!

You enter the hall(s) the background noise drones and you look around for the bench that you have been allocated, checking the time of your class, looking for the ring it will be held in, all of this and it’s not even 8 am yet.

Happily settled in at your allocated bench, greeted by fellow competitors and friends, the atmosphere is electric, the achievement is great, you have made it to the start of CRUFTS.

A long day ahead of you, stay focused, enjoy it, make friends and make memories while you are there, and remember you still love your K9 companion that you are taking home at the end of the day, with or without rosettes.

Good Luck.


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  • pet shows