Scotland To Australia!

Little did I know just how much travelling was involved when I took up my new hobby of Dog Showing, this was emphasised even more when I got Fergus and he started to win so often. Suddenly the stakes were higher and I felt obligated to his breeder to show this lovely boy as often as possible, for after all, she’d had enough faith in me, a novice of three years, to give me such a good dog. I was determined to show her that I could master the art of showing and if we did nothing, it certainly wouldn’t be for the want of trying! However as I steadily clocked up the miles in my trusty dog kennel on wheels, even I had to admit that travelling from Scotland to Australia in just one week took some doing!!!

Fergus was such a wonderful dog to show, he never let me down, not once, I had absolute faith that he would behave himself impeccably both in and out of the ring at all times. I never felt any trepidation about showing him and consequently was prepared to enter under anyone and travel any distance. I usually took Flynn with me, if there was a class for him to enter and this occasion was no exception. I had entered two long distance shows within a week. I say long distance, but where we live, everywhere is long distance as we have a 90 minute drive just to reach the motorway……in any direction.

The first was a Championship Show in Dunfermline, Scotland, a good 5-6 hour drive from home. I slept through the alarm. I didn’t wake up until 3 a.m. and I should have left at 2.30 a.m. at the latest! Then when I lost my spare car keys between the front door and the car, I knew it wasn’t going to be a good day. I should have listened to the omens and gone back to bed. Eventually we set off, flying up the A1 like someone demented for most of the way, only stopping at Durham to exercise the dogs. All was well, though time was tight, until I got to the M8 motorway. My instructions said I needed to leave the motorway at Junction 1. It was two years since I had been to this show and unbeknown to me, all the Junction numbers had been changed. So instead of coming off at Junction 2, which was now Junction 1, as apparently I should have, I went sailing on to try to reach Junction 1, which was now Junction 2, oblivious to my mistake. (Oh do try to keep up!)

By the time I finally reached the venue, the first hint that things were not as they should be, was the fact that I was struggling to get into the car park; there were just so many cars. Normally I arrived so early that I had the pick of spaces. However, I was so desperate for the loo that as I ran in hurriedly, leaving the boys in the car, I didn’t really care how far away from the venue I had to park. I was so far away that by the time I reached the venue, I was literally gasping for breath and still desperate for the loo!

When I emerged back into the hall, I looked into the ring and hoped that what I was looking at, were large puppies. The large puppies turned out to be Juniors, which meant that I had missed my Veteran class. To make it even more annoying, there were only three in the class and only one turned up. I was greeted with the news that I had just missed Veteran, which Flynn would have been in and I would definitely have won it, as the present dog had never won anything, I was told. My reply was unprintable!! I had even missed the Scottish Piper, who at the start of the show, stood on the steps of the venue in full regalia, piping in the dogs and exhibitors, with never one dog batting an eyelid. This was always my favourite part of the show.

The judge gave Twoacres Kavanagh, Fergus’s half brother, his Graduate class, so I knew that she wouldn’t like Fergus. If they like one they don’t like the other. So it was with a sinking heart that I walked into the ring with Fergus. Sure enough, we were thrown out. The puzzling thing was, that his daughter, who is Fergus’s mirror image, won her class. All signs said that I should not have bothered, but I still had an enjoyable day amongst friends, so it wasn’t wasted entirely, though I was certainly more tired on the drive home, than if I’d had a winning day.

A few days later, there was another long distance show, in the Midlands. Again, I had entered both boys. This was a well liked show, for if it was blessed with good weather, it had the atmosphere of a garden party. Many people took their own gazebos and picnics, whilst the committee provided legendary edible delights. I decided to show Flynn myself and amazingly, he behaved himself and actually stood still without fidgeting. Unheard of for him. He still managed his party trick of barking all the way back to the judge though, which luckily she found highly amusing. I was thrilled when he won his class. Everyone was asking me how old he was and they were amazed when they learnt that he was 9 years old, saying that he neither looked it, nor acted like it!! Again this was not to be Fergus’s day, although he did manage a 4th place, so all was not lost.

Some of my friends had put up their gazebo, so the boys sat with their dogs under this to keep out of the hot sun. I had not thought to take a ground stake with me, so could only fasten the boys to the wire fence, whilst I went inside to get some refreshments. This was a huge mistake. The venue is near to a private airport, so all day there were helicopters, small planes and microlights flying overhead. Flynn absolutely hates things like this and makes his feeling known…loud and clear. He really doesn’t like them at all. Flynn barked at all of them, each and every one, putting his heart and soul into it. He could be heard all over the field and on several occasions almost pulled down the gazebo in his excitement. He also barked loudly every time anyone was placed and the spectators applauded. I’m sure he thinks that he is applauding. So it was a very cross day. I was cross with him for barking constantly, he was driving me crazy and I was cross with him for almost demolishing the gazebo. I then discovered the numerous holes under their blanket, where Fergus was sitting, which I thought he’d dug, so I was cross with Fergus as well. My blood pressure was rising by the minute! However, later in the afternoon, it became very clear, that Flynn was the phantom hole digger, as I caught him doing it. This one was so deep, it looked as if he was trying to tunnel his way out and get to Australia! Scotland to Australia in one week, now that takes some doing.

© 2008 Michelle Webster

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