Handle With Care
Dog World|March 24,2017

Crufts and all that’s positive in our sport

Lisa Moir

MY CRUFTS began a day early again this year as it has for the past two years, with my attendance at the glamorous Pawscars award ceremony, only this time I was attending as a nominee in the Columnist of the Year category.

Now in its fourth year, tickets for the event sold out in record time and over 10,000 votes were cast highlighting just how popular the Pawscars is becoming, as it grows year on year. It really is a tremendous event to be involved in – celebrating all that is good in the pedigree dog world, at the same time raising money to benefit children and animal charities.

When nominations were announced at the beginning of the year I was thrilled to discover I had made the shortlist and so was very excited about the event.

On the night I was totally overwhelmed to win the Columnist of the Year award and want to thank all the readers, and everyone who nominated and voted for me, not forgetting Danni Medhurst who lays out this column every fortnight making it presentable and eye catching.

Another happy award winner was young James Winkley-Balmer who walked off with the Junior Handler of the Year gong, in a hotly contested category against fellow nominees Sophie Wildig and Rebecca Dobson. A very worthy winner, 15-year-old James has been handling dogs for about three-and-a-half years now and had a particularly good 2016 in the show ring winning BIS with his Whippet at Southern Counties, two CCs with two different dogs, eight RCCs with four different dogs, along with a PG1 and PG2 at championship shows. Many congratulations James from all of us here at Paws!

Social media has been awash with Crufts highlights and aside the Magnificent Miami winning BIS, particular favourites are Olly the fun-loving Jack Russell who careered his way round an agility course, face planting and stopping to have a good sniff around. Hard to believe that the amusing terrier had a sad start to life, being callously dumped as a puppy, before being adopted by his current owner. Olly’s antics have gone viral proving there can be a happy ending and you’ve always got time to stop and smell the roses!

Another video doing the rounds is that of Lusy Imbergerova from Italy and her Lakenois ‘Deril’ competing in the heelwork to music international freestyle competition. The innovative army-themed routine including a segment which showed Deril act out CPR, giving chest compressions and the kiss of life amazed audiences and received raucous applause.

And then you had the emotional scenes showing the nation’s favourite Britain’s Got Talent winners Ashleigh and Pudsey compete in their last Crufts agility championship together, as 11-year-old Pudsey retires from top level competition. It’s encouraging this year to see that much of the media attention has focussed on more positive, and entertaining elements of the world’s greatest dog show, in contrast to the negative and sensationalist coverage we have seen in recent years.

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