Celebrating dog milestones #1

rochdale mayors fete

Technically this post has two reasons to celebrate. The first being… I am on holiday! My first big holiday since starting my small biz, two years ago. But I suppose the second being the most important, and the focus of this post…

The first half of my holiday has taken me about 100 miles west, back home for a visit. Then the second half will be spent in Cyprus, not sure how many miles away that is! So on Sunday my mum and I visited the ‘Mayors Charity Country Fete’, which was about a twenty minute walk from her house. It was decided that a walk rather than a car ride would be best, so the dogs wouldn’t be so hyped up to arrive at such an event.

The fete held a dog & pony show, but whether we entered depended on Jess’ reaction/behaviour as we walked around. So far so good, so we headed to the registration booth. I suppose this was our first ‘test’ as it was a pretty small, enclosed area with lots of new people and dogs passing through. Jess did well.

We decided to enter Jess in ‘Golden oldie’ (which made me a little sad, but that’s a whole other post!) and ‘Prettiest girl’, with Max in ‘Waggiest tail’. Alas, we did not win, not a sausage, as my mum says! But without wanting to sound too ‘cliché’, it really was the ‘taking part that counts’ for Jess. As some of you may know she is nervous of new people/situations and her dog greeting is sometimes a little full on. We are fairly good at reading her signs of anxiety now, her avoidance and displacement behaviours, and have our usual explanation to new people. But she was near perfect on Sunday. My mum has been making an extra effort walking lately, and says she has learnt a lot more about Jess’ behaviour. Her dog ‘hellos’ were polite(ish), and the crowds didn’t seem to faze her. Our only ‘incidents’ were Jess backing away from the judge and her whining when I left her to enter Max’s class. One of the problems I’ve found entering dog shows is that the dogs start to get a little restless with all the waiting round, which Max did. I also admit I thought we had ‘Waggiest tail’ in the bag, I don’t know what went wrong! But I’m not bitter…

But on a serious note, I just felt so happy for Jess. Happy that she could enjoy the day without feeling too worried, and experience everything the same way everyone else did. We didn’t feel that we had to leave early, or separate ourselves from people or dogs. We’ve come a long way from having to cross the road to pass a stranger. A happy dog equals a happy human!

shih tzu bandana

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