The weekend of the 9th and the 10th of May 2015 saw The London Pet Show arrive at ExCel London for the first time ever.
The London Pet Show is a feel good show which encourages responsible pet ownership, kindness; animal welfare, mixed breed and rescue dogs. There was a real cross section this year, including rabbits, reptiles, birds of prey, dogs, cats, arachnids and horses.
I was delighted to be compere for the large Nerf Ring which saw a real cross section of working dog skills including duck herding, agility, ball retrieval to wonderful feel good shows such as The Southern Golden Retriever Display Team, agility from rescue dog team Thought for Paws and the famous ‘Scruffs’ – a lovely dogs show just for mixed breeds.
The dogs I met were well cared for, adored what they were doing and had very loving owners. I would like to stress how important it is to work with working breeds to allow them the freedom to exercise the skills bred into them. These dogs thrive on doing these commands and if they were not challenged, could possibly be destructive at home. I watched the border collies simply straining to get going with their routines and every tail wagged like mad!
Twice a day, I joined SuperVet Noel Fitzpatrick for SuperDogs Live in the main arena as a panel judge alongside the fabulous House of Hugo boys Matt & Leon Henderson-Rood and lovely behaviourist Gwen Bailey. It was such an exciting show, just like a doggy version of Simon Cowell’s X Factor. The audience was packed to breaking point and the atmosphere was electric. We saw some divine acts where, again, the dogs were totally into what they were doing and wagged their tails so crazily hard. Both owners and dogs shared a wonderful bond which was evident and many owners told me that they were simply building on skills the dogs already had chosen to display at home to start with.
A wonderful part to SuperDogs Live was the Heroic Hounds section with Beverly Cuddy of Dogs Today Magazine. Each day, two hero dogs were chosen and it was such a touching part of the show. Two of the dogs who won included dog Fleur, a Romanian stray rescued after a botched spaying left her with her intestines hanging out. ValGrays Border collie recue brought her over to the UK, fundraised for her and she was adopted to a wonderful family. Despite Fleur encountering a secondary infection once over in the UK, ValGrays carried on fundraising and managed to pay for her extremely costly follow up operation which happily resulted in a beautiful and healthy Fleur.
Another award went to Damon Scott, partner of Strictly come Dancing’s Craig Revel Horwood, and his cavalier Sophie who he rescued from a boiling hot greenhouse when he found her close to death. Horrifyingly, the owner didn’t even know she had been taken for three days showing what utter cruelty she had been subjected to. Damon discovered that Sophie had a serious heart defect which he made sure was treated immediately. She has beaten all odds and survived well into her teens, which is remarkable for the breed.
Other amazing parts to the day were The SuperVet Live Tour hosted by Noel Fitzpatrick, an information talk from my friend Marc The Vet, The Raptor Show, Crocodile Joe and Rabbit jumping from Sweden. Now before anymore says anything, I used to own rabbits myself as a child and I had one who would jump over my arm non stop, so I know how much rabbits adore jumping. I watched the rabbits and they really loved what they were doing and jumped quite a considerable height. The venue was also filled with animal welfare charities promoting adoption over buying animals and the atmosphere was amazing. I could see the children really learning what responsible pet ownership was and to encounter animals so close was a joy in itself.
I enjoyed being part of such an important project which I hope will continue for many years to come. It’s so amazing to find an animal show whose priority is the connection between owner and animal.