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‘Discovering’ Canine Freestyle GB!

Photo supplied by Kath Hardman
Left to right Karen Sykes, David hardman, Kath Hardman, Linda Topliss.
The Canine Freestyle Team ready for work on the OUR DOGS stand

THE CANINE Freestyle GB group had been invited to attend Discover Dogs by Our Dogs. We agreed to help out on the stand and provide on the spot information and entertainment for the passing public and for those with a keen interest in Canine Freestyle/Heelwork to Music, writes Kath Hardman.

We arrived almost bright and early to a busy Earl’s Court. Traders were bustling around - this was one hour before the public were to be admitted and we were given time for a quick walk around the stands to see what was going to be on offer during this weekend, whilst the Our DogS Team finished preparing their most impressive stand.

Vince Hogan had allocated an entire counter to our cause. We had our own till, a section full of Canine Freestyle/Heelwork to Music products, alongside Obedience, Agility, Clicker and other training goods and materials on offer. We had a superb area where we could show what we could achieve with our dogs, which subsequently attracted visitors to the stand asking for advice or any information we could give to them. Linda Topliss with Murphy, Karen Sykes with Kes and Fly and me with my ever-faithful partner Ginnie. We could not have asked for a better start for promoting our new club “Canine Freestyle GB” along with the actual sport, which we all adore.

Although the Saturday did not seem as hectic with visitors to Discover Dogs as I had known in past years, we were still kept extremely busy answering questions relating to Canine Freestyle and the Club. We gave tips on how to train moves, how to work to music, how to choose music - in fact everyone calling at the Our DogS Stand had their questions answered. We were able to help people with training - in fact everyone calling at the Our DogS Stand had their questions answered. We were able to help people with training - showing how we had trained a particular move with our own dogs.

Our existing inaugural event - The Funday to be held on 30th December 2002 at Ryton-on-Dunsmore - created a lot of interest from those wishing to enter, to those wanting to come along and watch dogs and handlers enjoying themselves. Consequently, we are now expecting quite a number of entries and requests for spectator seats - so if you haven’t pre-booked your tickets - now is the time. (Telephone 0114-236 2637 for details).

On Saturday night we returned to our hotel very weary. Linda had noticed that Murphy wasn’t well and during the night it became evident that he was uncomfortable with a water problem. A visit to the vets at Discover Dogs proved vital and he was immediately given an anti-biotic injection and was catheterised. Home would have been the best place for Murphy - but that was a four-hour drive away - so the vet suggested that he be monitored carefully during the day and checked before leaving that night. before leaving for home, Linda took Murphy back to the vet who was quite pleased with his condition. Linda said, “It brought home the realisation that behind the scenes there was a modest, dedicated team of workers on standby for emergencies. It isn’t until you actually need help that you realise how wonderful it is to have such a well staffed, well equipped unit that are able to cove a host of emergencies to ensure your dog’s well-being for the duration of the event”.

We are all so very grateful to the behind the scenes Veterinary Centre and would like to pass our thanks to both the head Vet, Mr Trevor Turner and Heather Briggs, the vet who treated Murphy. Murphy Topliss was booked in at his own vets the next day when it was revealed he had an enlarged prostate gland and he is now receiving treatment to remedy this.

Sunday was the busiest of days - once again we were inundated with people making enquiries for Canine Freestyle and Heelwork to Music - where could they go to learn, how do they begin to teach their dogs, where could they watch this fabulous action. Once again, everyone left the Our DogS stand fully informed.

During the two days, there had been performances of Canine Freestyle/Heelwork to Music in the Main Ring, but as so many people were unaware of the timetable of events - many missed these performances. however, we did our very best to show a variety of moves and motivational training with our canine partners. I think it helped so many people to be able to see and speak to us first hand and realise that this new up and coming sport is available for everyone to have a go and enjoy learning with their dogs.

Karen Sykes with Kes and her ‘pupil’ the Scruffts Dog!

Many people came to visit us at the Our Dogs Stand - Roy Dyer and The Essex Dog Display Team who had put on a fabulous demonstration of their trained dogs each day in the Main Ring. The public adore watching this team - their precision and handling of dogs is to be admired.

Roy was very pleased to confirm that he wanted Canine Freestyle GB to organise a Canine Freestyle/Heelwork to Music Event at All About Dogs - a very large annual show which he organises so well in Brentwood - this year to be held on 10th and 11th May 2003.

This is a definite date for your diaries. We will be there holding an event over the two days and also Linda Topliss will be arranging a very Special Canine Freestyle Production depicting “The Four Seasons” which will be performed during the evening of Saturday 10th may 2003.

Canine Freestyle GB will ensure that it caters for the disabled dog owners. Several people with disabilities approached us on the stand - but Linda also made a point of making contact with many disabled people explaining to them that this was a dog sport for all to be involved.

She said that so many wanted to be an active part of their dog’s lives and became inspired as Linda showed them what they could achieve. This sport has something to offer everyone and all dogs.

Discover Dogs is a friendly show - a lot smaller than Crufts - but the aim of the whole show is to assist the general public in finding a suitable type of dog for their lifestyle - to encourage them to be responsible dog owners - and with advice available front he Kennel Club, the breeders and the people such as us - who are there to have fun with their dogs and to share their invaluable knowledge enabling any dog to have a good life.

Thank you to Our Dogs for allowing us to work with you. Thank you to all our supporters who visited the Our Dogs stand to see us - and good wishes to all those who we inspired with our ‘show’.