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The PRO Dogs Annual Lunch
Popular stakes’ finale goes out in style

Photo by David Paton
Best overall in the last ever PRO Dogs Stakes’ final was Mrs Irene Chamberlain’s Lhasa Apso Avonbourne Mandzari at Chobrang pictured with judge Dr Monica Boggia-Black

This 2004 PRO Dogs Annual Lunch was a mixture of sadness and celebration at the now totally refurbished Sandown Park Racecourse, Esher in Surrey on 12th December. The atmosphere, as always, was terrific and positive but it was the charity's last function before closing.

Many who had been coming regularly over the years will miss the day but as regular readers will know, many of the objectives set out by founder, Lesley Scott-Ordish almost thirty years ago have been achieved.

In 1976 she was a lone voice calling for those within the world of dogs to campaign against the ridiculous and uninformed media frenzy targeting dogs and dog ownership; now better funded organisations such as the kennel Club, the Pet Care Trust and Dogs Trust among others have taken the message on board, and the tide has turned.

Bill Edmond, the Executive Chairman of the Trust since Lesley's death ten years ago, welcomed supporters in the lovely rooms overlooking the racecourse at Sandown Park. He paid tribute to Lesley and the other hard working members and volunteers who have contributed so much to the success of the organisation over the years.

photo by David Paton
Bill Edmond, the Executive Chairman of the Trust welcomes Annette Crosbie to speak about the efforts being made by her own charity on behalf of retired racing greyhounds

He then handed the microphone over to David Cavill, one of the Trustees of the charity, who explained the way in which the funds accumulated by PRO-Dogs would be transferred to the Kennel Club Charitable Trust so that its work would be continued. He then welcomed Annette Crosbie who brought those present up to date with the latest information about the efforts being made by her own charity on behind of retired racing greyhounds. There is clearly a great deal to do to persuade those responsible for the greyhound racing industry to put their house in order. The current abuses must not be allowed to continue.

photo by David Paton
Trustee David Cavill takes the microphone to explain the way in which the funds
accumulated by PRO-Dogs will be transferred to the Kennel Club Charitable Trust
so that its work will be continued

David later paid special tribute to Bill Edmond who has done so much for the organisation since Lesley died. Ronnie Irving, Chairman of the Kennel Club, then said a few words, assuring everyone that PRO-Dogs funds would be in safe hands and that they would be dedicated to the continuation and extension of the successful 'Educators' programme.

Mr Ronnie Irving, Chairman of the Kennel Club

Then Richard Curtis took the floor and entertained everyone with a fascinating insight into the way he trains his dogs to work with in performing heelwork to music. With eight year old Margaret Cook, the daughter of the PRO-Dogs' auditor, he quickly had them working together in a heart-warming display.

Later he returned with a full scale performance of ‘Raindrops are Falling on my Head’. After a delicious lunch (wines courtsey of Bablake Wines) Bernard Hall kept the proceedings flowing smoothly and introduced this year's PRO-Dogs Obedience Competition winners, Mrs M Prentice’s Tri-clans Magical Addition and the runner-up, Mrs L Tozer's Ob Ch Malulani Jazzy Pop who all demonstrated their expertise with great aplomb.

Finally, before tea, Monica Boggia-Black took to the floor for the PRO Dog of the Year Stakes’ Final. Butcher’s Pet Care sponsored the competition again this year and Bannerdown kindly supplied the benching. The venue is excellent in that there was plenty of room.

From the ring side the overall quality appeared very good and included several Champions as well as last year's winner of this event. Monica pulled out Mrs Eardley's Borzoi, Ricanova Pickettywych, Mrs Chamberlain's Avonbourne Mandzari at Chobrang, Mr and Mrs Allen's Rottweiler, Jodipas Manhattan island, Mrs Ergis's and Mrs Manley's Bronia Stunning Sophia for Siouxline, Mrs Davidson-Poston's Ir Ch Ibstock Bright Spark for Spinillons and Mrs Crawford's Ch Landslip High Society at Jorazan. Mrs Irene Chamberlain has almost never missed this event, winning through to the final consistently virtually every year. This year - on her 81st birthday - she took the top spot with Avonbourne Mandzari at Chobrang. Reserve was the Borzoi, Ricanova Pickettywych.

As always, it was a superb day and Mike Findlay, and their team with voluntary help from Bernard Hall, Trevor Turner, David Paton and many others must be congratulated on a very smooth running and enjoyable event.