Allen and Endal pictured with TV presenter Shauna Lowry in the main ring at this year’s Crufts
CRUFTS 2006 turned out to be a five-day marathon for Gulf war veteran Allen Parton and his faithful hound, Endal. From the very moment Endal and Allen arrived on the Wednesday afternoon to help set up the Canine Partners charity stand they remained constantly on the go.
The first two days the inimitable duo where being followed by a film crew who recorded their every move, during which they not only manned the Canine Partners stand but also launched National Pet Week, promoted Dog Theft Action, giving interviews and making various guest appearances throughout the show (It is even rumoured that Allen dropped a £2000 sound microphone down the loo, although he is remaining uncharacteristically tight-lipped about this).
With his usual boundless energy, Endal greeted all those he met, young and old, with a wag of his otter-like tail and treated everyone like a long lost friend. "Exactly where Endal gets his endless energy from really is an unknown quantity," said Allen, "but Crufts brings out that something special in Endal and he just shines".
The loyal Lab is now recognised from people from all around the globe and was constantly being asked to have his picture taken with his many fans, whose Crufts just would not be complete without meeting Endal. In every picture Endal is at his best and he truly is becoming quite a phenomenon in the canine world. "I sometimes get a cameo appearance in the pictures too" smiles Allen, "But the real pleasure is in seeing so many people happy with the big guy - that is so heart-warming"
Allen continues: "At the end of each day we returned to our hotel room and collapsed on to our beds, feeling an honest tiredness..This year was our ninth Crufts and each year it just seems to get better and better."
Having just completed their five days the pair are back at home and catching up on emails and telephone messages. "I once boasted that Endal always promises to respond to every email and letter we receive," said Allen. "Because of my head injury I lost the ability to read and write in 1991 but thanks to Bill Gates’ spell check facility, Endal and I blag our way through the replies!
"We were immensely touched and truly humbled to have received some emails from the folk we have met at Crufts waiting in the inbox. I am often heard to say this but to wake up out of a five-year haze and find my self with Endal at my side, my loving family at my shoulder and all in a world full of doggie lovers...well life doesn't get any better than this!"
Last month it was reported that Endal had been very ill but Allen is pleased to reassure everyone that he is very much back to his normal annoying and naughty self – Endal that is.
So what of Crufts next year? "Well," says Allen, "We’ve booked our hotel room already and wouldn't it just be so amazing that Endal and I together attend Crufts for the tenth time… I’m sure that could set a new record? I guess thought that it would be a very emotional home coming and quite an achievement for us two old veterans. As much as Endal has become the peoples’ dog, I guess that Crufts is in our blood too and it really is without doubt the best dog show in the world!"
Endal, as usual, keeps his quiet counsel, but the grin on his face says it all!