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The wonder of Wiccaweys
The Annual Wiccaweys Rescued Border Collies and Working Sheepdogs show

THEY SAY that the sun shines on the righteous, and it certainly shone good and warm on the second annual Wiccaweys show, held at Welton, Northants last Sunday.

It’s been a fraught year for Wiccaweys, what with the lease on their original farm site expiring at short notice in February, leading to a search for suitable new premises. Thankfully, these were found almost at the last moment and since then, co-founders Sarah Carey and her partner Paul Gill, together with their small army of volunteers and supporters have been carrying on the great work of Wiccaweys.

As usual, most of the dogs into Wiccaweys are Collies, and many of these hail from Ireland, although other dogs of breeds also find their way to salvation – including ‘Daisy’, a Bloodhound whose thoughtless owners intended to sell her on e-bay last Christmas in order to get money to buy Christmas presents! Daisy is now a permanent fixture at the rescue and who thoroughly enjoyed the show.

Well over 70 dogs and their owners attended the event, whereby there was a fantastic choice of things to see and do; charity stands, trade stands, superb refreshments (the barbecue is something else!) and events such as Agility, Flyball, Obedience and some more light-hearted pursuits such as the Tennis ball and Spoon race, Musical mats and the Sausage Eating Contest. (I was disappointed that this latter event was only open to dogs!) One of the most emotional events is the parade of Wiccaweys rescued dogs in the main ring. It was so heartening to see so many dogs, many of which have faced great adversity, not to mention physical and mental cruelty, to be there with their new, loving owners and so clearly enjoying life.

Supporters, businesses and dog clubs alike had donated lots of prizes in many forms. OUR DOGS newspaper has been a friend to Wiccaweys (and vice versa!) and donated several books, annuals, diaries and newspapers as prizes for the various events.

As for us, we had a real blast when we co-judged the Dog Show. There were fifteen classes, not counting Best In Show, including Waggiest Tail, Snoggiest Dog, Child and Dog Combo, Rescued Dog and Rescued Bitch, Best Trick and Fancy Dress. What a wonderful way to spend an afternoon – you get to meet lots of lovely dogs and their brilliant owners, get lots of licks and cuddles and top up a belated sun tan!

Our choice for Overall Best In Show was difficult, given that there were so many amazing dogs to choose from. But for us, one amazing rescued Collie stood out: ‘Evan Bevan’, owned by Bridgette Jamieson. Four-year-old Evan came to Wiccaweys from Ireland a year ago and was literally scared of his own shadow, as he had been so abused. He spent several weeks under the furniture before he grew to trust Sarah and Paul and other dogs. He eventually emerged from his hidey hole and faced the world. In may he was deemed confident enough to be rehomed to Bridgette who has gone on to work her wonders with him in turn. Just 12 short months ago, Evan couldn’t have stood in an open field, let alone one full of dogs and people, yet here he was, bold as brass and showing what a terrific dog he is.

And let’s face it; Sarah, Paul, Bridgette and all the Wiccaweys team are pretty terrific too. It’s an honour to help them in even a small way. The pleasure was all ours!

See Nick Mays photo special from Wiccaweys