As it's been a couple of weeks again since I last blogged, I'll start with most recent events and work backwards.
Last Saturday alarm call at 5am. The hounds were none too impressed at having their breakfast an hour earlier than normal, but we had to set off to the ExCel for Discover Dogs. Leave home at 6.45am still in pitch black didn't hear a peep from the back and in fact wondered at one point if we did actually put the hounds in or were they still waiting on the drive? We arrive at the ExCel around 8.20am and the car park is a mass of vans and cars decorated in varying degrees of paw prints and kitted out for canines. There is a small grass area in front of the main building on your way in that is commonly known as "The Toilet". If for any reason you couldn't get a ticket into Discover Dogs, you could just have your own Discover Dogs on this grass area as there are normally always at least a dozen different breeds using the facilities!
Our stand was in prime position, on the corner of a main thoroughfare and dead opposite one of the main arenas. Although later on we discovered that there were a couple of drawbacks to this position. Firstly, the noise from the speakers all day took their toll and we all had banging headaches by the end of the day. It didn't seem to affect the dogs at all and in fact we actually did wonder afterwards if our headaches were more likely the result of not eating or drinking anything for at least 6 hours straight! Secondly, when there was a demo on in the arena, hoards of people flocked around the edges which wasn't a problem but, when whatever was on finished, they dispersed to the nearest dog booths, ours being one of them.
Of course the hounds absolutely lapped up all the attention and fuss they got from when the doors opened at 10am right up until the last of the visitors at around 5.15pm. I am always amazed at just how much fuss, attention and photographs they must have got throughout the day. I have to be honest, they seem to cope with it far better than we do. We came away with very sore throats and even though as most of you know, I'm a talker, I was extremely tired of talking! Although probably because I spent the day giving the same answers to the same questions! The favourite question was "are these dogs stupid"? I mean I can only assume this is because they look dumb? The answer was of course, no they are far from stupid. In fact we always said that our Buddy-Love's problem as a puppy was frustration because he was just too clever for his own good! The other fairly amusing question was "do they shed much?".........erm........take a look at the floor! We could have made another three Basset Hounds from the residual fur lying around. At one point, one of the staff at the venue came over and asked me if we had called for a cleaner. I replied no but actually looking at the tumbleweeds of fur flying around, we probably could have done with a good hoovering! A picture of Peach was found by a friend of mine on Instagram, posted by some random person with the title "Basset with a bandana". Yes Peach.......what happened to that bandana? (She lost it on the way from the venue back to the car park!). We had little Ruby who is a 10 month old puppy Basset join us on the stand, and of course I enjoyed looking after her. She did however get tired quickly but was also anxious to reunite with her brother and sister who were on the next stand (Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen).
The comments are always the same for the Bassets; "oh they're much bigger than I thought" (hence the title of this blog!); "You don't see many of these around anymore"; "my (insert distant relative/neighbour/friend here) used to have one of these dogs"; "are they all related?"; "are they all yours?"; "are you a Breeder?"; "do they need much exercise?"; "do they howl?" etc, etc, etc. If I'm honest, I probably put a lot of people off from having a Basset as I diplomatically explained that they're not an easy dog to have. I've said it so many times before but with Bassets, unless you've had one you won't understand, but the rule books and any normal training methods designed for all other dogs do not apply to Bassets. They're a strong willed, slightly stubborn, heavy, clumsy and totally lovable dog. Also, if you think you're going to get away with having one of these dogs without having to take it for a walk every day, think again. They may not be the fastest walkers and won't win prizes for agility, but they are built for endurance and will love a good walk at least once a day. Anyway, we have done our bit for the breed we love once again...............until next year!
Rewind to the previous Sunday and I spent the morning grooming and walking donkeys for a change instead of dogs. This was a birthday gift for my mum from my sister after we found out about it at the Findon Sheep Fair last month. So me, my mum, my sister and my niece headed off to Storrington for the morning. My niece is massively into anything horse or pony related. I've never been into horses at all, but there's something about a donkey. So we set to work on the grooming. My niece was straight in with the hoof pick and all the grooming brushes because of her vast equine experience despite her young years. For me, it was just nice to have something that large that actually stood still while I brushed it! After some preening, we set off into the woods. I have to say, walking a donkey on a lead was a lot easier than some of the dogs I have to look after! Having said that, you do still need to be fairly firm with them as we discovered when we were trying to prevent them from eating the fallen acorns or going off in the other direction. There was one boy called Darren who was much feistier than the others and certainly had other ideas of how he would like to be spending his Sunday morning! We all enjoyed it thoroughly and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is an animal lover.
Back to reality and grooming has been as busy as ever and as I've mentioned before in my previous blogs, appointments between now and Christmas are extremely rare. I am also worryingly still seeing the odd dog that has unwanted visitors. I would urge you to continue treating your dogs for fleas throughout the Autumn/Winter months. We are not having the cold Winters that we once had and we also seem to be blighted by somewhat of a Superflea that is resilient to treatments that have previously worked in the past. I would also remind you that if you find fleas on your dog, you need to treat your home (especially the areas where the dog sleeps), your car and any other pets. Fleas cause me an awful great deal of time and expense as I have to treat everywhere that the dog has been to avoid cross-contamination (so my van, my home plus my own 3 dogs and any soft furnishings and clothing that it has come into contact with). Keep an eye out for the pesky little blighters! The old saying of prevention is better than cure is never more the case than with fleas as dealing with an infestation on either your dog or your home is a lot of pain.
Being half term, we are missing a few of our regular walkers this week but we do now have Polly the Wheaten joining us two days a week for the next couple of months, much to the delight of Doug, Peach and Daisy who enjoy chasing around after her!
This weekend I'm taking the hounds to a Howl-o-ween party in Hove on Saturday. I'm led to believe they will be attempting a Guinness World Record attempt.....the most dogs wearing a bandana at once! Yes, Peach - where is that bandana? So if she can manage not to lose it on the way there, we will hope to be part of this record.
Remember the clocks go back this weekend and there are now a lot of fireworks going off so keep your pets in and safe at night. Enjoy your weekend with your furries. I'm hoping my hounds appreciate the clock change and do not wake me at 5am instead of 6am otherwise I shall be spending my Sunday snoozing like a hound!
Much love........Sally xx