It's The Lady Of The House here. As Winnie told you yesterday she has graciously allowed me to use her blog to tell you about MY weekend at the Canine Freestyle GB event in Markfield, Leicestershire.
This involved two days of competitions - Heelwork To Music on the Saturday and Freestyle on the Sunday - featuring about 100 dogs in total. Some people travelled from as far away as Belgium and France to take part.
Now, before I start I have to agree with Winnie that I'm not the best photographer in the world. In the case of the Canine Freestyle event it was also made worse by the fact that these dogs don't half move fast!!
So I'll start off with one nice photo of a couple of lovely new dog friends who sat next to me in the auditorium on the Sunday. The black labrador had earlier done a lovely Freestyle routine to the song Beyond The Sea, and her whippet sister had come along to lend support. They were clearly deeply devoted to each other.
If you don't know much about Heelwork To Music and Freestyle there's some information here in a feature I did at my Lost & Fond website.
It's so much more than "doggy dancing" - the rather gimmicky nickname it is often given on TV talent shows and in British newspapers. It's just a joy and an inspiration to watch the bond between dogs of all shapes and sizes and their owners. The great thing about the weekend was that there were also dogs (and people) of all abilities too, from those with lots of experience to people just starting in the sport. Because it IS a sport - no doubt about it - which involves hours of training and practice.
Here's one young owner and her loveable crossbreed dog who won one of the Novice Freestyle classes. This enchanting pup also won his own trophy for being the crossbreed who got the highest score from the judges all weekend. His cute little face reminds me of a few of Winnie's blogger friends - any thoughts?
Ok, so now the pictures get a bit rough... but I'll add them anyway. Bear with me please.
Showing that size is no object to Freestyle, here's a Great Dane taking part.
This Chesapeake Bay Retriever did a routine to In The Army Now.
Here's a Standard Poodle taking part. There were also two adorable Toy Poodles who travelled from Belgium to take part - but the pictures of them were really too bad to post.
Border Collies always do incredibly well in Heelwork To Music and Freestyle. This routine below made me laugh as it made a feature of the more traditional job of Border Collies.
This American Cocker Spaniel did a great routine to Singing In the Rain.
This blur-like figure below is Glenalpine Katie - a very talented actress as well as a HTM/Freestyle star. On Saturday she was a close runner-up in a Heelwork To Music routine to My Guy. She's pictured putting in the winning performance in one of Sunday's Freestyle classes to Doris Day's Deadwood Stage.
Finally I was really thrilled to see Anne Shuker win a Novice Heelwork To Music class on the Saturday and do really well in Freestyle on Sunday. She taught the Boy Of The House at primary school and occasionally took her beautiful sheepdog Splash in with her. Splash was the first dog the BOTH didn't completely hate and was the turning point in him overcoming what was a paralysing fear of dogs.....so in a round-about way if it hadn't been for Splash we might never have been able to add Winnie to her family.
Here's Splash and Mrs Shuker performing a space-inspired Freestyle routine to Europe's Final Countdown Probably the worst picture of the lot - but you can see Splash jumping beautifully through a hoop.
There's no doubt that dogs and humans all had great fun.
Well, thanks for putting up with me for today. Normal service with Winnie will be resumed tomorrow.