The weekend before I went to Bulgaria my wife Simone and I were asked to be judges for the ‘novelty’ section of ‘The Gaitherin’, the annual show of the Irish Wolfhound association of Scotland in Alva , Clackmannanshire. The president of the association, Maura Lyons had contacted us after she saw photos on the FB pages of Simone’s Irish wolfhound ‘Borgumil’ who had sadly passed away a couple of years ago.
Unlike me Simone knows quite a lot about wolfhounds but we were both well out of our depth as dog show judges. Maura settled our worries as she said we would be judging the ‘hairiest legs’ and ‘dog that looked most like their owners’ categories among others.It was going to be fun!
We drove up on a dreich Sunday afternoon the weather changing for the worse as we crossed the Kincardine bridge. Amazingly the skies cleared slightly as our judging began in a small ring of the park at the Cochrane Hall.
There were quite a number of competitors there with a varied selection ob breeds. I admit to feeling under pressure especially when 5 dogs and their owners were before us and we had only 4 rosettes to give away. Our motto for the day was ‘spread the love’ and we tried to make sure that across the prizes everyone would hopefully leave with a smile and a waggy tail!
It was the first time either of us had seen an Irish wolfhound close up since ‘Borgumil’ left us and I had to swallow hard as emotions and memories caught up with me. Simone handled it really well and after a few encounters we settled into our roles as ‘novelty’ judges.
Prizes were dished out for ‘cutest puppy’, ‘waggiest tail’ and ‘Irish brace’ which was the pairing of the 2 most unlikeliest dogs together.( won by a St Bernard and a Pomeranian who were hilarious as they marched round the ring together with a struggling owner)
As you can tell it wasn’t just wolfhounds on display but also a few other breeds making up the numbers as quite a few wolfhound owners had elected to stay at home rather than risk their dogs in the excessive heat that had been prevalent in recent days.
There were elegant Scottish deer hounds, a couple of bonny corgis,sleek whippets and a gorgeous Innuit puppy in the novelty sections but our eyes were always on the Irish wolfhounds.
The rain had help up for our dog judging debut but the skies opened mid afternoon with the serious side of the competitions moving indoors to the hall. Our work was done and we had managed to return without a couple of puppies in the back of the car.
‘Dog you would most like to take home with you’ section was tense as knowledgeable smiles between the organisers who knew we were considering acquiring another dog racked up the pressure and we weren’t completely sure if it was a ‘real novelty class’. We both picked the same Irish wolfhound!
We had a marvelous day out with fantastic friendly company and made quite a few contacts for when we do decide to bring a new 4 legged friend into our home.We both hope to be back again next year. Thanks to everyone who made it a special day for us both
Thanks Sandra for the photos