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Busting Greyhound myths
Susan McKeon is a cat lover whose heart was won by a Greyhound, and she now lives with three of the breed - as well as her cat too. Susan delights in busting some of the myths that surround Greyhounds - so for example her three live in harmony with her cat, and she is doing agility with her first dog Mina. In fact it was Mina who opened the door into a whole new world for Susan, and it was for Mina that Susan set out to learn as much as she could about dogs. As a result, Susan now runs training classes for Gwen Bailey's Puppy School - Susan runs Puppy School North Lincolnshire - and she is studying a FdSc in Canine Behaviour & Training.
Barb Murfet of the Australian National Kennel Club
While at Crufts we went to the main arena to watch the finals of the Freestyle Heelwork to Music competition. Julie fell into conversation with the lady sitting next to her and it became clear that she knew a lot about the sport. It turned out she was Barb Murfet who is the chair of the Australian National Kennel Club (ANKC) Dances With Dogs committee- how lucky was that?
In this show you can hear Julie and Barb talk about the stunning routines they had been watching, about the ANKC and Barb's own dogs back in Australia.
The team of dogs and handlers helping Jenny demonstrate some heelwork to music moves included Christina Oxtoby with her Great Dane Ruach and Sarah Baker with her Pomeranian Ted. Julie spoke to both Christina and Sarah about the opportunities and challenges of working with such different sized dogs. The main message is that no dog is too small or too large to take part in the sport.
There are many great websites offering information about heelwork to music, including Paws n music and Canine Freestyle G.B. and if you'd like to know more about Ruach, the only Great Dane competing in Heelwork to Music in the UK, visit ICC Dog Training.
Michelle Dodson competes in Heelwork to Music, but she was at Crufts this year judging both that and the Freestyle finals. Julie found out just what a judge is looking for in these disciplines, including the difference between the two closely related sports, and how the choice of music can be so vital. Michelle is an instructor at the Cotswold Dog Training School where Cotswold Heelwork to Music is based.
Many charities use Crufts as an opportunity to promote their work to the public, and this year The Blue Cross animal charity was excited to reveal its relaunch with a whole new look stand, logo and new uniforms for both human and dog staff and volunteers. DogCast Radio's Julie and Buddy are Educational Visitors for the charity and spent some time on the stand during Crufts, and Julie spoke with Education Development Manager Tracy Genever to find out more about the charity's new look. To find out more visit The Blue Cross website.
Crufts is a great opportunity to encounter breeds that you don't see much of in everyday life. Harry Parsons was there to promote his Sealyham Terriers - which are classed as vulnerable in the UK with only 63 puppies being registered in 2011. Harry is passionate about the breed he loves and has the only working pack of Sealyhams in the world. Interestingly as a breeder of a numerically struggling breed, Harry has lots of praise for the genetic advice of the Kennel Club. You can learn more about Harry and his beloved dogs at the My Sealyhams website.
A special Crufts edition of Puppy Playtime hosted by Jenny features Laura Leigh who is a staunch supporter of the Nowzad charity which works hard to rescue stray and abandoned animals in Afghanistan. Sisters Emily and Louise Hinks are Young Kennel Club members, you can hear how Emily got on in the handling competition and how Louise coped with the grooming competition. Plus all three girls were performing in the Safe and Sound displays - find out what the scheme's message is.