Dreaming of Summer and a Dog Show Reminder

Dixie Our LurcherI’m really excited as we’ve just received our invitation to this year’s RGT Greyhound Extravaganza. As in previous years, it will be held at the Animal Health Trust in Newmarket, and is taking place on Sunday 29th May. If you’ve never been before, I can strongly recommend it, it’s one our favourite show dates. The venue is lovely and spacious with plenty of room for picnics and hound sunbathing, there are lots of nice dog show classes to enter and there is a fantastic range of stalls with lots of rescues as well as businesses. There’s usually a team from the Great British Greyhound Walk and because it’s spacious, there’s plenty of room for socialising and chatting. It’s run by a team of volunteers and they do a magnificent job every year.

We usually take a couple of the hounds – last year we took Dixie for the first time and Callie for a repeat visit. If you’re wondering whether to attend this or the Great Greyhound Gathering, I’d say the Extravaganza is perfect if your dog is not so happy with big crowds. The layout means that there is always plenty of space for walking and sitting where the Gathering can be a lot more crowded with both people and dogs. Hope we see you there!

Our own online dog show is still running at the moment. Rosettes and trophies have arrived (they are lovely – I’ve put some pics up on our Milgi Coats Facebook Page) and we’re really looking forward to judging on the weekend. We’ve already smashed last year’s total for entries with over 300 pictures and more still coming in and to be added. For the first time this year, we’ve included a class for Galgos and Podencos – we know quite a few of our customers have adopted these wonderful dogs from Spain, and many of you follow the rescues working over there such as Galgos del Sol and Carlottas Galgos. Although we’ve had a few entries, I’m sure there are lots more out there, so if you have a galgo or a pod, why not send in a couple of pics? The other nice thing is that whoever wins this class will be able to nominate a rescue to receive a donation. We also have a Voyager rosette for the entry from the furthest away, and at the moment this is Spain. I know we have lots of customers in the USA, Canada and in the Southern Hemisphere so if that’s you, why not send us a pic? As in previous years, the judging will be fuelled by lots of home made cake and we are hoping to get the results up online on Saturday night. I’ll then start posting out rosettes next week. We are also sending our winners some treats from Lincoln’s Lunchbox, a new company making lovely hand made, vegan-friendly (accredited by the Vegan Society) dog treats. You won’t be surprised to know that Andy, Sara, Callie and Dixie took their testing duties very seriously when it came to choosing a flavour – after a lot of consideration, we’ve opted for delicious Peanut Butter and Cinnamon.

As it’s a new year, we are also working on some new items for our range. We’ve just taken delivery of a new fabric which we’ll be using for bandanas in the summer (yes, it will come!) – and testers are being made up so we can photograph it. We are also testing a new fleece which I think might be a great addition to our range – again, pics will be coming along as soon as the samples are complete. Before Christmas, we introduced a new red Snowflake fleece – initially I only bought one roll of fabric to see how it went. It proved to be extremely popular, so we are now adding it permanently to our range and I’m considering the same fleece in additional colours for next winter as well. And on a day when job losses have been very much in the news, it’s nice to let you know that the continuing growth of the business has meant that the workshop has just advertised for two new apprentices who will be working exclusively on Milgi items. I can’t even begin to say how happy this makes me – it’s a great feeling knowing that our business is helping to provide training and jobs for youngsters here in the UK, when so many textile manufacturers have outsourced overseas where welfare and labour standards for workers are not to the levels we would wish for.

Lastly, I had a fabulous weekend up in Cheshire at the first training event for Sirius Team Challenge. A village hall filled with an assortment of dogs (probably about 60% pointies), a very engaging trainer, Jim Greenwood, and a big bag of sausages. Several hours later, my brain was FULL and Dixie slept practically all the way home. Dixie brought the house down during a timed Stay exercise – she was more than happy to do it, but insisted on moving sideways a bit so she could lie on her lovely comfortable dog bed for the exercise. The next training event will be in Dorset and the first competition is likely to be in Derbyshire in April. More dates and confirmations of these events to follow, but it’s so exciting to see it taking shape and showing the world that rescue dogs can really enjoy training and a wide variety of activities. On a related note, I’m also very excited that a team of ex racing greyhounds will be taking part in this year’s Obreedience Final, which is held at Crufts. Good luck to Julie and all the team, who are based at the RGT Perry Barr branch. This will be a fantastic opportunity for showcasing greyhounds to a much wider TV audience, and demonstrating that despite some of the myths, greyhounds can and do enjoy training.

Published: 18th January 2015