Great Greyhound Gathering 2015

great greyhound gatheringIt’s only a few days now to one of the biggest events in the greyhound calendar – the RGT Great Greyhound Gathering at Nottingham Racecourse. We are busy preparing and are really looking forward to seeing so many friends and giving our hounds a quick whirl in the ring.

What can you expect if you’ve never been before and are thinking about going? There is an amazing dog show with lots of specialist greyhound classes, and this year for the first time, there is even a class for greyhounds with their own social media account, which I think is a brilliant idea.

The shopping is awesome. The range of stalls is spectacular, with everything you could imagine and quite a lot you can’t for your greyhound, for you and for the most amazing gifts. I always take a list because it’s where I start to make a serious assault on my Christmas shopping, particularly for houndy friends. If you’re on Facebook there is a dedicated Facebook Group for the event where traders have lists and pictures of what they are bringing, plus money off vouchers from some stalls.

It’s also just the most amazing experience to see the entire racecourse filled, as far as the eye can see, with the most stunningly beautiful array of hounds, most in their best bib and tucker for the day. Naturally, being greyhounds, the show is lovely and quiet (no annoying yapping) and you’ll either see hounds walking, leaning or lounging elegantly when it’s time for a picnic.

This year will be one of firsts and lasts for us – Dixie, our little lurcher, will be attending for the first time along with Sara who’s a veteran greyhound, so do please come along and say "hi" to them. Our faithful green tent will sadly though be having its last outing – it’s lasted through four seasons but is now looking a bit wonky. Over the winter, we are getting a smart new gazebo for next season - more info on that when it arrives.

We’ll be bringing an extensive range of greyhound coats, including our new coral/mocha fleece coat combination, beautiful bandanas and our dog beds. If you’re feeling festive, our Father Christmas Greyhound Coats will be in stock. If you’re interested in a particular coat, let us know before the day and we can make sure we bring it for your hound to try on. There are no postage charges for any orders made on the day, and we’ll also have some lovely treats from WowDog Bakery (our new supplier) to give out to visitors to the stall (canine only!). We can take payments by good old fashioned cash, card or PayPal if you have the app on your phone.

Here are our top tips for getting the best out of the day:

  • Pre-enter for the Dog Show – this saves a lot of time and queuing on the day. We’ve done this for Dixie and Sara – one less thing to worry about on the day.
  • It’s definitely worth making a list if you have greyhound owning friends to buy Christmas gifts, cards or calendars for. As well as the traders, there is also an array of RGT branches attending with some gorgeous and very unique goodies all raising funds for the hounds in their care.
  • Money – take plenty of cash. There’s a cash machine on the racecourse, but it has run out in previous years. We are always happy to take card payments or PayPal, but many of the smaller traders and charity stands will be cash only.
  • There are lots of dog water stations around the racecourse, lots of bins, excellent loos in the Grandstand building and plentiful catering outlets and a bar. If you want to take a picnic, the green area in front of the two collecting rings is a popular spot to eat lunch and meet friends.
  • There’s usually a professional photographer – either taking pics in the ring with the option of buying prints later or you can have a portrait done with your hound in their gazebo.
  • It really is incredibly busy, especially in the area round the show rings. If your dog is reactive, or stressed in big crowds, please consider if this is the best show for them to attend. We find the Greyhound Extravaganza in Newmarket, the Perry Barr show in Solihull and the Greyhound Walks show in Essex are all equally big in terms of classes but have more space at the venues, so you don’t feel so crowded.

Even if you’re not buying anything, please do come and say "hi" – we love meeting our customers, and it’s always exciting when we get to meet a hound we’ve heard about on the phone or seen pictures of. Good luck if you are entering the dog show. See you there.

Published: 14th September 2015