Barbet News (page 88)
Barbet Funday 2018. (Vers 1)
Saturday 30th June dawned hot and sunny - much the same weather as it had been for the last few weeks - for we were in the middle of a heatwave. The date though was significant, as it was the Barbet G.B. Club's Party/Fun Day, hosted by Julie and Richard McDougal, at their home in North Dorset.
I had been looking forward to the day, and for the chance to see lots (hopefully) of barbets, take photos of them, and at the same time get to know their owners a little better.
As a fairly new member of only 18 months, I had never been to Julie and Richard's home before, but managed to find it without too much trouble. A bit of a giveaway, but a good idea, was the Club's banner emblazoned on the gated entrance to the paddock. Richard was welcoming guests as they arrived and directing them to a parking space. Once out of my van, he pointed to the outbuilding where Julie would probably be to greet and offer guests drinks and biscuits. I thanked him and headed over there when I was intercepted by Graham Peacock who greeted me with a friendly embrace, Melanie saw me and similarly greeted me, closely followed by Wendy (Preston) who was pleased to see I'd made it.
Open Female Class.
On offer were various drinks, biscuits and cakes, and from a large fridge, bottles of ice cold water. Julie, while handing me a drink, introduced me to Carolyn Fry (Bedeslea), who was to be our judge for the day. Carolyn would be holding two 30 minute sessions, giving advice on gundog training, and later on, in the show ring, demonstrate how best to present a barbet for show, Julie would be assisting by using Bonnie and Hector as the stooges! After judging the main show (Barbets only), of 2 classes - bitches, dogs and finally Best in Show, Carolyn would finish by judging the novelty classes.
Everything was extremely organised, and well laid out. The Show ring had been cordoned off, and with plenty of seating and gazebos to lend shade from the sun, we were well provided for. For the four-pawed, drinking bowls filled with refreshing cold water, were scattered around at various points. A table for the raffle was set up under the shade and as people arrived, it soon filled up with an impressive array of prizes. Also outside were two barbeques being prepared for readiness to cook the hot dogs and burgers. In the paddock itself, was another gazebo with seating, and an agility course, which Melanie Peacock presided over, recording each dog's performance, in order to judge the fastest, and most accurate round, though it was more for the dogs' enjoyment, than a serious competition. Rosettes and goody bags for the best rounds would be awarded. A hosepipe provided a cooling shower of water for hot dogs, together with two paddling pools.
I was hoping Kathie Gregory would turn up, bringing with her, some copies of her newly published book, "A puppy called Wolfie", as when I get my barbet pup, I was hoping to use it in conjunction with other training. I was pleased when she arrived, complete with several copies, one of which she placed on the raffle table as a prize. Kathie was also organising the raffle, and I think she said I was the last person she approached, adding no one was allowed to get away without buying tickets! The day raffle was to be the start of what would be an ongoing campaign, to raise money for welfare, which will, sooner or later, be needed as the breed becomes better known. I said I intended to buy a copy of said book, but would wait until the raffle was drawn, just in case I was lucky enough to win it. Anyway, I must have had a premonition, as one of my tickets was drawn near the start, and I bagged the book as my prize. I later apologised to Kathie, as by me winning the book, she had lost a sale.
Lunchtime came and Richard, who was head chef for the day, ably assisted by Julian, Wendy's other half, provided us with food cooked to perfection.(What is it about men and barbeques?) There was more than enough to eat, and because no one likes to see food go to waste, Richard politely walked round informing people to please go for second helpings. Julie was mostly in charge of the day's proceedings, with Richard, I thought, preferring to work away quietly in the background.
A group photo was scheduled to take place, but either I missed it, or it didn't happen.
Toward the end of the day, Wendy was going to give a short talk about grooming a barbet, together with a practical demonstration with the owner's dog.
I missed a certain amount of what was going on, because my mind was on taking photos, and pestering people with requests for info on the breeding, etc. of their barbets, (sorry about that fellow members, but thanks for being happy to answer my questions and allowing me to photograph your dogs). I don't have any info on results for the day, this being my personal impression of the day - that will have to come from someone else. Having said that, I did witness young Rockford Edwards, win (I think) the Best Trick class with a lovely paw shake from his barbet.
Whilst I was going around talking with people about their dogs, I also spoke with Sonia (correct spelling?) Hillier (Charson), who owns several briards, and a championship judge, of briards. I have a friend who has owned a couple of them and wondered if they knew of each other. I think she said she was seriously interested in getting a barbet, and considering whether or not, adding one to her family would be a good idea. Just before the day ended, I finished up by speaking with Carolyn, who told me she had been involved with gundog breeds most of her life, is a championship judge of several breeds from the gundog group, and very excited that the barbet was now an officially KC recognised breed. She had been really looking forward to today for having the opportunity 'go over' lots of Barbets, and intends working toward becoming a specialist judge of them.
All too soon, it was time to think about leaving Julie and Richard in peace and returning home. The day finished a bit earlier than advertised mainly due, I think to the heat, but in spite of that, all present, dogs and humans alike, had enjoyed the day, and been on their best behaviour - dogs, not humans!
To conclude, I was reliably informed that 23 humans had attended, (not counting judges) together with 13 barbets, and a handful of other dogs, one of which was a cute 4 month old lab puppy named "Asher". It was clear that Julie and Richard had put in a lot of money, time and planning, and had worked really hard to provide us with an entertaining and informative day, in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. It must have been disappointing for Julie and Richard when they received 8 dog cancellations at the last minute - although one was due to illness. So thank-you from me, and, I'm sure everyone else who went along!