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Dogs All Over My Face

When elfasi asked if I fancied going to Discover Dogs on Saturday, I jumped at the opportunity. I knew I'd been before; when I checked LJ, I was startled to realise it was ten years ago. (Clothesvember fans, I have a feeling I wore the same top on that occasion as on this: an orange one from Gap Kids with a husky and the slogan 'Cycle Racing Team'.)

I parked my bike in the Red Car Park, held the door for a couple struggling to manage four pointers and a small child, and queued in the rain for the ten o'clock kickoff. Once the doors opened things moved quickly: I got in soon after ten and was having my face licked by an Eskimo Dog five minutes later.

Discover Dogs is lines and lines of stands, each containing examples of a dog breed along with their owners. Strokes and cuddles are encouraged; hand sanitiser is readily available (a change from my last visit). I gained a fair amount of dog breed knowledge at that childhood stage when absorbing facts comes easily (I should probably have been learning something more useful, but how was I to know it wouldn't always be like that?), yet I encountered plenty of dogs new to me, like the large and splendid Tibetan Mastiff. So I really did Discover Dogs!

The best breed ambassador in my opinion was a Finnish Spitz named Cherish, who sat and grinned while I rubbed her behind the ear. I also spent a lot of time with the Shiba Inus, a long-time favourite. If I ever get a dog of my own it will probably not be a husky, because they're mental, but something small and pointy in the spitz family. (My ideal dog would be approximately cat-sized, for ease of portability and to look cute next to any cats I might also have.)

We watched some flyball in the arena, followed by what turned out to be my favourite thing of the day: dancing with dogs, starring a tiny Chihuahua cross and her human. elfasi informed me that he was Richard Curtis (not that one), a leading light in the field of heelwork to music. Here is his website, and here is his Chihuahua. Most adorable dance routine ever!

Walking back to the car park, I saw one of the Leonbergers earning its keep by pulling its owners' possessions in a cart. I filtered home past cars with number plates ending in DOG and K9.

It was lovely to see elfasi again, and to meet some other furries, some of whom I knew online while others were entirely new to me.

Here are some Norwegian Buhunds watching their owner shake the treat jar.

Norwegian Dogs
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The best breed ambassador in my opinion was a Finnish Spitz named Cherish, who sat and grinned while I rubbed her behind the ear. I also spent a lot of time with the Shiba Inus, a long-time favourite. If I ever get a dog of my own it will probably not be a husky, because they're mental, but something small and pointy in the spitz family.

*chuckles* Small and pointy... but yes, I agree; I think a husky would be at least two or three handfuls too much for me (and I'd not enjoy having as much as I could and should as a result), but I love other kinds of spitz dogs.

Cherish sounds like a lovely dog. I'm pretty partial to Icelandic sheepdogs, too; not just because they're Icelandic, but also because I've met two and found them among the most lovely, friendly, gentle, curious and well-adjusted dogs I've ever seen in my life. (Granted, they lived on two neighboring farms in southern Iceland, in the countryside and away from the big city — this may have played a role, too.)

Here are some Norwegian Buhunds watching their owner shake the treat jar.

Hahawwww, aren't they the cutest little fuzzballs ever. :)
Ooh, I like the look of the Icelandic sheepdog!

The Buhunds' owner expressed amazement that they were still eating, having been at it all day :)
They're lovely, aren't they? :)

The farm I visited had one, and he had a "girlfriend" on the neighboring farm, too. One of my hosts and me climbed up part of the cliff behind the farm, and the dogs both came along and climbed with us.

They were quite independent, not always being right where we are and following us at all times; they found their own way up, but at the same time, they also accompanied us and didn't just wander off to do their own thing. Quite the opposite — they were coming along because they enjoyed being close to humans, and I was later told that they usually came along whenever anyone went out to do anything. *s*

They were also more than happy to sit up there with us and get petted — even by me, despite not knowing me at all. They'd probably not make good watchdogs, seeing as how they were completely trusting and relaxed, but as family dogs, they were perfect.

And they seemed quite intelligent, especially when climbing up: finding their way, checking to see where it was safe to go, finding alternate routes when they couldn't continue somewhere, and so on.

If I wasn't concerned about whether I'd always be able to take proper care of a dog (not just now, but for the next 12 or 15 years), especially one with herding instincts, I'd get one. :)

The Buhunds' owner expressed amazement that they were still eating, having been at it all day :)

Heh!

Well, it's sometimes said that humans have dessert stomachs they can activate after dinner, so I'd not be surprised if dogs had treat stomachs just for that purpose, too. ;)

Edited at 2012-11-13 01:08 pm (UTC)
Nice - almost catlike independence, there!
Doggies!
Darling ones! (With red-eye.)
It was very lovely having you along for the day. Indeed it's the most time we've spent hanging out together, ever, and reminded me we really should do more of it. You have to meet my dogs! :D

(Are you tempted to come to Crufts yet? :D )
Yes yes and yes! :D (I've been to Crufts once - it's a long and tiring day, but fun.)
Oh, now that is rather spiffy! Sounds much more fun than more traditional big name dog shows.

Per Wiki entry:
In Mandarin Chinese, the name is '藏獒' (Zang'Ao), which literally means Tibetan Mastiff or Tibetan "big ferocious dog".

Usually, Chinese has these wonderful ways with phrasing - here, rather wonderfully direct. =:)

Wow. Not sure I've ever seen a Leonberger in person - indeed, I'm not sure I've seen them before! Quite an imposing sort, but probably utter softies. ^_^

(Hmm. I wonder what notable rabbit shows there are.. =:)
I caught a lengthy segment on kids' early morning telly about rabbit shows while I was unemployed!

The 'big ferocious dog' almost knocked me over in an attempt to snuggle into my armpit :)