The first thing I saw after bumping down a grass track and parking my bike was an Alaskan Klee Kai - the first example of these pocket-sized husky-a-likes I've seen in the flesh and enough to convince me that I've found my dream dog.
The scene was like a child's picture book illustration of a dog show. So many different kinds of people, so many different breeds of dog! Poodles and cockerpoos, huge Harry Potter mastiffs and neotenous little Chihuahuas, alert border collies and sleepy spaniels, more huskies than I've seen in one place outside the Arctic Circle, and a whole selection box of chocolate Labradors. I felt rather naked without a dog, and was glad Tala would be along soon to make me an owner by proxy.
I joined the queue waiting for the gates to open and unfolded my trusty camp stool. This put me at dog level, and I found that all the surrounding dogs immediately became very interested in me. A sweet tri-coloured Cavalier King Charles Spaniel rubbed her head against me - "That means she likes you!" said her owner. le_loup_peint would later say exactly the same about Tala's biting my ears. (I bit hers right back. They're so very biteable.)
When the rest of my pack arrived - Tala and her folks plus panthras - we embarked on a happy day of browsing, shopping and just admiring the steady stream of gorgeous dogs as it flowed past. We patted and stroked and asked questions and received licks and nuzzles. Tala received her fair share of adulation from other visitors, and coped with it all wonderfully.
We watched the weave pole finals, won paws down by a wild-eyed border collie as always, then two teams competing at agility and leaping through hoops of fire. I could watch this stuff all day; I just love the way the dogs fly over the jumps (one Jack Russell was leaping five or six times his own height), how much they enjoy it and how they long to please their owners. I do hope that one day I'll be in a position to have a dog of my very own, and that I'll go some small way towards deserving the unconditional adoration.
By this point it had been a long, exciting day for a young pup - and for us old dogs too. So we called it a day. Tala will no doubt be writing up her own dog's-eye-view account over at bigpupdiary...