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.