My hounds are just that. Hounds. I want them to get dirty and sniff and do all the things that dogs do. I don't like dogs being shampooed and coiffured, nor do I enjoy the sight of dogs having their coats trimmed and cut into bizarre shapes that we as humans some how assume they should be. I never envisaged even visiting a dog show let alone entering one. That was however, until a local charitable dog trust opened a show a stones throw from Hound Manor. Armed with me mutts we trotted off the half mile or so keen if nothing else to allow the Mont & Lewis time to associate with other growlers. I didn't wash , brush or otherwise tamper with them. Lewis very helpfully licked Monty's arse and Monty reciprocated by licking out the inside of Lewis's ears..nice. Unless you were down wind of them, they both also smelt remarkably normal.
Entering the park I was astonished at the array of mutts that befell us. Even The Hounds took a sharp intake. What struck me was the sudden feeling of unashamed snobbery that took over me. Swanning around the field I suddenly found myself 'mincing.' Mincing in a 'hold the lead up high look at my pedigree dogs type mincing way.' I started pulling loose hairs from their coats and rubbing gunge from their droopy eyes. I started wishing for eye contact from other owners in the hope that I could give the answer " Oh yes they are pedigrees you know. They are both Kennel Club registered (etc etc). "
Sadly the first few questions involved:~
Are they Beagles mate ?"
"No they are Basset Hounds."
"Are they sausage dogs mate?"
"No they are Basset Hounds"
"Are they Blood Hounds mate"
"Sigh, no they are Basset Hounds"
" Are they Dachshunds mate?"
" No they are bloody Basset Hounds.."
"When do they get taller?"
"They don't THEY ARE BASSET HOUNDS"
The show itself centred on a ring area (which was actually a square) roped off around the perimeter. Contestants and their mutts paid the requisite fee and entered the ring under an awning. Owners and pooch then walked around the outskirts of the ring parading Trixie Bell , Rover and Fido a la the great Crufts. It was a beautifully warm Summers day and the grass underfoot had browned exposing dry soil underneath. Dozens of families sat outside the ring separated from mutts simply by a single chord line. Suffice to say you could actually touch the contestants. Lewis & Monty were mesmerised by the whole showbiz thing. They actually sat quietly watching the mutts strut their stuff. This was canine X Factor.
Then I heard it " ladies & gentleman please get your dogs ready for the next round which is the group category, if you have two dogs or more please pay and enter."
I looked down at the Hounds. Not even a murmur. Shall I? Whats the worst that could happen? 1 minute later I found myself in the ring. 2.37 seconds later Monty & Lewis realised people were looking at them. As more entered the parade slowed and I found myself standing next to a lovely family. Three young girls from about 3 years to 7 years patted an played with Monty & Lewis. I also noticed a judge closing on me. It was exactly at this time that Lewis decided he would have the largest erection he had ever had. Now Lewis is the John Holmes of the dog world. Not to put to finer point on it he is a very big boy in the trouser department. This is exacerbated by the fact that his winkle is about an inch off the floor. For whatever reason Lewis was very happy about something. The jumbo Frankfurter flopped onto the brown ground collecting all manner of grass and soil deposits. Lewis smiled manically , was it the little poodle opposite ?
I noticed the three young girls were now pointing and shouting " mummy, mummy that doggys thingys is out." Mum was blushing ( Dad was was envious)...
She tried to distract them " Look girls a lovely poodle"
Me in my head " Of Christ don't tell him that "
Lewis " Pwooaar "
Me trying to diffuse situation " Why don't you play with Montys ears girls, look they are all floppy"
Monty turns to see the girls but notices his brother still 'standing proud.' Monty then begins to lick said stiffy in an apparent gesture of support to Lewis over his love for the poodle. Managing to separate them and pulling them sharply Lewis slowly began to deflate. "Thank God Lewis please calm down the judge is coming.."
I looked down at both of them. Now as I said we are not dog proud, we love our hounds but we let them be dogs. This all changes when you are about to be judged. Lewis has beautiful light brown spots around his muzzle. In the bright sunlight I noticed a dozen or more of these beautiful spots were in fact red. I then recalled tripping over the floppy mutt two or three evenings ago whilst carrying a glass of finest Shiraz. I was able to hang onto the glass but sadly not the mouthful that deposited red spots onto Lewis's muzzle. At the time we all laughed it off, I was now about to be judged.
Would he think I'm an alcy?
Would he think Lewis is an alcy?
Oh my god please don't call the RSPCA ( or 'AA' for that matter).
I now noticed that Monty had managed to drag his ear through a poo very helpfully left by another contestant (sabotage?) the judge was closing...
I had a Basset covered in red wine stains boasting a semi hard on covered in grass. He had red wine stains on his head and his brother had poo smeared on one ear. Monty had also very helpfully decided to over emphasise a birth defect he had ( Monty's tail occasionally bends in the middle, if he is walking it remains upright and erect but occasionally it droops) and was now parading with a tail held at a 90 degree angle. They looked like they had been sleeping in a pet shop doorway for a month.
The judge was a very nice chap. Stripey shirt , double cuffs and white trousers topped off with a Panam hat. " Our man in Havana " type look.
Judge " Wonderful Bassets, what are their names ?
Me " Lewis & Monty"
Judge " How old are they ?
Me " About 10 months and they...........but, but,....."
That was it. Our man in Havanna moved on.
"What happened to lifting their bum up, checking the teeth and all that Crufty type things they do ? " I thought to myself
TO BE CONTINUED..............