Rainy Melbourne weather didn’t deter a large turnout to the annual Dog Lovers Show at the Exhibition Building in Carlton over the weekend. Lucky double pass winners from the Paw Friends Facebook page among them. The point of difference from most Melbourne ‘show events’, where the focus seems to be sales above everything? The presence of our four legged friends! They added a literal soft touch to the event.
The Show’s emphasis seemed less about selling and more about dog appreciation and celebration. Interspersed between stalls spruiking doggy foods, coats, toys, and pet photography deals, pooches surprised and delighted. Large malamutes, tiny Chihuahuas, bull terriers, pugs and others from breed-specific rehoming groups were available to learn about and pat. While upstairs, dog breed clubs proudly showed off staffies, golden retrievers, French bulldogs, poodles etc. I discovered the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, two-thirds the size of a golden retriever and absolutely gorgeous.
Two stages hosted information sessions about managing dog health and behaviour, while entertainment rocked the main arena. TV vet Dr Katrina Warren showcased the talents of the Wonder Dogs, a group of border collies. While Farmer Dave, of Big Brother fame, compered the main arena action, entertaining the crowd with witty commentary as dogs participated in agility, races, obedience and fun tricks. He told of how he grew up on a farm, the youngest of 11 kids, with the job of feeding all the farm dogs. Thus began his love affair. He lives on the farm still, just a mere 30 minute drive to his parents’ home - on the same property!
The focus on the hope rehabilitation offers rescue dogs, and the presence of older dogs, was well thought out and effective. Pablo, a small dog that has been rehomed four times due to aggressive behaviour, won all the races in the small dog K9 x-country event and displayed excellent manners. Finally some wins for the little guy! Another dog who originated from a puppy farm -and who had to learn to stand when rehomed due to the cramped conditions there - performed tricks on stage with finesse. And an 8 year old dog completed the agility course, proving it’s a fun activity for any dog, regardless of age. They all received great applause.
The Dog Lovers Show is for dog owners, prospective owners and also dog lovers in general. Even if you don’t or can’t own a dog, but love dogs, this show is for you. So head along next year!