Last updated
11:40 Monday 24/08/09

Sunday 23nd August

        The last day. Only the large finals on. No one from our party with a large dog made it this year. Although Louise and Vinny must have been close.

        So we packed up with a slightly heavy heart. We all had a great time, and I think we all agreed it was the best Dogs In Need we had done. Some of us did better than others. See photo of Glenn's trophy hall, Louise came a close second, Rachel third with Adrian bringing up the rear but having a great time anyway.

       It was another gloriously sunny day, so we all packed up in the dry which made things easier.

Saturday 22nd August

        Well of course we did crash and burn in the quiz last night. We did miss Neil & Brenda partly due to our non expertise in the geography questions but also as there were less people to tell Adrian he was talking rubbish!

          We didn't strut our funky stuff. I think most of our funky stuff was a bit too knackered for strutting, We did enjoy the Jackson's tribute. Not sure it was exactly PC, but was good fun and people had gone to a lot of effort.

        Louise and Glenn were ring party on ring 10 today (see photo). They have picked up lots of tips and Sergeant Major Glenn my be getting us all to do lots of strange exercise next time he is taking the class. They still managed to get several clear rounds, I think we will alll be volunteering to help again next year as it was well organised.

       Sorry to Eileen for not getting photos of Karl in his cycling kit. Also congratulations to her and Molly for getting into grade 3.

      Rachel and Yeshe did probably their best round all week in the grade 7 medium agility in the main ring. It was clear but with 14 time faults. But pretty good for a ten year old Tibetan Terrier.

      In the evening we had another good meal (and beer) out at the Thresher (a Hungry Horse Inn). But to salve our conscience we did walk there and back.

Friday 21st August

        A good day for Glenn, he was in the Small Championship Class with Mutley. This is basically the highest level of competition held. It consists of three rounds, a jumping round, an agility round and a final. If you are eliminated in either or the first two rounds, you can't go through to the final, and even if you aren't eliminated only the top few dogs go through. In this class you are up against some of the best handlers in the UK. For example Dawn Weaver (that really is her name and not a nickname based on when she does her weave training). She has won virtually everything there is to win, with all of her dogs! If she were a footballer she would be Pelé (although shorter, lighter, coming more from Essex than Brazil, having one more X chromosome, with longer, blonder hair, in fact actually they aren't that similar at all, but you get the point).

      Anyway back to the plot, Glen's jumping round was pretty good. His agility round was very good, No jumping faults but 3 time faults, i.e. 3 seconds over the 40 second course time. This is pretty spectacular for a 10 year old dog (one of the oldest in the class).

     He wasn't eliminated in either round, so had he made the final?...

     Back to the real action, The ABC (any breed but Collie) ring, where both Louise and Glenn were running, Louise with Ferris and Vinny and Glenn with Leo. Glenn went clear with Leo and due to his muscling in front of Louise in the queue also got the First Clear Round Rosette, Louise went clear with Vinny, Ferris was just outside the time.

     Rachel had another lazy day, brought on by the fact that Cha Cha is pregnant Khizhi is in season and hence not here and Yeshe is crap! So she didn't run a dog all day. She did however cheer and take photos! (Only joking about Yeshe, considering his age and eye sight, he does pretty well).

    Adrian ran (if that's the right word) Kokya in Grade 6 Agility. Kokya demolished the first jump, a spread, then did the rest O. K. but at a new (low) speed record for Dogs In Need and somewhat astray of the 40 second course time. He finally got to the last fence and Adrian turned him too sharply into it so he trotted under the jump, and hence got a refusal. Adrian reached out and stoked him forgetting it was a refusal and he hadn't actually finished, then remembered himself and shouted out an apology. The scrimmer (the illegitimate child or a timer and a scribe, i.e. the person who notes down the time and the judges marks) said very dryly, "Don't worry, I think you had time faults anyway." Ho Ho. The assembled crowd were far more sympatric and if collective will power worked, Kokya would have no problems with the jumps.

     Then on to ring 7 for Adrian to walk the Grade 3 Jumping course so he could exhibit the finer features of his Cockle (will I ever tire of the innuendos?) But hark, what sound from the Tannoy? "Glenn Smart and Mutley Russel, first to run in the Small Championship final" Horrah! So off to the main ring to cheer, will on, etc.

     Glenn was first to run, without the luxury of a white dog to spot any traps. Mutley flew fast and true, clear round with a pretty fast time for a dog of his years, just a few seconds over the course time. This meant that he would beat anyone with one or more fences down. But there were lots of clear rounds so in the end he wasn't placed (which was only down to third), he probably beat half the other dogs in the final (about 15 in total). and earned the best rosette of the week, a final qualifier (see photo).

     So a great day, not exactly rounded off nicely by by Adrian shoving his Cockle over the first fence, and then having her run off!

     Finally we could resist the exotic pull of Whispers Night Club no longer, and have entered the "Woofters" in the quiz (minus Neil & Brenda, we may be a bit stuck on geography without them. They have the advantage of knowing most geography questions, as they have usually been there!).

    Will we stay on after for the Disco and Michael Jackson tribute? Will we actually strut our stuff (or something more modern)? You'll just have to tune in tomorrow.

Thursday 20th August

        Today was a finals day. So we all had a restful day... except Glenn and Mutley who was the white dog in the grade 6 & 7 Gensis Final held in the main ring (see photo). What I hear you ask is a white dog? (I have very good hearing). A white dog is a dog who hasn't quite made the final, and runs before the other dogs, but their run doesn't count. The idea is that all the other competitors get to see a dog run before their rounds. That way there is less of a disadvantage to going first.

      Mutley's round was pretty good, he got 5 faults for a refusal at the weave, but he was pretty quick. White dogs are not timed.

      This evening we had a barbeque, which got a bit interesting on the flames front at one point (see photo).

      Glenn says a big ha ha ha to you guys back at home in the rain. "It's like Spain here" says Glenn, I am not sure he's been to Spain much though!

     Louise says Melvyn hasn't peed inside the caravan yet, which is as good as a clear round. I bet she won't be saying that next year!

      A note to Eileen, we did see Karl in his full Lycra cycling gear. Sorry no photo it's not that sort or Web site!

      Hello to Crawford and Smeegle if they are reading this.

    Tomorrow it's back to the grind with competitions again.

Wednesday 19th August

        Adrian started the day well by taking a shower in the Women's showers. A lady alerted him to this with a yell of "Do they allow men in the women's showers?". At this point Adrian was already clean in body (if not mind).

       Anyway on to much better things. Glenn and Louise, first got clear round rosettes in the pairs competition with Leo and Ferris. Louise insisting that it wasn't a very good round from Ferris. It was very hot. Only later to be grabbed by the judge informing them that he had just called their names at the prize presentation. He then presented them with their 5th place rosettes so well done to them. Perhaps they should attend more presentations in future.

     Adrian was helping today and was on the ring party for the Juniors ring. He had a good time and didn't make too many children cry! He only had to work for half a day as the ring does not have that many competitors. So he felt a bit guilty at a free breakfast, free lunch and a tee shirt, all for half a days enjoyable work! Louise and Glenn are helpers on Saturday so perhaps they will do a full days work!

     Adrian did also get the chance to run Kokya in one run in the grade 6 Agility. He got the sympathy vote with several spectators commenting that it was a shame he was in large. He got round a fairly tricky course with just one fence down. Basically Adrian has retired him and just gives him one run a day to keep him in the sport he so loves!

     Hello to Lisa and Diane who are reading the blog and looking at the photos (Lisa emailed us on They are now the proud owners of a proper set of weaves in very fetching blue and white.

     Both Glenn with Mutley and Rachel with Yeshe were in the big ring, ring 1 in the grade 7 small and medium competitions respectively. Glenn had a pretty good round quick and accurate (see photo), but was a bit miffed that the judge had given him a refusal for a very minor hesitation in front of a jump. Such is the standard here. Glenn was feeling a bit sorry for himself, with the statement, "This is Mutley's first rosette free day". Needless to say he didn't receive much sympathy!

     Rachel didn't do so well with Yeshe as he took the second fence the wrong way so she pulled him. This was a shame as he seemed up for a good run despite the heat. He had been wearing his super duper new stay cool jacket, which is made from synthetic chamois leather that you put under the tap and seems to stay very cool.

    We are off to the My Bush Inn tonight, for some real ale and good food. By the way you can track our movements by going to if you really don't have a life!

    Forgot to say, if you really don;t have a life, you may just catch us on MSN (Live) Messenger add as a contact, or on Skype, add adrian_somerville and give us a shout.

Tuesday 18th August

        First day of competition at DIN. Oh Joy, The freshness of the grass, the electricity in the air (and the cables), even pee alley still smells fragrant. I gather Lisa is has now got the Web site, I should have made it clear that we have two, this one and the previous International Agility Festival Web

    A good day for the Smart Pack, Louise got a clear round rosette in ABC Agility under John Leslie. Glenn got two clear round rosettes with Mutley, including one under Ronnie McAlleese. His other clear was in the campest ring of all time (see photo) and the rosette was also in a similar vein (see photo)

   Cockle did the fastest round in Dogs In Need history. She jumped the first fence, then straight out via the final lyre. All Adrian now has to sort out is the bit in the middle!

    Several dogs had dog massages by Bev at Yeshe Certainly enjoyed (see photo) it and Glenn is convinced that Mutley does much better once he as been rubbed up!

Monday 17th August

    The Smart Pack with their usual efficiency got away from The Agility Festival at about 8:30am. The 59Plus team only managing it by about 10:00am. Anyway we cut our way through the hoards of other doggy caravans over the fens ("very flat Suffolk" to misquote one of Noels).

    With anticipation building as we lined up in the four lane caravan super highway that is the queue to be escorted to your designated campsite. This is achieved by two youngsters on bikes pedaling furiously in front as they weave you in and out of various caravan, dog and fairy light array targets.

    We finally ended up here.

    Adrian visited the legendary night club that is Whispers, already. Not for the youngsters disco, but for a meeting called to discuss the 25 - 14 day rule. This is proving very impractical for the larger shows. Adrian represented NI just to show we do care what happens"over the water". Any one interested can contact him and he will let you know what was said. Although he did slope off early for a meal (In fact a steakasoras) at the Thresher (which is a "Hungry Horse Inn).

Below is our blog of our time at Dogs in Need 2009. If you would like to see the photos then click here.

The team are...
Humans: Louise & Glenn Smart, Rachel Cooper & Adrian Dornford-Smith (59plus)
Dogs: Vinny, Ferris, Mutley, Leo, Melvyn, Yeshe, Kokya, Cockle, Chacha and Artic Glint