Skiffle came into our lives quite by accident when I went with a friend to help them pick a puppy. Big mistake! I tried to persuade my friend they wanted Skiff, as he really stood out, but they really wanted a bitch. Two weeks later, and after much thought, I rang the breeder to see if he was still available, to be told she had already reserved him for us because she knew I had fallen in love!
He had a bit of rocky start as he had an allergic reaction to a worm treatment and ended up on steroids to save his life. The dose was so heavy he was 4 months old before he went on his first walk! It did however mean we had to do lots to keep him entertained at home, which I think has helped towards him being such a super worker today.
Our family had a difficult year this year due to bereavements of two close family members and illness of others. On top of that I started suffering severe dizzy spells several times a day that left me feeling woozy the rest of the time. It meant training the dogs became a low priority but despite this Skiffle gained his qualifier place. In the lead up to the semi finals I was gradually becoming worse and unable to stand for prolonged amounts of time so the two weeks before the semi-finals neither of my competing dogs had any training.
Somehow at the semi-finals the adrenalin carried me through and we came second!! We were going to Crufts! I was over the moon.
Inbetween the semis and Crufts I was seen by a specialist and diagnosed with severe vestibular migraines. These are treatable! The treatment process takes some months and unfortunately sedates the brain (so I can’t think straight!) but by Crufts I was feeling less dizzy and more like my old-self. On the Thursday I was in the freestyle with my beagle and managed it with only stumbling twice. So it was on to the friday an the heelwork final. This year was an incredibly strong group with some amazing routines and Skiffle and I had the honour to be part of this group. During the performance I made a couple of small errors but Skiffle was truly amazing. He definitely held up the partnership this year and I am so proud of him. To come away with a third place was fantastic.
For me performing is all about enjoyment. I love performing and I love my dogs to enjoy themselves as well. If on top of this we can produce a routine that the audience can enjoy as well, then we truly have done it. I think we managed it this year as so many people have said how much they enjoyed it. I’d just like to say thank you to everyone who took a moment to congratulate us either in person or online. All your comments were truly appreciated and make the performance worth while.