Winner of the Fancy Dress section of the Australia Day Pet Show was Coco, a miniature fox terrier cowgirl owned by Liam Ward.
Winner of the Fancy Dress section of the Australia Day Pet Show was Coco, a miniature fox terrier cowgirl owned by Liam Ward.

Grafton holds Aussie Day pet show

I WAS hoping to attend the Grafton Australia Day Pet Show without drama, taking two of my children – Darcy, 4, and Milly, 8 – and my three-year-old black labrador Max.

I failed.

On arrival, we parked on the opposite side of the road to See Park. Max bolted across the road, dragging my waif of a daughter with him, and ‘bravely’ went into battle with a tiny fox terrier, much to the shrieking terror of its owner.

Once I finally brought Max under control, I looked up and noticed the whole See Park gathering had stopped to observe the chaos.

As Max digested the social conundrum of tempting and playful odours, I watched in awe as members of the Clarence District Kennel Club ran their dogs through the agility course with complete control and no leads.

Max was well and truly outclassed.

We walked around the gathering of 70-odd dogs and their owners and Max nearly ripped my arm off to get a closer sniff of just about all of them. But it wasn’t just dogs; there were cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, a ferret, a snake, a mouse, worms, an ant and even a fish.

Some owners understandably shielded their animals from my boofhead lab while others allowed the meeting of nose to bum to take place after I assured them he wouldn’t actually hurt anything (I hoped).

Max was in his element – he’d never smelt so many hot bitches in one place. Just as well he’d been desexed, otherwise I’d be missing an arm for sure.

I was feeling more and more like a lead character in the Hollywood hit Marley and Me.

Gina Pagan, one of the impressive agility dog trainers from the Kennel Club, took us under her wing, providing a bag of treats to help calm Max and reward him for good behaviour – it did the trick on the most part.

Max found a friend in Cassie the whippet cross dalmation who, after overcoming some initial tension, played ceaselessly with him for a good half hour.

Some people went to extremes, adding to the fun by dressing their pooches in all manner of clothes.

We even managed to enter Max into a few events: Best Groomed (zip), Looks Most Like Owner (zip, thankfully) and Best Trick (Highly Commended – thanks to Gina).

I guess the day wasn’t a complete failure – the kids got some lollies and we all learnt how to control Max a little better while the big boy himself made some new friends who we look forward to seeing on Australia Day 2011.



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