Being ever the optimist I thought that puppy registrations were beginning to look a little better; as after only one litter being born since the beginning of October 2019, several were due 5 months later in March. And like the proverbial bus, they have all come at once; six litters all within 5 weeks of each other! As I write this at the end of April, (a third of the way through the year) 6 litters have now been born resulting in 39 puppies – 16 dogs and 23 bitches.
It all looked quite promising, until you take in account the current lockdown. I know that several breeders have put their plans ‘on hold’ and are waiting until their girls’ next season in the hope that things will have improved somewhat. The Kennel Club’s latest advice to people planning a litter is that it has to be personal decision, based on each individual’s situation and risk assessment of this – taking into consideration the difficulties around socialising puppies in the current climate, the potential of getting ill and not being able to care for both puppies and dogs, whether your local vet will be able to assist if needed and how to deal with prospective owners responsibly. Also, depending on how the situation evolves, the possibility of having to keep puppies for longer than eight weeks, and whether you will be in a position to care for a litter for as long needed during these uncertain times. To say nothing of the feasibility of delivering each little bundle of fur to their new owners!
I expect by now you have all heard that Leeds Ch show has been cancelled along with the NoEKC’s July open show which was being held in partnership. It’s not an easy time for show secretaries, being under pressure to decide and declare the position of their show. With travel restrictions and social distancing looking to be around for the foreseeable future; it is fast approaching the scenario that it looks highly likely that the show season this year may not even take oﬀ, even if one looks towards early autumn. This year we have (or rather had) six ﬁrst time judges awarding CCs in the breed, three have already lost their appointments; we will have to now wait for them to come round again to judge and the others are waiting to see what happens.
The list of activities that the restrictions have affected is long as it is broad, every aspect of life as we know it being touched with shows, training and meetings cancelled & so it goes on. Puppies are missing their time in the baby classes and will have grown into adults before their show career has even started; but at least we are still able to walk our dogs while ‘social distancing’.
Having myself been a ‘stall holder’ (albeit non doggy related) for nearly 25 years with mainly outdoor shows & exhibitions being my major source of income, I just feel so desperately sorry for the traders who have stands at our dog shows. I know that many had a financially disastrous Crufts; but trade stands at dog shows are like your own breed club shows with their kitchen and raffle stalls – they need your support if they are to continue to exist and I suspect that this coronavirus shutdown will be the final straw for many of them.
We are all guilty of taking the stall holders for granted; going shopping after the judging has finished is all part of the day out. Not only are there fewer at each show, but there is no longer the wide variety of trade stands. Some societies, I know, see the stands as a regular source of extra income for very little effort on their part. Yet for a lot of exhibitors, knowing that these stands will be there to buy the bits & bobs unavailable elsewhere is quite often part of the deciding factor when choosing which shows to enter. How appealing would any Championship Show be without the trade stands?