Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from goo.gl/Ta4oAX.
I was nine or ten years old when I first discovered Discover Dogs; and what a discovery it was. My parents took me and my best friend to Earls Court, and the moment we stepped through the door, we were in heaven. There were more dogs than you could shake a stick at (if I had tried, I probably have been trampled by a lot of excited pooches wanting to play fetch). They had every breed imaginable, and more.
For four years it continued to be a much anticipated event for us, and although the memories have all kind of merged into one now, I still clearly recall some of my favourite moments.
Discover Dogs introduced me to doggy dancing, and there is none better than Mary Ray and her talented four-legged companions. Just imagine what wonder two children must have had sitting right up against the fence, and watching two border collies weaving between their owner's legs, bouncing backwards on hind legs, and performing heel work to music. I also got to see Mickey, a three-legged greyhound from Dog's Trust that I sponsored. He was in one of the dog shows, and won third place.
The best part of the show was going round and petting all the dogs. I melted when one of the breeders plopped a puppy into my arms.
Discover Dogs has been running at Earls Court for years now, and is still going strong. Tickets became available to purchase today (1st August) for the 9th-10th November 2013 event. They are £12 for adults, £9 concessions, and free for under 12s. You can also buy on the day, but it costs more.
There are three arenas, each with a full schedule of events. Expect to see fly ball, agility courses, doggy dancing, tick and treat training, a junior handlers' award, and shows for the best crossbreed, golden oldie, and handsomest pooch.
If you are a dog owner yourself then you might find it beneficial to attend some of the seminars as well. Talks will include 'Reiki for Dogs', 'Needs of the Ageing Dog', 'What to Look for When Buying a Puppy', and various bits of training advice.