Jane Dean and Betsy the Wire Dachshund help to promote Discover Dogs

Jane Dean (Brontillow Wires) writes:

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from the Kennel Club, inviting me to take a puppy from my latest litter to a press event on 18th October to promote the Discover Dogs show in October. The aim of the event was to showcase a range of breeds and give a unique insight into the personality traits of different breeds and the importance of choosing the right breed for lifestyle and making sure people buy a puppy responsibly. It sounded quite an adventure, I rarely travel up to London and the promise of free professional photographs of my nine weeks old Standard Wire Haired Dachshund puppy, Betsy, was enough to tempt me away from the countryside for a day.

Our youngest daughter, the last to leave home, pointed out that it was the same day she was moving into her university student halls of residence but realizing how much I wanted to go, she compromised. Dad would take her and her stuff while I would visit in the evening and treat her and her best friend to a meal at her favourite noodle bar.

When the alarm sounded at 5:45 I questioned my sanity but there was a hint of sunshine and I was quite excited to spend the day with Betsy. After a quick visit to the garden for Betsy to do her business, we caught the train from the little village station and were on our way. She slept for most of the journey but was getting a little fidgety as we neared London, I put her back into her travel box, which I had fastened to the frame of a shopping cart and hoped she would settle until we reached the Kennel Club building. It took me ages to find the taxi rank in the middle of building work around the station and I assumed that poor Betsy was crying because she objected to being locked up. It was only when I got into the taxi that I realized why she had been unsettled, as I sat down I was aware of a very bad smell emanating from her box. I told a lie. I told the poor taxi driver that she had been sick in her box but in truth it was far worse and it had come from the other end. I was mortified (and gagging) but luckily I had one of my puppy travel bags, complete with towel, wipes, tissues and plastic bags. With windows down I frantically tried to clean it all up but it had invaded everywhere and when we arrived at Clarges Street I had to dump her vet bed and blanket in the nearest bin. Betsy had her first ever bath in a wash basin at the Kennel Club but she smelled considerably better than she had in the taxi!

It was a relief to sit down and make the most of the provided tea and biscuits while we waited for Betsy’s turn for the photography session. There was a selection of ten breeds at the event; the plan was for journalists to meet each puppy and ask the breeder questions to find the right breed for their lifestyle. There was a table set out with a red rose and a ‘dating card’ to record information for every puppy, the idea was based on a “speed dating” layout, where the journalists would rotate and move on to the next dog. A sunny room had been converted into a photographic studio and I was asked to take Betsy to be filmed meeting a ‘dog lover’ but she had fallen sound asleep on my chest and was still a little damp from her bath so they kindly moved her slot until she woke up.

Eventually it was Betsy’s turn to be a star, she was videoed several times being handed to a smartly dressed young lady and then photographed in various poses, using the dating cards and a rose as props. I have taken a lot of photographs of my litter of puppies and Betsy has a placid nature so she was very good at being a model, she even held a card and a rose in her mouth for a few seconds. She teamed up with another Dachshund, Bruno, to be photographed with a couple of ladies for “Closer” magazine and took the whole session in her stride.

As the journalists arrived, a lovely lunch was wheeled out and we all took our places at our designated tables, Betsy had some cuddles while we chatted about the breed and answered some questions. A few of the journalists took notes and seemed very interested in learning more, others were filmed for a future programme for the BBC and a couple I suspect were posing as journalists and were just there for a puppy fix and free lunch as they didn’t ask any questions or take any notes! It will be interesting to see what appears in the press over the next couple of weeks, I hope it does encourage people to research a breed before they decide to buy and I applaud the Kennel Club for their efforts but as a breeder I feel that it is as much our responsibility to be honest about all of our breed’s health, traits and characteristics and to vet potential owners thoroughly before selling a puppy.

At the end of the day we came out of the building to warm sunshine, and with Green Park just over the road I took Betsy over, hoping she would relieve herself before our long journey home. She was far more interested in the blowing leaves and it was lovely to see her chasing them as they blew in the breeze. After ten minutes I gave up, I crossed my fingers and hoped she would cross her legs until we arrived home. I needn’t have worried, once on the train she curled up in my arms and slept for the whole train journey. I managed to stay awake long enough to visit our daughter but my hopes of any sympathy for dealing with our messy incident were dashed when I learned that she was on the fifth floor of the halls, their allocated parking was for fifteen minutes and the lift was broken. I think I had the better day.

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