First, the introductions: I am Robbie (Leebren Rob Roy). Hovis (Leebren Cinnamon Fizz) is my mum and something of a celebrity, having appeared at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in Richard Strauss's opera "Der Rosenkavalier" twice. We are Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and we would like to tell you a story.
Once upon a time (1982) two little Cavalier sisters came to my owner's house. They were her pride and joy, and so began her love of my breed. But the 'obedience bug' had bitten years before, with the first of our owner's dogs, a Dalmatian called Major. Sadly, he died at 4½ years of age and no other dog came along for seven years.
Then, can you believe it, they had another Dalmatian answering, when he felt like it, to Oscar, and what a bundle of laughs he proved to be. However, 'Mum' proved to be made of stronger stuff and, although he didn't like it, Oscar was made to obey. He went to classes and, to everyone's amazement, started getting placed at Club cup nights and, occasionally, at exemption shows, eventually getting 8th place in Beginners at a Harlow Open Obedience Show - once. Oscar was hard work and totally unsuitable for youngsters to be actively involved with so, at last, the right decision was made, with the result that the sisters Patty (Crystal Caprice) and Jennie (Rosina Sunset) arrived in the household.
In time, they joined Oscar at Epping & District Dog Training Club, working their way through the classes with their young handlers. They went to Exemption shows, competing in the novelty classes, as well as obedience, though it was becoming quite apparent to all concerned that Patty preferred "Mum", and no one else on the planet would do. A rescue Cavalier, Rikki (Vella Harvey Moon) then came, and now there was four training and showing.
(In late 1989, tragedy struck with the loss of Oscar with a brain tumour, and a little over two weeks later, Rikki died of suspected spinal cancer.)
Being officially 'Mum's', Patty started training more seriously, and the results at Exemption shows and inter-club matches, were nothing to be ashamed of, though only numbering amongst the 'also ran' at a couple of Open Obedience Shows. Discovered amongst the show reports of 'Dog Training Weekly', back in 1985, South Eastern Counties Toy Dog Society obedience show, confined to Toy Group dogs only, was to change all our lives. Scheduled with the breed show, the obedience classes were held, in those days, at the Porchester Hall, Queensway in Central London. This was a very posh venue with a double staircase leading to the hall, and crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. In these grand surroundings, rather different from muddy fields, Patty won her first Beginners.
During their time in competition obedience, Papillon, Khanness Birthday Boy and Yorkshire Terrier, Kerry's Mr. Toby both won at open show, in classes of over 30 and over 50, the only 'toys' in those classes........
So, come on all you Toy Group dogs, how about taking up some obedience and give yourself a new interest in life. If nothing else it will improve your manners and when your owner's head swells with pride, you may find yourself in an obedience ring. Remember, no matter what level of proficiency you achieve it can only be of benefit.
After your first show, as you climb wearily into the car for the homeward journey, you may dream of the main ring at Crufts. There you are in that big ring, with not a collie in sight and the audience are clapping wildly. The announcement is made - Crufts Obedience Champion...............