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A Mastiff day out at Discover Dogs
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As many of you will know Discover Dogs was again held at Earls Court and this was on the weekend of the 4th and 5th of November 2000. I'm pleased to say that Tracey, Hunter and I were again asked to attend on Saturday the 4th of November to represent the Mastiff Association at the event.

Having driven to the venue we settled down in our stand and grabbed a quick coffee before the doors opened at 10AM and the 'public' filtered in. As the crowds slowly made their way in I was pinning up a few posters frantically made the night before. These contained a few of the questions that all of you who own a Mastiff will be used to such as 'How much do they eat', 'are they friendly', and of course the magical 'can you put a saddle on them'.

I looked around me to see other breed stands heavily decorated with rosettes and colour pictures of their beloved breeds and made a mental note that should we attend again we too would be armed with a bag full of pretty pictures as well as my 'witty' questions. By around 10.30AM things were in full swing and Hunter was gladly greeting the crowds of visitors as if he'd never get tired of it. The visitors were varied and included people from around the country and indeed around the world. If you could say who was the most common visitor I'd say it was the family who love dogs complete with their children most of whom were armed with many questions. There were also some tourists interested in dogs of all types as well as the occasional person including foreign visitors who either owned or had owned a Mastiff.

This was our second time helping out at Discover Dogs and without a doubt the real pleasure came from speaking with people genuinely interested in Mastiffs, both those who live with a Mastiff and those giving proper consideration to doing so. We didn't see many people we knew from the Mastiff world although we did receive a welcome visit from Pamela Jeans-Brown who was representing the Pat Dogs charity accompanied by a Bullmastiff.

At 11.15 Hunter was required for the parade of working breeds and was handled as ever by my partner Tracey. I had to stay on our stand to tell the visitors that Hunter would be back but Tracey tells me that the large seated arena was packed with an enthusiastic crowd who showed their appreciation. Throughout the day there were a variety of events and displays including an agility competition, heelwork to music, The Tricky Tykes Terrier Display Team, and the Metropolitan Police Dog Display team. Unfortunately neither Tracey nor I really saw any of these events, as there was always a steady flow of visitors asking the usual questions or just meeting Hunter and passing the time of day.

The best story and absolute highlight of the day has to be Hunters meeting with 'probably' the smallest dog in the world. I had an idea that I would go up to the Chihuahua stand and ask if anyone was interested in having a picture taken of Hunter and a Chihuahua. Unfortunately as you could have predicted the Chihuahuas were having none of it and put on a very brave show of wanting to nibble Hunters nose off.

As I walked back to our stand feeling rather disappointed at the lost opportunity I saw a lady cradling in her arms a tiny Chihuahua pup which turned out to be 17 weeks old and weighing in at around 3lbs. I introduced myself and asked the lady if she would be interested in having a picture taken of her dog with a Mastiff and looking back on it she would have been quite in order to think I was raving mad. The lady said she was just doing something and would pop over in a while and I took this to be a probable no.

A few minutes later the lady whose name sadly I don't know came over with this little dog. Hunter was well excited and couldn't wait to slobber on the poor little chap, which he did in quantity. Within a minute or two the brave little dog was taking treats from under Hunter's nose and from under his considerable Jaw. I looked round to see that a rather large crowd had gathered some of whom were armed with cameras and we were completely blocking the aisle. I took as many pictures of the meeting as I could which wasn't easy as both Hunter and the little Chihuahua were pretty excited.

At the time of writing this we are waiting for the pictures to be developed and praying that they come out well. Our intention is to send the pictures to the campaigners fighting the German led legislation against large breeds including the Mastiff as well as to publish the pictures on our English Mastiff web site.

A few days after the event Tracey and I received a phone call from the Mastiff Association chairman Mr John Bromley thanking us for our participation in the event and suggesting that I might like to write about our experience. I'm not in the habit of writing but this article was the result. I just hope that a few people may have enjoyed reading it.

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