Sunday, 2 October 2011

Track and Field Events

So here we go again with the continuing story of Tarquin the terrible !

The tree uprooting incident at  SKC  did not deter us and we went to more shows . I was determined to persevere and everyone kept on telling me that he would settle down eventually .  Everyone was wrong !!
We thought we would try Open Shows as they were smaller , less stressful and more fun .
More fun ?  Well they certainly were for Tarquin . He continued to bounce round the ring like  'Tigger' on speed and I was dragged round sports halls , the length and breadth of  Scotland . He played with every dog in sight  and made me very unpopular with my fellow handlers ,  as their dogs copied Tarquin .  Before long , the younger  Afghan classes began to resemble 'pogo-ing ' displays , with Tarquin as the star performer .
People tried to avoid standing anywhere near me in the ring , when I showed Tarquin I was poor '  Billy no-mates ' !
I could never , usually , take my eyes off him for a second as he would start to chew the barrier ropes , or steal the rosettes from the  Stewards table , or eat the treats out of someones pocket or showbag . He was incorrigible !

One day , however , we were at a show in a sports venue in  Perth and Tarquin actually lay down in the ring ! I was amazed , but pleased because it meant that I could relax and try to regain the feeling in my hands .  The class was huge and many other dogs were sitting , relaxing as the judge took his time examining the dogs at the head of the line . Tarquin seemed to be quite contented , his head resting on his huge front paws . I even began to chat to the chap next to me  and my grip on the lead loosened even more .
All was calm and I idly watched the puppies ahead of me as they pranced round the ring  , this was more like it , this was how showing used to be .
The laughter began as a ripple and grew to a roar , people round the ring had obviously seen something hilarious . I looked around to see what was happening but could see nothing funny . Then the guy next to me gestured in the direction of my feet so I looked down .  There was Tarquin , half sitting half lying , next to me , but in his mouth was the corner of a fleecy blanket , which he was slowly and deliberately pulling into the ring . ......... On the blanket , sitting bolt upright , was a terrified Cocker Spaniel !!

Tarquin was becoming famous , for all the wrong reasons . However , I didnt realise just how well he was known until we went to Leicester Championship Show .
This show no longer exists as a Champ show . The Kennel Club decided to remove that status years ago . But in the mid 80s it was a huge affair and the rings and trade stands were spread out over a vast area in a large park in the suburbs .
We had got into the habit of always arriving very early at the venues . This enabled me to walk Tarquin round the huge showgrounds in the extremely vain attempt to calm him down . It had never worked so far , but Im a glutton for punishment !
So , there I was , walking around , well being dragged around , through the trade stands , round the rings and in and out of the benching area . I had been there a couple of hours , it felt as though I had been there forever !  The showground had begun to fill and get very busy , with people and dogs as far as the eye could see .  Judging had begun but I didnt rush as , by now , Tarquin had graduated to the Junior class and there was plenty of time . I stopped by a ringside for a few minutes to watch the  Shih Tzus and thats when it happened ........ Tarquin saw something he wanted and lunged ! He was so strong and so determined to get to his target that he snapped his check chain and just took off .  I have no idea how he did it as these chains are thick and strong !
Off went Tarquin , with me in hot pursuit . My hubby saw Tarquin zip by and joined the chase , along with about a dozen of our friends . Round the showground went my naughty dog , neatly side stepping and swerving to foil all attempts to grab him  . people were running and calling out and trying to tempt him with treats but to no avail . Two huge rugby playing types thought they had the answer and stood side by side , ready to block his path  but Tarquin just ran straight for them and crashed through the middle , knocking the men to the ground .  He ran into judging rings and did circuits round and round , making  Poodles  and  Basset Hounds startle and bark . He ran round trade stands , knocking over displays and taking crafty mouthfuls of  food as he whizzed past . By now I was in a state of complete panic as I was so worried that he would be hurt or would get out of the showground and be lost or run over or some such disaster .
Finally , after what seemed like an eternity , he suddenly decided he had caused enough chaos and trotted up to my husband , who quickly secured him and all was well .  A friend came over and asked if it had been a sneaky plan , designed to make sure Tarquin was too worn out to misbehave in his class .  I just smiled because , by now , embarrassment had replaced concern .  Embarrassment because I realised that all the time Tarquin had been racing round and causing havoc , the showground had reverberated to the sound of almost every person present calling out to him .......... by name !!!!

Oh , heavens ! Everyone knew him !  Oh, and he still had the energy to do cartwheels and act like a clown in his class !!


  1. He was famous for all the right reasons, i'll never tire of reading about him, i can just imagine the look on the Cocker Spaniels face though, LOL! Paula xx

  2. OMG what a doggie he was , no wander he was so well know by all the people there. Must go and wipe my face now, all that laughter.....

  3. Tarquin was quite something, wasn't he? He had such a personality that he is immortal! You write so beautifully that I can *see* it all so clearly, just as though I were watching a movie! Talking of which, I *do* think his story would make a fantastic family film! And he'd make you squillions of dollars! Love it!