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 !!

3 comments:

  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

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  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.....

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  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!

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