Barking Blondes: The dog show season!

Joanne Good and Anna Webb

South Wales two 300x277 Barking Blondes: The dog show season!We were guests on Woman’s Hour this week and interviewed by the dog-loving, wonderfully laconic Jenni Murray. Towards the end of the item things got rather emotional as she touched upon the tricky topic of coping with the death of a dog. It’s a known fact that the two of us become emotional mush at the mere mention of either of our dogs passing on, however, by the end of the show, we were convinced that Jenni’s tear-filled eyes were not down to the studio air conditioning.

An hour later our website was receiving emails from Radio 4 listeners all eager to share their tales of dealing with the death of a pet. Every one of them heart-wrenching. We love radio. No rehearsing, no editing, just a live interview that “connects” with millions of like-minded souls.

In fact it’s been a bit of an emotional week. Two dog shows at the weekend meaning two opportunities to flog our book. The first was in the Midsummer Murder Country of Burnham in Bucks, where we signed a fair few copies in the glorious sunshine and the second was a Bank Holiday Monday dog show in South Wales.

Whilst the rest of the country bathed in spring warmth, Cardiff was immersed in mist and rain. Having spent the previous night in a hotel near the airport where every room was triple glazed, we awoke with heads like dehydrated footballs and dogs gasping for air. Part of the deal was, that if we judged a couple of classes, we could set up a stall around the boundary of the show ring.

Well, have you ever attempted to erect a gazebo in a force gale wind whilst juggling two bull breeds and a box of damp books? The posters, flyers and carrier bags all blew across the fields in the first five minutes. Hopefully there will be a sheep farmer somewhere, who may, one day, find a book promoting leaflet wrapped round his crook.

We sold an embarrassing small number of copies. Lets just say, after the airless hotel, a bacon butty from the wagon and petrol , we need to sell another box full to break even. Perhaps it was the lack of sales, the weather or maybe the sleep deprivation that caused us to become quite maudlin during the judging.

Having slapped a rosette on a local policeman whose doting mutt we had decided should win “best bull breed” the two of us burst into tears. The 6ft tall bobby stared at us with embarrassment as we fawned all over his American bulldog with mascara running down our faces. We’d turned into a couple of soppy, hormonal Londoners with two townie dogs desperate to return to the warmth of the car.

We gave second prize, either out of sympathy or fascination, to a heavily muzzled Hannibal Lecter type hound. Either way, having seen it fly at a chihuahua shortly after the judging, we were left scratching our heads as to whether we had made the right choice. But by then the heavens had opened and we would have slapped a rosette on a sheep in order to get shelter.

The vigours of the weekend were probably best summed up by our two dogs. Molly, the bull terrier, was nursing an old injury and, with her foot wrapped in a bright red bandage, limped back, gratefully, to our awaiting mini, eager for the journey home. It was just as we were crossing The Severn Bridge, that Matilda, the British bulldog, projectile vomited green tripe, across the faux leather front seat. That journey home on the M4 was something neither of us want to experience ever again.

The Barking Hour, every Thursday, 3-4PM, BBC London 94.9

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  • Peter Egan

    Hi Jo, Anna, Matilda and Molly,
    Yes a pets death is horrible. Having had so many dogs over the years I’ve experienced it too often. The only consolation, and it doesn’t stop one grieving of course, is that a space is made to rescue another poor abandoned baby. It’s one of the major benefits of rescuing, rather than buying from a dodgy or careless breeder. We recently rescued Tidus from Sarajevo, a lovely 7 month old small German Shepherd cross. When I picked the terrified puppy up, I sat with him for a moment on my lap, before getting into my car to drive him home. He spent 48 hours in a van, a very well equipped one, I might add, very comfortable. However after a moment of relaxation, he pooed and peeped in my lap. I thanked him for doing it on my lap and not in my car. It was easier to change my trousers than my upholstery! I think he smiled! Anyway he’s settled in and now we’re back to six!

    Look forward to seeing you both for the Mayhew event Hyde Bark on Sunday the 9th.

    Love and woofs to all X

    Peter (-:)

  • marcbletchley

    good morning jo and anna
    ahh summer is nearly here and those feel good fate’s that will be going on in villages having ‘best dog shows’ where all are out to play and the local vicar and his wife will proberly be judging the winners.
    i did catch womens hour and your appereance dont tell local radio i nipped out thay think i was in the toilet!
    lets hope you two barking blonds have more fun and keep busy with the shows and dont worry about the mascara running.
    woof woof from bletchley towers

  • madgooner1

    I heard you on “Womans Hour” and i think Jenni Murray got you.

  • MrReasons2Bcheerful

    Great blog girls.

    Death of an animal can be traumatic for its owner. When I had Benson, my cocker spaniel, who lived to the ripe old age of 16, I was told from someone that the cocker spaniel breed had a tendancy to go “off-territory” when they knew they were dying. So I was well prepared when Benson did, indeed, go missing a week before Christmas.

    He was found looking as though he was fast asleep in amongst the reeds on the Beaulieu estuary, having suffered a heart attack. We buried him next to his arch enemy, a Lucas Terrier called Godfrey.

    What I wasn’t prepared for was the silence. Those reminders such as the dog bowls, his basket and numerous smelly old blankets along with the toys strewn around the floor. And that welcome home at the end of the day along with the “wake-up I need my walkies” in the morning call.

    Projectile vomit, I know all too well about! Bruno isn’t the greatest traveller, and I didn’t tick the “upholstery protection” option when I bought the car, so the cloth is somewhat, err, marked to say the least…! When the time comes to replace the car, I shall be ticking that “leather” option!

    Midsummer Murders country, eh? Are you sure it wasn’t just a veiled attempt for Jo to try and flog a few copies of that well-known cult thriller “Killer’s Moon”?

  • t_Niqua

    I still miss my doberman, Cruncher. He got out one day and run acorss the road.

    You is well nice ladies! I hpoe to meet u at the Hyde park show, and Belle my staffie can meet Mattilda and Molli. Will u sign a book for me?

  • theUKnaturalvet

    Like all vets, I’ve had to end the lives of many dogs over the years. It’s something you have to get used to and somehow come to terms with – but it didn’t help at all when it came to coping with the death of my own dogs. I heard the Woman’s Hour interview and it brought back all the emotions of losing Lady and Lucy, my fantastic Beagles and Rosie my adorable Bedlington. And now Jamjar is ten years old I know there won’t be that many years left with her. Dogs bring you so much pleasure, but you have to pay for it with the grief and the loss at the end!

  • 5brian5

    Hi Ladies! I’m L.O.L. at your always uplifting blog. You two seem to always be able to turn disaster into humour! I save those moisture absorbing packs or cylinders that come with new electronics or tablets. I don’t know if you might be able to put a couple of those in a large zip-lock bag to dry your books one by one. I have heard people on telly say that that’s how they dry out their mobile phones after they become wet. When my son was very young, he had a mix breed dog that was the daughter of my dog. At that time life was very tough for us, as I was going through a very messy divorce. When I came home one day, I found his beloved dog “Leika” acting very strange. I had no idea what was wrong with her, so I immediately rushed her to the vet hospital. She was kept for observation. When the vet called, they informed me it was cancer. My son was already feeling intense anxiety over his family disintegrating before his eyes, and I feared the news of Leika’s terminal illness would drive him over the edge. Leika, was the one thing in his life that showed consistency, and was never too busy with lawyers, to show him love overtly. Parents can try to comfort a child during such tough times, but a dog or cat is really the neutral and loving companionship that they need. Just writing this I can feel my eyes welling up, and my stomach churning. Life is full of memories, but I’m glad my son had a dog in his childhood to hold his hand throughout the unpleasantness. My son just picked his pit-bull “Logan up from my home the other day, from an almost two week stay-over. Both my cat “Tula” and I are experiencing separation anxiety without Logan here. After Logan left, Tula was walking around looking for him, and acted different for a couple of days. I just love the way animals make friends and get along with each other. Its too bad all seven billion of us can’t do the same. Great Blog Ladies! Thank You! Brian (Detroit) xxxx..

  • Ziggydog

    Dog shows are always better when the sun’s out! But they’re always a chance to spend some time with your dog and win a rosette. Tuned into the Woman’s Hour interview -great stuff, and loved reading the book – made me laugh and cry!

  • Pea Horsley

    When a dog dies it’s extremely upsetting and the grief can be the same if not greater than losing a human friend. Dogs give us unconditional love, whereas humans struggle with this concept. I am writing a book on this subject to prepare people for their animal companion dying, supporting both through the transition and looking at ways in how to cope the other side. As animal communicator, I am in the fortune position to be able to present the animals’ views on each area and how they experience the after life.

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