It was off to Dunedin last weekend for the Forrester Park Benefit Shows. The trek south threatened snow and black-ice but other than a few patches on the roadside heading down through the hills into Dunedin, there was thankfully nothing to be concerned about. We arrived at the venue in plenty of time to stake out a primo spot next to the Toy Ring entry and then headed off to our adorable little cottage only 2 minutes away.
The owner of our AirBNB was waiting for us to hand over the keys, had turned the heater on so the house was toasty warm, and announced that he'd renovated the bathroom and added an amazing deck since we last stayed here. And the deck was amazing, Too bad it was so cold we did little more than say, "oh wow, the deck is amazing" before hurrying back inside. I think it was only about 2" by then. Not the weather for lounging about on a deck.
We only brought Tinky, Ben and Stella with us for this trip. We didn't enter Ava because we were expecting her to be in the family way. Alas, that is an entirely different story. Sigh.
Anyway, knowing how crazy the carparking is at Forrester Park, we thought we were being very clever arriving at 7:30 am (1.5 hours before the show started). Ha! The carpark was almost full, even then. So we hung around with the puppers in their trolley with heat-packs, while we wrapped ourselves in spare dog blankets, waiting for the shows to start.
In Show 1, Ben took Best of Breed, Best Dog and Best Junior of Breed, TInky stepped up to take Reserve Best of Breed, Best Bitch and Best Intermediate of Breed, while little Stella did an amazing job and took Reserve Best Bitch and Best Puppy of Breed.
Stella also discovered her inner Diva in Dunedin. She has never walked a ring better - loose lead, head and tail proudly aloft - but sweet little "I love everyone" Stella apparently took exception to well, everything else, and didn't shut up all weekend.
It started when she barked at the judge for having the temerity to look at her, and then didn't stop. It wasn't just barking though. It was that chatty, talky sort of barking some breeds (not Chihuahuas) are famous for (see the video below) and it had us in hysterics. Even when she was back in the trolley with the heat pack and a chew and covered over so she couldn't see anything at all, she chattered away, expressing her opinion to anyone who happened by.
Show 2 saw Ben and Tinky repeat their earlier wins. Ben took Best of Breed, Best Dog and Best Junior of Breed, TInky again took Reserve Best of Breed, Best Bitch and Best Intermediate of Breed, Stella was still telling everyone off and cracking people up (by now we had people coming over just to listen to her chatting), so we decided our little Diva should probably sit the rest of the shows out. Stella had her chew and her opinions, and she was just fine with that.
So, done for day 1, we headed home. Or tried to. By now it was mid-afternoon and every kid in Dunedin had come to play at the various sporting fields surrounding the show venue. There was - without exaggeration - probably another 600 cars out there. in a carpark designed for a quarter of that capacity. It was chaos. People had just created parks where there were none and left only a narrow, half a klm laneway between the parked cars to get out.
We managed to navigate our way out of the melee and were almost at the end of the laneway when some Karen in a Corolla started heading towards us. This resulted in a rather comical standoff, with Karen in her little car and us in our big SUV, nose-to-nose, with nowhere to go. Karen eventually worked out that she needed to backup up about 5 metres to let us out, or we needed to back half a klm to let her in, And by now another car had followed her into the lane. With a very Karen-ish glare, she reluctanlty reversed up enough so we could get past her. The car behind her reversed as well, but this guy's genius idea was to wait for us to leave by parking in the exit! Standoff number two ensues, until it occurs to him that blocking the exit was probably a counter-productive move, so he turned into the carpark entrance beside him to let us out.
Back to our cosy little cottage which was now, inexplicably, surrounded by ducks. There is a stream at the end of the street and all the ducks - plus a random goose - had taken it over for... a political rally, maybe? We managed to get to the house without running them over, but one of the ducks followed Deb into the yard to give her what for, before retreating back to his pals and whatever nefarious scheme the Ducks of Dunedin were planning.
And speaking of Deb, she confessed during this trip that she had never seen Ru Paul's Drag Race or really understood why Ben was named after a drag queen. This was a situation that required an immediate remedy so we spent the rest of the day and the evening, finishing off the wine and watching Season 12 of Drag Race on Netflix. Debra was particulalry inspired by the episode that featured Nicki Minaj as a guest judge. As she was gathering up the empty wine glasses, she started rapping like a pro and it remains the biggest regret of this trip that we didn't get that on video, as it truly was something to behold.
Sunday morning we decided that we'd get to the venue even earlier, so there we were at 7:00 am, by no means the first to arrive, sipping tea in our thermal mugs with the heated seats in the car turned up to max, the heater running and the puppers snug in their crates. We stayed that way for as long as possible before we braved the cold and headed into the venue. To be fair, the weather had improved somewhat but it had rained overnight and was still bitterly cold.
Ben and Tinky did us proud again in the 3rd show, Ben took Best of Breed, Best Dog and Best Junior of Breed, TInky took Reserve Best of Breed, Best Bitch and Best Intermediate of Breed, and Stella stayed in the trolley loudly expressing her opinion about the state of the universe. No groups this weekend as Ben was knocked out in all 3 shows by the Group winner and Tinky was up against a really lovely Cav in her class who also took Reserve of Group in show 2.
The upside of no group wins on a Sunday is that we were able to head home nice and early, but not before Debra 2nd collected prize in the famous Dunedin raffle along with Tinky's Challenge Certificates. She has 12 now. Not bad for a pup we sold as a pet.
Thanks to the judges, stewards and the Forrester Park committee for some great shows. Dunedin is always such an adventure. Can't wait to come back in December. Perhaps we'll know by then, what the ducks were planning...