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Groups Galore and a Mayday in Nelson for Team Kitaco

We set off last weekend for our first away shows of the year, heading up through the Lewis Pass to Nelson at the top end of the South Island.

Our show team had a few extras on board. Not only did we take Ava and Ben (who took an Best Intermediate of Group and a Junior of Group, respectively) along with Nikita (who took a Best and Reserve Neuter of Group), but we also had Alice back in the ring, as well as our beloved Smooth Coat, Spenny, who is neutered now, too, so we thought he might like a spin around the ring in the Neuter Class to see if he still had it.

Our littlest team member was Aodhan (Kitaco Ambrosia), who at just 13 weeks old, took 3 Reserve Dogs wins and 3 Best Baby Puppy of Breeds. Aodhan is off soon to his new show home in Australia at Jaywynd Kennels, so it was great to see him strut his stuff like a little pro.

Day One was stinking hot and by the afternoon show, the only dogs in the Toy Ring who were having a blast were the Italian Greyounds who apparently adore the heat. Our kids did very well, even with the heat, with Ben taking the Best Junior of Group in the AM show. while Nikitia and Spenny cleaned up in the Neuter class, taking Best and Reserve Neuter of Group. Ben was knocked out from the In-Show line up by the Best in Show winner. Oh well.

In the PM show. the Show Manager (thank you. Robert!) moved the judging tables under gazebos and limited the time the dogs were out in the sun, which was much appreciated. Ava took Best of Breed, Nikita took Reserve Neuter of Group, Ben took his 2nd CC of the day for Best Dog, and little Aodhan took Best Baby Puppy of Breed and Reserve Dog, again. Alice turned in a great performance for a dog who hasn't been near a show in months, and took Best NZ of Breed in all 3 Shows.

But if we thought that was all the excitement for one day, we were sadly mistaken.

Aodhan's sister, Cadhla, came with us for the trip to meet her new family, who drove from Auckland to Wellington and then took the Interislander Ferry to the South Island to collect her. They collected Cadhla from us after many hugs and goodbye cuddles and then headed back to Picton and the ferry across the Cook Strait to the North Island that afternoon, only to be caught up in an emergency when their ship lost power and began drifitng towards the shore.

Cadhla boarded the ship with her new family at around 2 pm. The ship's mayday call went out at 5.05pm. The Kaitaki had 864 people on board (and our baby Cadhla!!!) and was in serious and immediate danger, as all four engines failed in the rough seas, .

Life jackets were issued to all the passengers as the ferry drifted towards the craggy and barren coast west of Wellington's Owhiro Bay. A massive rescue effort was launched, involving five helicopters, a flotilla of boats, land search and rescuers, and other emergency services.

The captain managed to drop the anchors and stop the 22,365-tonne​, 181-metre​ ship being forced onto the beach in southerly winds that had already pushed it to within just over 1km of hitting the sea floor, and not much further to the rocky shore.

Wellington Harbour Master, Grant Nalder, later said the tugs that raced to the rescue would have been unlikely to have had the power to pull the Kaitaki to safety and would have just tried to keep it off the rocks if the anchors hadn’t stopped it.

As you can imagine, there was a flurry of very tense and worried text messages back and forth between us and Cadhla's new family while this was all happening. Dogs usually stay crated in their owner's cars on the crossing, so until the crisis was over, and power restored, they were not allowed down to the car deck to check on their puppy.

Engineers eventually got the engines started and the ship, shadowed by tug boats and a police launch, limped to Wellington under its own power about 9pm, more than 3 hours behind schedule.

And Cadhla? Well, there is a reason we make sure our pups are crate-trained before they leave us. She had simply curled up and slept through the whole thing and emerged happy as a clam. Can't say the same for the frazzled nerves of her new owners (who then had to drive home to flood-ravaged Auckland) and us, but we are delighted to report she has settled in brilliantly and is doing very well in her new home,

With that unwanted bit of excitement behind us, we headed back to the shows the next day. Much cooler than the previous day, but now it was raining!

Little Aodhan did so well again, and didn't mind the rain at all. Ava took Best of Breed again and then went on to take Best Intermediate of Group, but was sadly knocked out from the In-Show line up by the Reserve Best in Show winner.

Nikita again took the Best Neuter of Group (there was a lull in the rain) but Princess doesn't do rain. or wet paws, or anything remotely resembling soggy grass, so her In-Show performance for Best Neuter in Show was... entertaining. Actually, she just planted mid-ring on her walkout and said "I don't think so!". Not the first time it's happened and probably won't be the last, LOL.

So, all in all, it was a very successful weekend. We got 4 Age in Group wins, 2 Reserve Age of Groups, 2 Best of Breeds, a Reserve of Breed, 3 Best Baby Puppy of Breeds, 3 Junior of Breeds, 3 Intermediate of Breeds, 3 Best NZ Bred of Breeds, 6 Best Neuter of Breeds and took 5 of the 6 CC's on offer.

And our puppy emerged unscathed from a genuine shipping mayday.

Thanks to the Nelson Committee for some very well run shows. What a weekend!


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