Wow, what a weekend Team Kitaco had in Invercargill!
This was our first venture into the Deep South, and with so few shows around due to COVID, we decided to make a little holiday of it, so we entered the whole team, including the veterans, piled everyone in the van, and off we trekked to the very bottom of New Zealand and the shows put on by the amazing Southland Kennel Association.
We had an excellent trip, with the doggos being their usual awesome selves. They are such good travellers and with regular stops to stretch their legs and do their business, we eventually hit Invercargill about 8 pm, checked into the motel and then settled the kids in for a good night's sleep.
We arrived at the grounds bright and early, got our vaccine passes scanned and ourselves tagged, got a great gazebo spot and set ourselves up for two days of showing (just like the good old days pre -COVID!). We roped in an extra handler, the awesome Tanith Robb, who turned out to be the best ringside puppy wrangler we've ever had, as well as a much needed extra handler in the ring.
Thanks to an oestrogen wave that hit us in the week leading up to the show (4 girls in season!), we had a few scratchings (which was fortunate, or we'd have had to grab our gazebo neighbours, the St Bernard people, to help us out in the lineup!). We also left Dixie and the High Holy Terror (Trixie) at home with Aunty Casey. Dixie is not a fan on walking on a lead yet, and the very tip of Trixie's ear wasn't quite up, which Aunty Casey must have fixed the moment she took her home, because she sent us a photo on Saturday morning with Trixie grinning at the camera, both ears up and perky as can be! Little bugger - there is a reason we call her the High Holy Terror, LOL!
Anyway, we had our hands full with the dogs we did have and Ben (Kitaco Ben de la Crème ) about to make his debut in the show ring.
And what a debut he made!
This little guy, 13 weeks old, all 750 grams of him, walked out like he owned the ring. He stood on the table and wagged his tail, let the judge go over him without a care in the world and then strutted back around the ring like he'd been born with show lead on.
Not only did he take Baby Puppy of Breed, but he also beat out Uncle Mexico to take Reserve Best Dog behind his grandpa, Narci. He then went on to take Best Baby Puppy of Group. Pretty spectacular for his very first time in the ring.
He set the bar high for the rest of Team Kitaco and they rose to the challenge. Narci, came out of retirement to take Open of Group. Ben's Nana, Nikita, took Reserve Best of Breed and his Aunty Ava took Best of Breed, Reserve of Group and Intermediate of Group.
Mexico, who also came out of retirement for the show, took Best NZ Bred dog. And sausage. Lots and lots of sausage. Waaay too much sausage....
Show 1 Results
Runner Up in Group & Best Intermediate in Group: NZ Ch Kitaco Smashed Avacado
Best Baby Puppy in Group: Kitaco Ben de la Creme
Best Open in Group: GR CH, GR JNR CH, CACIB & NZ CH Mystic Legion Narcissus (Imp GREECE)
Best of Breed, Best Bitch & Best Intermediate of Breed: NZ Ch Kitaco Smashed Avacado
Reserve Best of Breed, Res Bitch & New Zealand Bred of Breed: NZ Ch Eldivino Senorita Nikita
Best Dog & Best Open of Breed: GR CH, GR JNR CH, NZ CH Mystic Legion Narcissus (Imp GREECE)
Reserve Best Dog & Baby Puppy of Breed: Kitaco Ben de la Creme
Best New Zealand Bred (Dog) of Breed: NZ Ch Eldivino Señor Mexico
Show 2 was held indoors. The weather was just perfect, even getting a little hot, so it was a nice change to be in the cool of the hall, out of the direct sunlight.
Ben liked the hall even better than the grass arena and once again, he owned the ring. Little Ben went so well that he beat his imported Greek and NZ Champ grandfather to the Best Dog CC!
He would have beaten his uncle Mexico, too, except for what we can only describe as a "poo-nami" brought on, we have no doubt, by Mexico overdosing on sausage in Show 1. What a mess! What a smell! There was no way to groom him again in time so we cleaned him up as best we could, scratched him from the show and then told him to wait in the trolley and consider his poor life choices.
Ava took Best of Breed, and Nikita, at nearly 8 years old, took Best Spay/Neuter of Breed. And then Best Spay/Neuter of Group... and then Best Spay/Neuter in Show!
We are so thrilled for her. She is such a little trouper and she loves the show ring. The BIS judge just adored her and, it's interesting to note, she was the only dog from the Toy Group to get an In Show award!
Show 2 Results
Best Neuter in Show & Neuter in Show: NZ Ch Eldivino Senorita Nikita
Best Neuter in Group & Neuter in Group: NZ Ch Eldivino Senorita Nikita
Best of Breed, Best Bitch CC & Best Intermediate of Breed: NZ Ch Kitaco Smashed Avacado
Best Dog CC & Best Baby Puppy of Breed: Kitaco Ben de la Creme
Reserve Best Dog CC: GR CH, GR JNR CH, NZ CH Mystic Legion Narcissus (Imp GREECE)
Neuter Best of Breed, Neuter Best Bitch CC: NZ Ch Eldivino Senorita Nikita
We went home tired but thrilled, pretty sure the following day was probably going to be a bit of a letdown, because we'd had such a great day and it was going to be hard to top.
But we were back again on Sunday to do it all again and by now, not only had Ben totally sussed this whole "show dog" gig, he'd developed quite a fan following. People were coming over just to watch him strut around like a seasoned pro. One woman even came over to Tanith, who was sitting on the ground playing with Ben while he waited to go back into the ring for the group lineup and asked "What is it?". He seemed too small and cute to be real, in her opinion, LOL.
The Best Baby Puppy in Show was his for the asking, overshadowing the fact that Narci took the Best in Group and Ava took the Intermediate in Group. Niki took Best NZ Bred of Breed, beating out Mexico who was freshly groomed and fully recovered from his sausage-induced embarrassment of the previous day. It has to be said, though, that Mexico doesn't seem to take his show career very seriously. While waiting to go in for the dog lineup, the other dogs stood patiently waiting and Mexico was on his back with his paws in the air.
We then got a lovely surprise, winning the Spot Prize awarded by the SKA. It was a puppy toy which Ben immediately claimed. Tracey got to wear our spectacularly tacky Kitaco Tiara of Triumph and Jenny claimed the Sceptre of Schadenfreude for her Group win with Narci.
Show 3 Results
Best Baby Puppy in Show: Kitaco Ben de la Creme
Best in Group & Open in Group: Gr Ch, Gr Jnr Ch, NZ Ch Mystic Legion Narcissus (Imp GREECE)
Best Baby Puppy in Group: Kitaco Ben de la Creme
Best Intermediate in Group: NZ Ch Kitaco Smashed Avacado
Best of Breed, Best Dog & Best Open of Breed: Gr Ch, Gr Jnr Ch, NZ Ch Mystic Legion Narcissus (Imp GREECE)
Reserve Best of Breed, Res Dog & Baby of Breed: Kitaco Ben de la Creme
Best Bitch & Best Intermediate of Breed: NZ Ch Kitaco Smashed Avacado
New Zealand Bred of Breed: NZ Ch Eldivino Senorita Nikita
New Zealand Bred (Dog) of Breed: NZ Ch Eldivino Señor Mexico
With the shows done and dusted, we then had an even more important job to do while in Invercargill: deliver Rupert to his new family.
Handing over a puppy to their new family is always a bittersweet moment for us. You want the best for your dogs, and you can't keep them all, but you become so attached to them from the moment they are born and you've seen them through all their development stages from slug to independent little beings and it can be hard to say goodbye.
We had nothing to worry about with this little guy, however. We were thrilled with how quickly Rupert took to his new people and he was instantly besotted with his new big brother, Teddy, Anj and Daniel have been spamming us ever since we left their house with photos of Rupert and Teddy playing, Rupert dispensing endless cuddles and kisses and Rupert just being adorable. We are so pleased to welcome these awesome people (and Teddy!) to our Kitaco family.
The trip home on Monday was pleasantly uneventful, although it rained all the way from Invercargill to Christchurch.
We would like to thank President, Dianne Tyssen, and the SKA committee for 3 amazing, well-run shows, the judges, the stewards, and everyone involved in preparing the grounds and providing the great prizes, the friendly atmosphere and the rather yummy coffee.
Very special thanks to Tanith, too, for her invaluable assistance and Casey Walters for her puppy-sitting and ear-fixing.
We will most definitely be back. In fact, the last thing we did before we left Invercargill, was book our motel for the next shows later in the year.
After all, Ben has groupies in the Deep South now. We can't let them down.