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Planes, Ferries & Automobiles = Great Results from our North Island adventure

Well, what an adventure we had trekking all the way to Fielding in the North Island for the Ruahine and FCI shows last weekend, where Team Kitaco achieved some outstanding results, including 3 Groups, a Reserve of Group and all three of our FCI eligible puppers being awarded a CACIB.

The weekend began on Friday with Jenny and Debra heading off at the crack of dawn by road with the team on board - Narci, Ava, Ben Tinky and Serena - to catch the ferry across the Cook Strait at Picton, and try out the new dog-friendly cabins on Bluebridge's Connemara ferry. Have to say, the cabins a great, but only if the dogs know to cuddle up on the bunks with you for a snooze. Tinky had it sussed from the get-go and was a perfect little angel, Ava was happy to settle provided she was sitting on Jenny's face, Narci and Ben had a bit of a growl-fest to decide who was getting the foot of the bunk and who was going to sleep on the pillow (Ben won that argument and claimed the pillow), while Serena spent a good part of the trip running up and down the bed going "OMG! I'm allowed on the bed! This is AWESOME!"

Happy to report she did finally settle, curled up in Nana's arms, and everyone got some shut-eye before the ferry docked an hour or so later.

The crossing was smooth, the staff were amazing helping us get five dogs to and from the cabin, and by mid-afternoon, Team Kitaco was on the road again and heading out of Wellington to get to Palmerston North Airport in time to collect Tracey. She had to work Friday, so she flew up after she finished for the day, which was a good thing, because we had so much stuff in the car, had she come on the road trip, she would have to have ridden on top, clinging to the roof rack, LOL.

The road crew arrived in Palmerston North just as the plane was landing (thanks to some insane directions from Google who was on one of those "I will take you 40klm out of your way so you can arrive on the same side of the road as your destination" missions), After a quick stop at the motel to empty out some space on the back seat, we collected Tracey from the airport and settled into our lovely motel where we were allowed to have the dogs sleeping in the bed with us!

Saturday morning we headed off to the massive new Dogs NZ venue at Manfield, which is normally used for equestrian and cattle events, so the floor was sand, rather than grass. This meant everyone and everything was covered in sand by the time we left, but there was plenty of room and we had a spot ringside right next to the coffee van, so that was a win, right there. The dogs didn't seem to mind the different surface, though, and thought kicking sand over everything was a hoot,

The first show was the Ruahine Show 1 where, under Taiwanese judge, Leo Lui, Ava took Best Bitch and the Reserve Best of Breed, Ben took Intermediate of Breed and the Reserve Best Dog, Serena took Baby Puppy of Breed and Narci took Best Open of Breed. We were pretty happy about that, and then Tinky went in for Best Neuter of Breed and won that too.

Ava and Ben were knocked out in the group by the BOG and RBOG. Tinky then went in for the Group lineup and took the Best Neuter of Group against some very stiff (actually fluffy) competition. Gotta love Deb's attitude to winning. She was so thrilled she teared up!

Then it was on to Show 2, where the Team really stepped up. Under the expert eye of Australian Judge, Helen Weil, Narci (at 10 years old) took Best of Breed, Best Dog and Best Open of Breed, Ava took Best Bitch and the Reserve Best of Breed, Ben took Intermediate of Breed and Reserve Best Dog, Serena took Baby Puppy of Breed and Tinky again took the Best Neuter of Breed.

We were thrilled with Narci taking another Best of Breed. He was so happy and bouncy in the ring, having an absolute blast. Tinky topped off our great results by taking the Reserve Best Neuter of Group, as well.

We headed home (very late) to our motel with the yummy home-made Cottage Pie that Fleur and Lavinia from Warlaven Kennels had brought us to have for dinner. We can't thank them enough for such a thoughtful gesture. It was a godsend having a home-cooked meal, which meant we didn't have to go hunting for takeaways or Uber-Eats, and we could just go home, wash the sand off and get ready for the main event: the FCI show on Sunday.

And what a show it was. Under Australian judge, Julie Ireland, Ava took Best of Breed, Best Open of Breed and the Bitch CACIB. Ben took Best Opposite of Breed, Best Champion of Breed and the Dog CACIB. Serena won the Best Baby Puppy of Breed with a grading of "Very Promising" and Narci won Best Veteran Of Breed and the Veteran CACIB.

And then, just to top it all off, Serena won Best Baby Puppy of Group and Narci took the Best Veteran of Group! Given that Group 9 was the largest group in the FCI show, we were competing against breeds we don't normally see in the Toy Ring and the quality of the entrants, we were blown away to be awarded two groups. Speaking to the judge afterwards, she was particularly complimentary about our dogs' temperaments and breed type, describing Serena as "a very put-together little pup, with a truly saucy attitude.

So then it was back to the airport to fly Tracey home and pack the car up for the long trek home, which involved getting up at 3:00 am so we could get to the ferry before we ran into Monday morning peak hour traffic in Wellington. We out-smarted Google Maps by breaking the trip into smaller bites and had a much more direct route back to the city with only a little fog to slow us down. We arrived at the docks in plenty of time and waited to board dreaming of the yummy breakfast awaiting us and the sleep were were going to catch up on, during the crossing, right?


Well, breakfast was yummy on the ferry, and Tinky, as usual, just curled up and went to sleep, but the others decided it was playtime. It took ages, but finally, they all settled down for a snooze, the much-needed nap was imminent... and the crew announced over the PA that we had arrived in Picton (early!) and would be disembarking soon...

Oh well.

Fortunately, the trip home was pretty uneventful after that and we arrived home before sunset with some very happy-to-be-home puppers (and people), lots of ribbons and the welcome prospect of sleeping in our own beds.

Thanks to the Ruahine Committee for some great, well run shows and to the excellent judges. We only dropped one CC all weekend, which, we do quite often in the South Island, but it was good to discover we can hold our in the North Island as well.


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