Boo goes to meet Ivy
Ivy is a 5 year old Chihuahua cross Yorkshire terrier. Ivy is a therapy dog and regularly visits the children’s ward at the local hospital. Ivy also participates in agility and Boo is particularly keen to interview her about her recent experience competing in the prestigious national Kennel Club Starters Cup Final at Olympia in London.
They meet on a glorious sunny afternoon at the agility field.
Boo: Good afternoon Ivy. Could I interrupt your training for a few minutes?
Ivy: Of course Boo my Mom is just catching her breath! What would you like to know?
Boo: So, wow, you are the KC Starters Cup Champion for 2016! Can you tell me what hoops you had to jump through (apologies for the pun) to get there?
Ivy: Well my mom took me to a really big agility festival last summer. It was great, lots of my friends were there. We had to compete in heats first, and then a semi final which meant running in the main ring with lots of people watching. My mom was a bit nervous so I ran as fast as I could where she showed me and mom gave me treats for trying hard. I didn’t win that time but I went fast enough to qualify for the final in London.
Boo: You went all the way to London to compete in the final at the ExCel arena, what was that experience like?
Ivy: It was very strange as I’ve never been to a big city before I didn’t see much grass but lots of people said I was cute and fussed me, so I liked it. Mom took me on these weird things called lifts, trains and taxis but as long as were together I didn’t mind where we went. I also had my good luck teddy with me.
We stayed in a really big house mom called it ‘hotel’ There were lots of other dogs staying there too. It was great fun. We competed in agility at a big hall called The ExCel Centre where the Discover Dogs event was being held. The event was run by the Kennel Club, (You have to be registered with KC to do agility and have a posh name – mine is ‘Ivy Effervescent Imp’)
Boo: There were hundreds of people in a big arena watching ‘Team Ivy’ run in the final, did you feel nervous? How about your mum?
Ivy: Well I was a little bit nervous as there were lots of people and dogs there but mom showed me where to go and when we started running I was too busy to worry so I tried my hardest to go fast. Mom was anxious to do well too but I knew it was important as she bought herself new running shoes and had made me have a bath before we went to London. Some of moms friends came to cheer us too so that helped too. Most important was my mom promised me sardines for tea if I was good. When I won everybody cheered and they gave mom a glass trophy and a big rosette. I got cuddles from everyone which was much more fun.
Boo: I am entered for the heats for the Starters Cup myself this year, any tips?
Ivy: How exciting I must make sure we cheer for you this time!
Just have fun and you have to run as fast as you can where mom tells you. Apparently stopping at the top of the A frame so people can admire you is a ‘no-no’ It’s so difficult not to when you are a diva like me though!
Boo: I have just started doing therapy visits and enjoy making people smile; you also do therapy visits in your spare time, what do you enjoy most about those?
Ivy: I love the treats and cuddles of course but making people smile and talk is the best bit as some children are scared or sad in hospital. Also don’t tell anyone but I like to show off my tricks too!
Boo: Well thanks Ivy, your Mum’s at the start line and it looks like you’re up for another practice run so you’d better hop it!
Ivy: Thanks Boo see you later
KC Starters Cup
Many prestigious agility competitions are run for top champion dogs at Grade 7, the highest grade. The Starters Cup was created so that dogs starting out in their agility career at Grade 1 and 2 could have the chance to compete in a national final in front of an audience at a prestige event. The final for 2017 will take place on the 21st and 22nd October at the Discover Dogs ExCel Centre, London.
To find out more go to www.kennelclub.org.uk
There are a number of charitable organisations that offer pet therapy visits. All require a temperament test and assessment to ensure the dog is suitable. Ivy belongs to Therapy Dogs Nationwide and Boo is a member of Pets As Therapy. All organisations are volunteer led and offer a range of services in many establishments – Schools, Hospitals, Hospices, Nursing Homes, Care centres and Prisons.
To find out more go to Nationwide Therapy Dogs www.therapydogsnationawide.org
Pets As Therapy www.petsastherapy.org