Without doubt one of the highlights was the Dog Show. Many come to the Funday solely to watch the different breeds of dogs compete in different classes. And how many they were…. we had a total of 170 entries in 28 different classes.
Tom McCann and Tom Tarpey organised the event and got a host of sponsors for all the prizes. The many items of petfood were sponsored by Mackle Petfoods from The Moy, Co Tyrone and Connollys Redmills in Co Kilkenny.
The variety of dogs on show was amazing to those of us who know little about them. For the author, not known for his attraction to dogs, the most interesting was a Basenji, also called the African Hound. This dog was one of a number brought to the Show by the McDermott family in Claremorris.
The Basenji (pictured with his owner, Ewan McDermott) is a breed of hunting dog that was bred from stock originating in central Africa, modern-day Democratic Republic of the Congo. Its antecedents go back to the earliest origin of dogs. They were used to chase prey into the nets of the hunters. They can jump straight up, just like a Harrier Jet! This they do to try to spot prey in the distance.
Another interesting feature of the Basenji is the unusual yodel-type sound it makes. This is because of its larynx structure and so it does not ‘bark’ as we commonly understand the sound dogs make. As a result it has also the nickname, ‘Barkless Dog’. They are difficult to train but if they ‘take’ to their owner they will succeed and the high intelligence of the dog will come to the fore.
The registration charge for the Show went in its entirety to the SMA. The two Toms were ably assisted in judging the 19 different categories by Catherine O’Donnell and her son, Shane. They took great care and attention in assessing the different classes and putting the dogs (and their handlers) through their paces.
Another interesting dog at the Show was a miniature Jack Russell which the ‘Swan Man’, Mr Toni Luff, brought along for the children to marvel at. She sat as quiet as a mouse in the basket as people came to marvel at her size.
Angela Flaherty with her Labrador Cross (on left in picture) and Ann Jennings with her Pyrenean Mountain Dog wait for the Judge to make the final decision in this particular class.
The Pyrenean Mountain Dog has been used for hundreds of years by shepherds to guard their flocks. It is particularly associated with the Basque people who live across the Franco-Spanish border.
The dog can weigh up to 54 kgs whilst a bitch usually weighs up to 41 kgs. Life span is normally 10 – 11 years (which equates to 53 – 57 years in human terms). The belief that 1 ‘dog year’ equals 7 human years is not quite accurate.
It should come as no surprise that a Pyrenean Mountain dog is most at ease in snow!
Martina Kearney is pictured on the right with her Pointer which won First Prize in his particular class.
The following individual pictures are of Joe Brennan waiting for his King Charles to be judged (left).
On the right we see proud owner Padraig Burke with his wife, showing off their Terrier, Tillie, which was the overall winner in both Puppy and Terrier classes. Also included in the photo is the SMA Community Leader in Claregalway, Fr Eamonn Finnegan SMA.
Tillie was also the Reserve Champion of the Show.
Tillie was runner up to the Show Champion, a Pointer, owned by P J Clark. Unfortunately our photographer was taking photos of the Irish Dancing when the Show Champion was announced and didn’t get a picture of the Champion. Apologies for that to all the connection!
Carol McDermott, as well as having her Basenji at the Show also brought along a Jack Russell to participate in the event.
Noel Costello brought along his beloved Collie dog to the show. This was one of the few dogs this writer didn’t have to ask “what type of dog is this?”. As everybody knows the Collie is a herding dog, and even had its own TV programme years ago, herding sheep in the Scottish Highlands. And how many of the older generation at the Show could remember the other TV programme, Lassie!
Thanks Noel for saving me from saying that I didn’t know one type of dog at the show! Next year I’ll be expert on the likes of Basenjis, miniature Jack Russells, Pointers etc.
Fr Eamonn Finnegan, the Leader of the SMA community in Claregalway, thanked all concerned for their support and, in particular, Tom McCann and Tom Tarpey for their huge amount of work in preparing for and running the Dog Show. A competition like this does not happen without a lot of preparation and many hours sacrificed to help the Missions. Thanks to the two Toms and those they ‘roped in’ to help at the Registration Desk, our Judges – Catherine and Shane O’Donnell – as well as the different Sponsors who generously donated all the prizes.
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