WHAT to write about this week? There really is only one subject and that is the forthcoming Pawscars awards ceremony now less than two weeks away.
I’m staggered that the whole thing has come together in quite the way it has. The people who make up the Pawscars committee had a meeting this week at the Metropole Hotel on the NEC campus to dot some Is and cross some Ts and we were delighted with progress.
Gavin Robertson and I were truly heartened from the outset by the way that commercial organisations climbed on board to support the event by sponsoring the awards. Petplan, Royal Canin, Purina, Eukanuba, Arden Grange, Happy Dog, Challenge/Mariners Choice, Dorwest Herbs, Lintbells, Fosse Data, The Kennel Club, Premier Animal Housing and of course Dog World have all chipped in – and of course in terms of ticket sales the event has been sold out for weeks!
When we announced the nominations for each award and invited the public to cast their votes for who should be the eventual winner in each category we stood back opened mouthed as the votes rolled in. At the end of the day more than 5,000 people cast their votes – that might not be a huge number by US standards but in the UK we were delighted that so many people took the time to complete the voting form. More than that though, as soon as the nominations were announced social media sprung to life with nominees expressing their delight at having been nominated and their friends and followers congratulating them on the “honour” of having become a Pawscars nominee.
Now all of this might have been understandable if the Pawscars had heritage, a track record built up over a number of years but no, this response had been generated by a set of awards that had been dreamed up last summer and were planned to happen less than six months after their conception. Humbling does not start to fully express the way we feel about the way people have taken these awards to their hearts.
The other thing we think make the Pawscars extra special is that the votes have been cast by the dog showing public. No subjective judging that people can argue with just sheer force of number – whoever gets most votes wins, you can’t argue with that. Of course some nominees made better use of social media than others to make sure that people voted for them but the other side of the coin is that we know of a couple of categories where the old fashioned votes that came in on paper and were delivered by the postman (mailman) made all the difference to the final result.
There is so much to do and so much that we have already done. At this week’s meeting we held talks with the hotel and with the production company that will run the audio visual presentations and that all seems pretty well set in place. Of course one of the great things about the development of Dog World TV over the last four or five years is that we have built up a library of clips of great dogs and great dog people and we are leveraging that hard to make sure that on the night, each set of nominations will be accompanied by a high-quality video and some appropriate music.
I have loved the whole process of bringing together something entirely new. If planning and hardwork count for anything then the night will be a huge success and set us up well for next year as we have ambitions to see the Pawscars become an annual event and we hope that in years to come a Pawscars nomination will be much coveted and something that people aspire to win.
Of course on the night of the event itself we will also be launching the Peek a Boo Trust, named after Ch Soletrader Peek a Boo, last year’s Crufts best in show winner.
The trust is being set up to capitalise on the goodwill and enthusiasm that people demonstrated last year when Gavin set-up and completed the 140 mile Jilly’s Jolly Jaunt. We reported on the walk in some detail on BISD last year but just to recap it raised just short of £50,000 (c. $83,000) which was split between three charities. We want to keep that going and we want the dog community in the UK, and abroad hopefully, to be seen to be doing good work and helping those who find themselves in difficult situations. The aim of the new trust will be to benefit children’s and animal charities.
When distributing the money Gavin and I had a tour of Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital in central London where some of the sickest children for all over the UK go for live saving treatments and as parents we could not help but be touched by what we saw but equally gratified that in some small way the money that Gavin had raised on his sponsored walk was going to do so much good, it was seeing all of that that provided some of the impetus to encourage us to do what we could to ensure that the momentum and camaraderie built up throughout Jilly’s Jolly Jaunt did not dissipate.
Rest assured that I will keep you fully up to date on how the event goes and you’ll see pictures and video and read all the important news of the event right here on Best In Show Daily.
Right at the top I said that there was only really one item to discuss but there is one other and that is the weather here in the UK. We’ve been having rains and wind with some wind and rain added in. Parts of the country are flooded like never before and that is having an impact on dog people and their dogs.
Here is just one of the most recent stories from dogworld.co.uk http://www.dogworld.co.uk/product.php/109242
Meanwhile the field that houses Windsor General Championship Show is currently under water. Such a scenic location for a dog show in the middle of summer as it nestles on the side of the river Thames the field is now several feet under water, read about it here http://www.dogworld.co.uk/product.php/109242
And the weather that you have been experiencing to the US has also had an impact on the UK dog exhibitor! I think I mentioned last week that several UK enthusiasts were on their way to New York to the Westminster Kennel Club show. Well they all got there, they all thoroughly enjoyed themselves but for some getting back home proved to be a bit of a struggle as a result of the sudden snows, see here http://www.dogworld.co.uk/product.php/109121
So that’s about it for this week. Of course I haven’t even mentioned Crufts! Ah well it gives me something to write about next week.