About Us

Where do we start? I suppose an explanation of the photograph is as good a place as any. The group’s original intention was to aid in whichever way we could, the safe and phased return of canine activities, following this horrendous pandemic. For authenticity, bearing in mind the origin of it, we went for the slightly oriental expression.

So to give you a bit of background, the whole thing evolved from a “ooh I wonder ..” idea I had whilst walking the dogs -I say walking as it conjures up a far more romantic vision than picking up the proverbial with my little shovel! I made a few phone calls -the first was to Graham Hill -and the idea started to come to fruition! More phone calls -more people on board -albeit originally all were either in Wales or running clubs in Wales. The intention was to write /create policies/procedures which would help with the safe and phased return of canine activities

One question we are often asked -mainly by those the other side of Offa’s Dyke, is “how do we say it?”. Most to date, in fairness have very little trouble with ‘Dragon’s’ the second word is pronounced ‘KEY’ -quite simply Welsh for ‘dog’

So that should answer some basics about our origin.

Earlier I used the term ‘evolved’ and that’s exactly what has happened with the DC group -some so keen to join at the start have for whatever reason drifted away, but it soon became apparent there were going to be key players who had themselves done incredible work themselves in preparing for shows to run. More calls/networking ensued and we are delighted several more willing members joined us from other parts of the UK.

The group now consists of 3 general ch show secretaries plus officers and committee of 5 group or gen ch shows including Crufts . Numerous secs of breed clubs and general open shows , others have brought extensive experience of both Event and Risk management and  IT skills. So overall the combined experience is extensive.

Some weeks ago a few of us decided we would offer help to those local societies who may be potentially short of the committee due to age and health restrictions under the current circumstances. The power of social media kicked in here and within 24 hours, following a very positive response UK -wide, we decided to roll out the idea and build up a database of willing ‘on the day’ volunteers. The response has been amazing -and our volunteers list now numbers almost 130 spread across the UK. Based on the counties in which the volunteers reside we can potentially cover 58% of the UK, but factoring in that most volunteers are prepared to travel up to 2 hrs we now potentially have the whole country covered. Very soon we hope to have a temperature map on our FB page detailing areas of the UK where volunteers may be fewer in number -hopefully this will encourage a few more to come forward.

How do we work? Who does what?

I can honestly say the whole group is a bit of a dream team! Monthly online meetings take place for all group members  -various smaller sub groups have been set up to discuss specific areas and there are then further online meetings. The meetings themselves are all arranged and communicated by our own “Miss Moneypenny” -Sarah White. Well known in her own right in the show world with the Mischran Borzoi co-owned with mum Angie Baker, and more recently the face of Agria at the shows as Breeder Manager. Sarah’s effervescence is only eclipsed by her efficiency- nothing is too hot or heavy! Sarah will be co-writing this column with me.

We are now about to be able to offer a 2 tier Risk Assessment resource, a slightly simpler format for one ring shows, a slightly more intricate ‘traffic light’ full matrix one for multi ring shows

In addition, there will be a ‘show checklist’ which we hope will provide a ‘simple’ guide to the requirements throughout the planning process.

Ring plans detailing size, the position of rings together with the maximum number of dogs allowed in each ring, number of people allowed in venue etc. These are all based on us being supplied with dimensions of the venue.

Whilst not wishing to give you a full list of who does what, in addition to the wealth of experience across the group we are indebted to Peter Barnaby for his IT knowledge and planning skills.

We aren’t offering an all singing all dancing service to run your shows, but we are able to provide some guidance and resources which will potentially make running your show more of a reality. One of the biggest obstacles will be Local Authority requirements -partly because this bizarre situation we have been plunged into is new ground for all of us -authorities included-and the fear factor and question of “what if?” can suddenly cause their own issues. We have to work with them, as best we can, in as logical a way as possible, answering and covering as many questions -even before they’re asked.

Major changes are going to be essential to enable shows to go ahead -that is for certain. Will this end up as ‘the new normal’? I’d suggest not. I think we are entering a phase, of 1-2 years -a temporary phase, where we will need to jump through hoops of fire we’d previously never even considered. Committees will have to continually think ‘outside the box’ to enable shows to be made Covid-compliant. In recent months Social media has seen our governing body take a hammering mainly about the new IT system. What hasn’t been noticed is all the concessions that have and are continually being made by the KC to enable shows themselves to be Covid-compliant. These will become more apparent as shows start to ‘happen’ again up and down the country. It is imperative we keep this ‘thinking outside the box’ paradox to the fore so we can at least get dog shows back!

So what happens after the temporary phase? When we start to return to a more normal life? Let’s get one thing straight-this virus ain’t gonna suddenly leave as quickly as it arrived. It’s existence is like ‘flu with bollocks on and will be here for the foreseeable. However, we will learn with vaccinations and various adaptations how to live with it. We should also bear in mind  “the new normal” will revert in some ways to the old ways-but many new ways will remain. So the new normal, whilst it may not be quite as drastic as the temporary phase will be quite different from the old ways.

We have all been on committees where there are a group who will say “we didn’t used to do it like that” or “we’ve never done it that way before”. This of course may be true -but those who cannot or will not adapt may be better subscribing to Netflix-there are some excellent series on there that they can lose themselves in. This may sound brutal -but it’s a fact!

Flexibility and adaptability to a continually changing world have been the reasons for success for many years. The pandemic has brought this home – the world of dog shows can appear a little like ‘Narnia’ at times -we have our own wonderful little world-for so many an ‘escape ‘ from more mundane parts of our lives. We need to keep on our toes – thinking outside the box and being flexible -in some cases almost verging on the revolutionary to get our wonderful hobby back on its feet and keeping it going. This whole concept is new to us, we appreciate that, but is also essential to stop that wardrobe door from closing.