Well, who would have thought it ….. after what felt like the longest, coldest, wettest winter ever, we now find ourselves in the midst of the hottest, driest summer since 1976 with no end to the heatwave in sight. With all extreme weather conditions we have to be sensible as responsible dog owners and adjust our daily routines, sports training and competitions to take into account the welfare of our dogs. For Jasmine and Flyte, this has meant walking at 7 am and after 8 pm (which has fitted perfectly with the end of the day’s play at Wimbledon and England’s World Cup matches although worryingly the daylight was starting to fade fast the evening of extra time and penalties!). Their daytime has been spent snoozing and chilling in the cool of the house or the garden shade enjoying a Cotswold Raw Longhorn marrow bone or a Kong filled with frozen natural yoghurt, banana and blueberries. We have still been able to enjoy our weekly evening agility lessons working small simple exercises with lots of rest and water in between turns.
Agility shows have still been going ahead and it is up to the competitors to decide whether they attend or not. The show organisers have pulled out all the stops to ensure conditions have been made as safe as possible, installing gazebos and wind breakers at the ringside to create shade whilst we queue for runs and providing paddling pools for the dogs (a particular favourite of Jasmine’s) to cool off in pre or post agility run (or both in Jasmine’s case!). Reflective sheeting for covering vehicles, windscreen shields, cool coats, cool mats, cooling fans, a sun hat, sun cream, plenty of drinking water and minimal time out in the hot sun all help to make for a safer day out for all of us.
With all our heatwave measures in place, we have been able to attend all our planned agility shows, including the Adams Agility Show at Catton Hall, the RVA Champ Show at The East of England Showground and Empingham Show just a 10 minute drive from home. Jasmine is still as keen as mustard to get into the competition ring and has pulled off some speedy runs and adding both first and fourth place rosettes to her collection. As for Flyte, her confidence and understanding is growing as the weeks go by and she has put in some brilliant performances, winning five more classes, taking her to Grade 7, the highest grade in dog agility. That can only mean one thing ….. more new challenges ahead ….. Flyte says “bring it on”!