My dog as my therapist

DogFest North

Hounds Connect at Dog Fest North

 What a weekend!  Last weekend Hounds Connect were at DogFest North, a cornucopia of dog experiences for you and your dog.  It was based in the beautiful grounds of Arley Hall in Cheshire. It’s the first time I’ve had a stand at an event like this and I’m really glad I went. Friday was set-up day. It started  with a bit of a hiccup, because, like the Glastonbury Festival this week, some of the ground as waterlogged and we were delayed in setting up. But the ground staff were very friendly and helpful and we soon got to work on our stand. Thanks to my Mum for her help, perseverance and creative flair.

Great toys..for the Hounds Connect dogs at home!
Great toys..for the Hounds Connect dogs at home!


Manning the stand on my own meant that I didn’t have a lot of opportunity to check out the Festival, although I was directly opposite the Drontal Advantage Main Activity ring so I could watch fly ball demos, agility, the display of Newfoundlands, border collie duck herding as well as the final for the cover photo competition. In addition I had my exhibitor ‘neighbours’. On one side I had Rocky Equestrian, the UK distributor for Hunter Dog products - very nice dog products, so there was time for a bit of retail therapy.  On the other side was Dogs Trust which gave me an opportunity to get up to date with what they are doing. Opposite was Freshfields, another animal rescue organisation that looks after wild animals as well as domestic pets.


And then there were MY visitors. 'Thank you' to all the people that came to my stand and shared your experiences of your emotional connection with your dog. Thank you to the people who were prepared to share their sadness of their dogs passing and the people who shared their anxieties about their dog’s behaviour.  People were genuinely interested and supportive of the work we do. There were so many tales of ‘natural’ therapy dogs (by'natural' I mean no specific training): the border collie who knew when his owner was going to get a migraine before she did and would stand looking at the cupboard where she kept her medication; the staffie cross who could warn his owner of his imminent epilepsy seizure; a golden retriever who alerted her owner to diabetes imbalances. Just wow. These were people that were noticing what their dogs were telling them.

Part of my stand was a mirror, with a sign at the bottom saying ‘ The most important thing for your dog’. The intention was to stress that we needed to look after ourselves first to be able to truly look after our dogs. Not sure it worked that well. I’d like to thank the older gentleman who walked passed and scoffed

‘The most important thing for your dog? – a bloody mirror!’

In my defence, he WAS from Dundee.

And then there were the people that came by whom I’d only met on Facebook. It is so nice to make contact in ‘real life’!  Thank you for taking the time to connect.  Hopefully see more of you.

One of the big highlights for me were a couple of quotes that I got in my guestbook

From a vet

What a fantastic service – something which should be widely available to all and recognised as a truly invaluable tool for healing and bonding x”

And from one of the obedience training judges of the event

“What a fantastic idea, I believe this is a much needed service and I'm delighted you are providing this service 🙂 ”  

I couldn’t have asked for more. Maybe next year I’ll be up for doing Dog Fest North AND South!

If you didn’t get a change to get to Dog Fest North, don’t worry, the equivalent, Dog Fest South is happening this weekend (25th -26th June) at Windsor. And there’s always next year. 🙂

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  1. What fantastic comments from your visitors Joanne, Great support for your pioneering approach, helping lovers of thier animals see the power of their connection with their dogs. Onwards spreading the message! And btw, your stall looks fabulous, love the green, perfect symbolism for heart centred work like yours.

    1. Thank you Jill. People do seem like and understand the approach and eager to try it out. Which is great 🙂 And thank you for your comments on my stand. My mother has to take a lot of the credit for that, with her artistic background! She was great helping me pull it all together…and yes the green is for a reason!

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