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Our Dutch adventure- by CORE Ambassador, Toni Wescott-Smith

Back in April, Maastricht dog show opened its entries for its 46th & 47th championship show and amongst the doom and gloom of another Covid lockdown I decided to enter in the hopes that we would be able to attend. As September loomed closer it was looking less and less likely that we would be able to travel as we were on the quarantine list for the Netherlands and our hopes were pinned on the Covid announcement due on September 20th.

There had been several months of planning to ensure that we could meet all the new Brexit requirements including ordering a 1.8kg bag of Wellness CORE dog food as there was a 2kg maximum allowance and it had to be sealed in its original packaging. The dogs were all set to have their Animal Health Certificate (AHC) completed but all we could do was wait, then on September 16th the new covid restrictions were unveiled and travel restrictions were lifted for fully vaccinated passengers from the UK, we were off to Maastricht!

On Thursday afternoon Lisa and Squeak arrived and we began the task of loading up the van with dogs, trolleys, grooming bags and finally squeezing ourselves in. Now the only question remained was had we got everything right?

 A nerve racking few hours later we entered the pet reception at Eurotunnel Folkstone to have our AHC checked and we got the all clear. Next was border control which we sailed through and I even got rather excited about getting a stamp in my passport! The remainder of the journey was uneventful by our standards (we have previously had detours through fields), and we arrived at our hotel with plenty of time to get prepared for the show.

Then came the big day! Day 1 of the show we were there bright and early eager to get in and pitch camp for the day. We found a good spot where we could see all 3 rings and were joined by some of our friends. As the day progressed it became obvious that George and Layla would be in the ring at the same time, so I reluctantly handed Layla over to Lisa. As our class was called my stomach was churning. We had been waiting since December 2018, when George took his 4th CAC, to compete. When he was old enough to complete his title, he was graded excellent and awarded first in his class and in the challenge he was awarded the RCAC giving him the final point he needed to gain his title making him our first Dutch champion.

As I came out of the ring I looked over to Layla’s ring hoping there was a delay in judging to see Lisa showing her to BOB making Layla our second Dutch champion a matter of minutes later!

With the usual efficiency of FCI shows the groups we had finished with the group by 4pm so we packed up the van and headed across the border to Genk to pay a surprise visit to a friend and have puppy cuddles before heading back to the hotel to start the mammoth task of completing the passenger locator forms for our return to the UK.

The following day we returned to the show and this time all 3 breeds were in the ring at the same time so thankfully my friend Djulia stepped in to pilot Layla to yet another BOB whilst I concentrated on the Briards where George went on to gain his International championship title. After judging we settled down to wait for the group where my friend surprised me with a Stroopwafle cake to celebrate George’s win.

After the groups it was time to pack up the van and say our goodbyes before we headed to the tunnel where the inevitable problems struck (we don’t call it our misadventures for nothing)! Lisa’s PCR test result hadn’t come back so it was off to find a doctors in France to do a PCR test and wait for the results, by some miracle we made it back to the train with 2 minutes to spare.

Congratulations Toni & 'Team CORE on Tour' on all of your achievements!

Claire, Abi and the CORE Breeder family xx