There were a lot of people who were looking forward to the start of May this year – why you ask? Because the Dog Lovers Show was coming back to Melbourne! Over the weekend of the 1 – 3 of May 30,000 people descended on the Royal Exhibition Building to immerse themselves in all things dog! With 250+ exhibitors, 500 dogs and celebrities galore, the Dog Lovers Show was one crazy, fun filled event.
So what is the Dog Lovers Show all about?
The Dog Lovers Show brings exhibitors from all walks of the pet world to the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne. This years show was the biggest by far and for the first time stands covered both the ground and upper levels of the building making for double the fun of last year!
In addition to every type of dog related business stalls, there were also demonstrations and talks put on in the various stages and arenas around the show.
The Rose-Hip Vital Arena featured demonstrations from Dr Katrina Warren and our favourite border collie superstars The Wonderdogs! I tell you what, watching these pups ‘Go to School’ made me a little ashamed about how much I could be training Kate more! These dogs were amazing! Farmer Dave was also on show with his Muttley Crew showing us how rescues can become amazing working dogs.
Our favourite displays though were from Australian Service Dogs. These are dogs that go above and beyond with their handlers and not only help us when we most need it but also make Australia a safer place to live. These are the Search and Rescue Dogs, Police Dogs and scent detection Dogs from the Australian Customs & Border Protection Service. These dogs put themselves on the line for us, and it was an honour to meet both them and their amazing handlers who dedicate their lives to training and caring for them.
Australian Service Dogs were celebrated in a big way at this years show. To commemorate the 100 year anniversary of WW1 and the ANZAC Centenary, Nigel Allsopp, President of the Australian War Animal Memorial delivered captivating seminars about the history of our four-legged Diggers. Australian Army Veterinary Officer at the School of Military Engineering (SME), Major Kendall Crocker also made a rare Melbourne appearance to talk about the veterinary support given to Australian Military Dogs.
The display was incredibly moving and always filled to the brim with people, it was wonderful to see these dogs being remembered and honoured for their service past and active.
Responsible pet ownership and understanding dog behaviour was also a major theme of the
event with educational talks from Australia’s top dog experts on the KONG Celebrity Vet Stage. I walked by a few times and was privy to lots of Q&A sessions where the audience could ask their vet and behaviour questions of the experts including Dr Jack Ayerbe, Peter Hitchener, Dr Bruce Syme, Laura Vissaritis and the Lort Smith Vets.
Upstairs was the Canidae Rescue Dog Zone where visitors could meet dogs from a wide array of shelters and rescue groups around Victoria. As you all know rescue is incredibly close to my heart as Kate is a rescue herself and we are foster carers for the same rescue we adopted her from. I loved walking around, meeting some very special dogs looking for their forever homes. The volunteers are amazing people, and their dedication to helping animals just shone through when chatting to them.
The mezzanine level was just all about the puppy cuddles! Not only was the Royal Canin Breed Showcase on display to meet and learn about the different breeds of dog out there, but the Pat-a-Pooch station was as well! I got to meet one of the biggest puppies I’ve ever come across – a 15 month old Leonberger! Believe it or not he still has more growing to do and at 65kg he will probably put on another 20kg before he’s done.
There were heaps of breeds on display from Newfoundlands and Huskies, to Chihuahuas and Bichon Frises. Please don’t judge me too harshly, but I found out that a Bichon Frise was not a dessert like I’d thought all along – but an adorable little fluffy dog!
One of the coolest bit of tech at the show was the Perfect Match zone. Here was a poster display of 30 odd dog breeds and their descriptions and 8 ipads. You answer a questionnaire based on your lifestyle and it tells you what dog breed you are most suited for! It was one of the most popular areas of the show, and I love that it was promoting responsible dog ownership in a fun and captivating way.
The Dog Lovers Show is great as it brings people from all walks of life together to promote something we all care about – how to care for our dogs to the best of our ability. I came away with heaps of new found information, gear for Kate and many new friends. We had an amazing time at the Dog Lovers Show, and we can’t wait for next years!