As with any world renowned event, there is always huge publicity surrounding all aspects of Crufts and this year’s competition was no exception. Naturally, as with any competition, the results are important and the winners are to be congratulated as they have achieved one of the highest accolades in their field. However, the old saying, although it may be a cliché, still holds true and Crufts is not just about winning, it is the taking part that matters. In the excitement of the day itself, it is easy to forget that the majority of dogs and handlers have worked hard to qualify, just to be there and for many being awarded a place in a class is secondary to the sheer thrill of being involved in the ’greatest dog show on earth’. In recent years Crufts has taken on a more social aspect as many competitors are delighted to meet up with friends, some of whom they have not seen since the previous year, and breeders get the chance to see their progeny in the show ring. For us at Bonaforte Wolfhounds this is the main focus of the day and we are overjoyed to not only see some of the hounds from our Kennel in the big ring, but to also be at the NEC surrounded and supported by owners and friends of the Kennel. It is these people that make the day such a hit and we would not usually embarrass them by naming individuals for their help and for going above and beyond the norm, but there are always exceptions! We wish to thank those friends who helped out tremendously by looking after dogs when their owners were in the ring and to those supporters who gave up so much time to take photos and record the day’s events for those who hand their hands full. A personal vote of thanks to Cathy Bateman who was a total trooper and assisted us all massively by handing out cakes and other things. We also wanted to express a sincere thank you to Caroline Sheppard, a dear friend who came to our assistance in an hour of need - Caroline shot into the ring during the Postgraduate Dog class to help Lady Katie, who was struggling to keep up with the somewhat blistering pace set by our judge, Goran Bodegard. As some of you know, Lady Katie actually has a heart condition, but she was determined to show her lovely boy, Sid (Bonaforte’s dark Sid von Moon), at Crufts. After the initial few laps of the ring moving the dogs all together, it became apparent that Lady Katie would need some assistance to continue and so Caroline rushed to her aid at a minute’s notice. Despite the fact that, in the end, Sid only wanted his mum to handle him, Lady Katie and Caroline made a cracking double act as they escorted Sid around the ring for his triangle and we are very proud of all 3 of them. Thanks again to judge, Goran Bodegard, for suggesting that Caroline ‘track’ alongside the hound and his handler, it was a very kind gesture on his part and allowed Lady Katie to fulfil her dream of handling her beloved Wolfhound at Crufts. This is the essence of Crufts - people joining together to celebrate our wonderful hounds. Another lady that we are exceptionally proud of is Zena (Hermine von der Sillerquelle bei Heliodor) who competed in Veteran Bitch class with Tina Barron and was placed second in a strong line-up. Her success in the ring was even more special as it was watched by her breeders, Viola and Wolfgang Mueller, who were sat ringside. Zena's granddaughters were also competing that day, the beautiful Ava (Bonaforte’s Enchanted at Ravencrag) and Nigella (Bonaforte’s Aishah). Huge congratulations to all on their performance in the ring and also the way in which they conducted themselves outside the ring - you are all a credit to the Kennel. The success of the Bonaforte Kennel is based upon teamwork and an event like Crufts really does bring this home. We simply could not achieve the things we have without the support of our owners, friends, colleagues and the dedicated professionals who are involved in the other aspects of the Kennel, particularly the health testing activities. At an event like Crufts the Bonaforte family seems to grow even bigger as our friends join in to make the day extra special and go out of their way to make even the most nervous owner feel welcome and an integral part of the proceedings. On a personal note, there is nothing better than standing in the ring, waiting for your turn, and being waved at by a host of smiling faces, some of whom you have not seen for a long time and some who you have never met in the flesh until that day!

Cupcakes and Wristbands We are delighted to say that the Wolfhound cupcakes were once again a big hit at Crufts this year and our helper handed out 70 cakes to people outside the ring, and sometimes inside the ring too! In fact, Crufts and cake seem to go together so well that the amazing baking ladies in the Wolfhound community really do surpass themselves and share all manner of culinary delights and Amanda Brown’s, Fiona Dawson’s and Andrea Joyce’s delicacies are the stuff of legend and almost as highly sought after as a red rosette. Another big hit this year were the Wolfhound Raising Awareness of Heart Health wristbands. These have previously been offered at heart testing sessions at the Bonaforte Kennel. They proved to be very popular at Crufts too with many Wolfhound owners who were unable to attend Crufts requesting a wristband and even overseas owners asking for information (to receive two free wristbands please send a stamped addressed envelope to the Broadholme House Farm address). Anyone that would like 2 wristbands can also send a £1 donation to the same address and all proceeds will go into our heart research fund (please see website shop for details). We are delighted that the idea has since inspired others in the Irish Wolfhound community to copy this excellent idea and produce wristbands with proceeds going to a charitable cause. Although they are relatively small, the wristbands are a huge symbol of the bearer’s dedication and commitment to the heart health and testing of our hounds and they represent our determination to take the breed forward for the future - Happy, Healthy Hounds.