How to sum up this year at Crufts: What a Fabulous Atmosphere, camera, action, cakes, fun and friendships and a day full of laughter, add to that 166 Wolfhounds and it's true to say it was a delightful and memorable day for all.
On a more solemn note, our thoughts and prayers are with you Chris and your family at this sorrowful time. Despite the recent and sad loss of a family member, our breed specialist Chris Amoo put on a brave face indeed. Drawing a very well deserved huge entry from both UK and the continent including 9 Bonaforte Wolfhounds and although it wasn't our day in the ring all our owners who exhibited said how very kind and gentle he was with all the hounds.
Our beautiful Creamy (Ice Cream von der Oelmühle) came out in veteran for her last showing with Neil. We were so proud to see her powering around that big ring- the matriarch of the kennel. She had 2 of her sons showing on the day Anthony and Penny's Harker (Bonaforte's Amadeus) and our very own Bertie, (Bonaforte's Earl Grey) Our thanks to Maggie Holder for handling Bertie to 3rd place in a very strong limit class. These two have such a unique bond, and Bertie instantly recognises Maggie's empathy.
Continuing the family theme and to our delight two of Creamy's grandsons, Norris (Bonaforte's Odyssey) and Rupert ( Bonaforte's Opulence with Claddaghwolf) and her granddaughter Bonaforte's Ophelia was having her first outing, handled by Linda and what a fab pair they made. Julie and Arthur (Bonaforte's Meldrew) deserve special mention as despite only starting showing last summer they proudly took their place and it was great to see them confidently powering around the ring.
The Show Stopper is always Phil's Jacket, as we all waited with a sense of excitement for the unveiling of the show jacket and he didn't let us down. A particular eye-catching green shamrock themed jacket and tie meant that he and Stan (Bonaforte's Justice) caught everyone's attention in the ring. It is to Phil's credit that not only does he show Stan to perfection he does it with his sense of style and fun!
Then came the girls -Kenzie (Bonaforte's Kensies Kisses) who just adores Dave and this shines through at every moment. She is like a pocket rocket and puts Dave through his paces and Bonaforte's Luna giving Robin a real workout!
We are so so proud of all of our hounds. They all moved out and looked powerful strong yet graceful, and as a kennel, they represented us so well.
A very special mention too, for Ava (Bonaforte's Enchanted at Ravencrag and her delightful daughter Elsie (Ravencrag Helter Skelter) who both not only qualified for Crufts in their own right but also went the extra mile and qualified for the Good Citizen's Class - Helen Bligh you are amazing!
Of course, the ring is just one aspect of Crufts. While we are there to show the hounds, it is just as important to show the public our special breed with their excellent temperament. We couldn't be happier with the Bonaforte hounds. They were mobbed by the public all day long who don't get to see our breed up close these days. It was beautiful to see such significant and loving interactions. Everyone who came to say hello was greeted like old friends by the hounds, and it bodes well for the breed to have such great ambassadors
To say there was a party atmosphere is to put it lightly -the Bonaforte Cake Ladies brought with them delicious delights. SkyeBear and Amy were dispatched ringside with trays heaving with cakes there was the pop of a cork or two to celebrate the fact that we all made it there and survived.
Many thanks to our very own Bonaforte photographer, Hugh, for our lovely photos. Of course the group photo, a feat in itself to get all hounds and owners outside in the same place at the same time with some "guidance" from Amanda we now have a beautiful photo reminder of an exceptional day.
A very special thank you to our Show Team leader Amanda Brown, Master of Roles (aka Julie Andrews) who skipped around the ring helping Helen with the girls, organised us all, including drafting this fab to write up. Thank you.
Lastly a HUGE THANK YOU to the Family von Bonaforte ( following on in the Julie Andrews theme here) you are all very dear to my heart, exceptional owners and friends, united by our love of Irish Wolfhounds.