Thursday, 05 August 2021

Pippin the puppy is Top Dog

A PUPPY named Pippin has been crowned Henley’s Top Dog 2016.

A PUPPY named Pippin has been crowned Henley’s Top Dog 2016.

The four-month-old border collie is owned by James and Melinda Dalzell, of New Road, Shiplake.

Pippin, whose full name is Phillippa Longsocks, was one of almost 40 dogs entered in the competition, which had an Olympic theme.

The Dalzells, who were married in June, win hundreds of pounds worth of prizes, including lunch at Henley’s Leander Club with double Olympic silver medallist Debbie Flood, a large portrait of Pippin by artist Clive Hemsley, of Hart Street, Henley, and an Olympic-themed bouquet from Bluebells florist in Reading Road.

Mrs Dalzell, 26, a dog trainer, said: “I was over the moon when she won but I couldn’t believe it because there were so many lovely entries. Their photos all looked amazing.

“I’m sure Pippin will love her prizes. I’m looking forward to having lunch with Debbie Flood. It will be really interesting as I’m friends with Olivia Carnegie-Brown, who won silver in the women’s eight at Rio, and James’s father David used to row for Shiplake College.”

The couple entered a series of pictures of Pippin competing in “Olympic sports”, such as tugging on her toy rope, catching a ball in her mouth and “herding” a toy sheep, accompanied by some amusing text.

The four judges were unanimous in their choice of winner.

Aspen Weatherburn, owner of dog groomers Naughty Mutt Nice in Reading Road, said: “As always, the judges oooh’d and ahhh’d at all the lovely photos that were sent in.

“Pippin took the coveted title for a couple of reasons — not only did Mel and James really embrace the theme ‘Olympics’ but they also sent in a plethora of really great photos. The staff at Naughty Mutt Nice are looking forward to meeting Pippin!”

Mrs Dalzell has been working as a dog trainer for the past year and recently launched her own business, Smart Paws.

She had studied molecular medicine at the University of Sussex but decided she was more interested in animal behaviour after graduating and also wanted a pet of her own.

She decided to enter Pippin on the recommendation of her mother-in-law, who had entered her English sheepdog Mollie in a previous Top Dog competition.

Mrs Dalzell said: “I thought I’d give it a go because it’s a bit of fun and a nice thing for the community.”

When Pippin is older, she hopes to enter her in agility contests. She will start training her for this when she reaches her first birthday.

Mrs Dalzell said: “She’s a lovely addition to our family. She’s really excited by everything and will put anything she finds on the floor in her mouth, though she’s generally pretty calm so I’ve been able to do some training with her.

“We regularly take her to Mill Meadows to meet other dogs and she loves swimming — sometimes she’ll even try to jump into her water bowl! It’s like having a toddler.

“I can’t put into words what she means to me. I’ve always wanted a dog of my own and can’t wait for her to be a bit older so that we can take her for longer walks and do some agility work.

“I’m not interested in things like Crufts where she has to look a certain way but it would be good to teach her some working skills she could demonstrate.”

The first prize also included a groom with spa treatments at Naughty Mutt Nice, a full health check worth £130 at the Henley Veterinary Centre in Reading Road, a selection of Lily’s Kitchen organic dog food and a four-week agility course with Healey’s Hounds, of Maidenhead.

The competition runners-up were Monty, a seven-month-old Yorkshire terrier-Jack Russell cross belonging to Philippa Froud, of Bix, and Pax, a Jack Russell belonging to Nola Lloyd.

They both win a health check at the Henley Veterinary Centre, a dog service wash worth £30 at Naughty Mutt Nice and a selection of Lily’s Kitchen organic dog food.

Miss Froud said: “I wasn’t expecting this at all but it’s exciting news and I’m sure Monty will love his prizes.

“He is very hyperactive and a little bit mad. He’ll wake you up early and as soon as you’re out of bed he’s there playing with his squeaky ball. We live on a farm and whenever we take him for a walk he usually barks at the cows.”

The competition, now in its seventh year, is run by the Henley Standard and Naughty Mutt Nice.

The judges were Ms Weatherburn, Erik D’Arcy Donnelly, of the Henley Veterinary Centre, Henley Standard editor Simon Bradshaw and Debbie Flood.

Mr Bradshaw said: “Once again, the standard of entries was very high with some superb photographs and witty words.

“Thank you to everyone who entered as I know you brightened up many readers’ lives each week and also to my fellow judges, Bluebells, Clive Hemsley, Henley Vets amd Healey’s Hounds.”

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