. After a week of blazing sunshine the organisers of the Friends of RSPCA Southridge Funday woke up on Sunday to be greeted by dark clouds and showers.
‘I thought, oh no, go away said Terry Pavey, chairman of the charity. ‘It’s taken us months to organise, please don’t let it be a washout.’
Someone must have been listening because by early morning it had brightened up and the crowds descended on Southridge in Packhorse Lane, Ridge, in droves to make it one of the most successful fundraising events ever.
‘Visitors and stallholders alike all said what a great time they had and how much they were looking forward to next year’ said Terry.
Old favourites Hotshots Flyball kicked off the entertainment with a thrilling display, inviting mums and dads and children at one stage to see if they could outrun the dogs. Hotshots also had a separate area for dog owners to let their own pets have a go.
Dima Yeremenko, of Good Boy Dog School, Barnet, drew the crowds with a display of obedience training, and with dogs George and Ted performed to Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller.’
Etcetera Morris Men and Rhythmix Dance Academy, from Potters Bar, also gave up their time to entertain while nearby farrier Martin Humphrey demonstrated the art of shoeing a horse. Mr. Punch, with poor old Judy, was not short of fans either, with three shows to wide-eyed children. That’s the way to do it!
This year there was a special item, The Living Work of the Friends, which highlighted the work of the charity, the fundraising arm of the animal centre. Terry Pavey told the crowd that this item typified the work of the Friends, highlighting where the money raised that day would go, helping the many animals with medical problems to find homes with the Friends paying some if not all the veterinary bills. He then introduced Tea and Biscuit, Angel and Buster, four special dogs all needing homes .
Tea and Biscuit once had a good home with owners who were truly dedicated, living with the same family all their lives. But the family fell on hard times, losing their home and their income, so the dogs came to Southridge.
Biscuit was not well, struggling to keep up with Tea even though at times it looked as if he would fall over. Staff tried to build him up as you would any old, skinny dog, but he did not improve—he actually got worse, constantly sick and getting thinner and thinner. Watching him trundle around the compound with Tea, his devoted friend, getting slower and slower, weaker and weaker, was really upsetting.
The Friends paid for further tests on Biscuit, who was diagnosed with stones in his gall bladder, and he underwent surgery to have it removed. Then he began a miraculous recovery, going from strength to strength, almost puppy-like bouncing around.
Terry told the crowd that Tea and Biscuit were really special dogs and would love someone to come forward with the offer of a home: they were good with other dogs and children, travelled well and were happy being left on their own for a few hours.
The Friends would cover the costs of their existing medication.
Angel was a pretty nine-year-old with a tumour in her nose undergoing treatment in an attempt to shrink it. Angel found living in kennels very stressful and was desperate for a home. ‘We do not know how successful Angel’s treatment will be but what we do know is that she should be in a loving home enjoying what time she has left’ said Terry.
Angel had a huge zest for life, loving a game of fetch, going for walks and having tummy rubs. She would be better as the only pet in the house.
The Friends would pay all of Angel’s veterinary costs.
Buster, at the age of 11, was desperate for a new home where he could spend the rest of his days in luxury. He was rescued by the RSPCA after an Inspector received a complaint about a neglected dog—he was literally skin and bone, described by the RSPCA in a Press release as a ‘walking skeleton.’
Buster would prefer to be the only pet in a home, although he wouldn’t mind sharing his retirement with a female dog, but no cats. He liked company so could not be left for long periods on his own.
Again, said Terry, the Friends of Southridge would cover all his veterinary costs.
The day ended with two favourites, Best Southridge Rescue and Best in Show.
Best Southridge Rescue, explained Terry, gave the staff and volunteers the chance to meet again the many dogs they had looked after while at the centre waiting for homes, and to pay tribute to the real rescuers, the owners who had given them a chance. Without people coming forward and offering homes the work of the staff and volunteers would count for nothing: it was impossible to choose a winner of this heat, all the dogs were winners, so each would receive a First Place rosette, making all of them joint winners.
Rufus, a young Belgian German Shepherd, was voted by the judges Best in Show.
Rufus is owned by Maria Kokkinof and Matt Wojcik, of Ganders Ash, Watford. He was rescued from a multi-dog household and rehomed following an RSPCA investigation.
‘When we saw him at Southridge he was bright-eyed and bushy tailed, and when the staff told us he had been through a tough time this made us want him even more’ said Maria.
‘When we first got him he was full of energy…he liked eating shoes and eating the sofa! He’s much calmer now and loves cuddles. We bought him a paddling pool because of the hot weather. He was wary at first but now he loves it, splashing everybody.’