The sun shone on Sunday, 7 August, at the eighth uMngeni SPCA/Hill's Township Dog Show held this year in Mafakathini, Howick. It is one of the biggest dog shows of its kind in the country and had 180 dogs and puppies competing for overall Best in Show, which was won Lisa, a cream cross-breed owned by Agnes Sbiyo, and a black Labrador cross-breed owned by Agnes Mpungase, won Reserve Best in Show.
Best in Show Agnes Sibiya, Lisa and Kay Dickenson from Hill’s with the kennel Lisa won as part of her prize.
"Lisa, the overall winning dog stood out to the judges because of her happy demeanour, her well-conditioned coat and her heart-warming rapport with her owner Agnes," said Mary Lezar of Hill's Pet Nutrition, one of the competition judges.
Unlike traditional dog shows - where the entrants often arrive in 4x4s and are groomed to perfection – some of these contenders walked kilometres to participate. And before stepping into the show ring each dog attended the clinic for a thorough health check, de-worming, rabies vaccination and dip. Instead of promoting the breeding of pedigree pooches, this dog show with a difference actively encourages the sterilisation of every entrant.
Healthy, well-loved dogs
The judges were looking for healthy, well-loved dogs that had a visibly strong bond with the owner. No dog went home with empty paws as every entrant received Hill's dog food and a new lead and collar. The Best in Show and Reserve Best in Show each went home with big bags of Hill's and a kennel.
Reserve Champion Agnes Mpungase with her beloved Nkintsela and Kay Dickenson from Hill's.
"We were delighted with the turn-out and the good condition of the entrants. 180 dogs and puppies entered we simply wouldn't manage without the help of over 30 volunteers and hard-working SPCA staff. Thank you to each and every one of them for helping to make this year’s show such a success," said the Show's founder Adrienne Olivier.
The uMngeni SPCA has been active in the area around Howick for many years. The annual uMngeni SPCA/Hill's Township Dog Show is a highlight of their outreach work. In order to reach pet owners in such a large geographical area the show changes venue each year; to date it has been held in Mpophomeni, Lidgetton and Mafakathini.
"Since the first SPCA/Hill's Township Dog Show in Mafakathini we can see a significant improvement in the dogs' health which is very reassuring, even though it did make the judges’ job all the harder as they had so many happy, healthy dogs to choose from," said Jabulani Mshengu, Field Officer for the uMngeni SPCA.
Adrienne Olivier added: "This Show not only encourages owners to be proud of their pets, it also provides the SPCA an opportunity to interact positively with hundreds of owners and give out information, encourage sterilisation, and do basic veterinary care."
Source: Press release issued by Paula Wilson Media Consulting on behalf of Hillis Pet Nutrition and the uMngeni SPCA.