Dennis has been involved in the World of dogs since acquiring his first GSD in 1949. He clearly recalls travelling to shows on public transport and the entry cost for Open shows was 2/6d (that was 12.5pence!). The prize money was 10/6d (50.25p). Championship show entries were 10/6d and first place prize money was 2 Guineas (£2.10p).
Championship Obedience classes included food refusal and you would never be warned when this was taking place! You were told to put your dogs in the ‘down’ as for stay tests, leave and stand with back to dog. The judge would then temps each dog to eat food such as liver, meat etc. Any dog accepting would lose all points.
Sendaway was also different. You would send your dog from a given point and send to maybe a chair around the ring, a knot on the rope, a ring post etc. The dog should go in a straight line. The judge told you when to send and when to drop the dog. Stay tests were always ‘tested’. Chairs would be dragged, balls thrown, rattles (the football type), and noises etc, even the judge standing at the side of each dog saying “forward” or “heel” then walking away. If the dog broke it would lose all points. Would the judge leave the show alive if that happened today? Maybe not!
Obedience at Crufts started in 1952 and was by invitation. Dennis could not attend the first year as he simply couldn’t afford it. His first appearance was in 1953 or 1954.
Dennis started judging in 1952, and judged his first Championship class in 1956. He judged up to 2001 when he retired. He has judged in Northern and Southern Ireland, the Isle of Man, Holland, Jersey and Singapore. He has judges at Crufts three times, the Inter Regional in 1984. The KCJO (now YKC) in 1993 and the Obedience Championships in 1994.
Dennis has owned three Obedience Champions, and several other dogs have been close, but not quite attained Championship status. He currently works a Collie Jaffa, he is ‘C’ only.
Dennis was involved in the foundation in 1964 of Lichfield & District Dog Training Society, he continues to support the Society as President and attends most Committee meetings and social gatherings.
I joined Lichfield Dog Club at the start of the 80’s. I had two Rough Collies, Shona and Willow, they were never shining stars but they introduced me to a sport that has kept me interested ever since. I was roped into helping in various ways very early on. I went on a Roy Hunter course and saw my first Belgian Shepherd, I was impressed and went on to own a lovely boy that I called Storm, we represented the Midlands at Crufts two years running at Novice and A. By this time I was helping with training of the lower classes.
My next dog was an anniversary gift from my husband, he came in a basket and was given to me as a surprise at Dog Club, He came in a basket so I called him Moses, he was lovely, and he took me all the way through the classes from Novice to C. He died last year on March 3rd just short of his 17th birthday. I now have another Belgian Shepherd, Nutmeg, who has also been to Crufts representing the Midlands, we had a lovely day and I was so proud of having this opportunity of representing Lichfield Dog Training Society at the greatest dog show in the world.
I was awarded Life Membership at the AGM in March 2003 a wonderful surprise. I am now helping on Friday evenings, taking the class known as “Beyond Gold” for folks who want to continue training but are not serious about competitive obedience. Being on the Committee is a privilege, I am assistant secretary and run the Companion Show for Charity each year. This year our charities are Acorn Children’s Hospice and Canine Companions.
Kath Lowe 2009
Where do I start, I have been a part of Lichfield for as long as I can remember; but I suppose I became ‘official’ in 1971when my dad Dennis Ashley purchased a Border Collie for me, his name was Limerick Sonny pet name Zhar.
By competing with him (dad even paid the entry fees) I learnt the basics of competing in competitive obedience; my next dog was a little bitch called Jess, she had a hatred of cats and would lie for hours under the tree in the garden with the cat perched in the branches. Then came Ben! Ben was famous around the shows for breaking stays, so much so that the stay stewards used to walk away from me, occasionally he would suffer from amnesia and then we usually got a place.
I love German Shepherds and have owned 2 Blitzz and Brigg, both big and hairy but complete opposites with Brigg being the gentle giant. He has taught me a lot as I have had to change my approach and he has to be gentled into anything new.
I have been going to shows since I was about 3, and helping out around shows in all sorts of ways, from putting up rings, stay stewarding helping make the refreshments in the days when clubs use to make and sell sandwiches etc. My first stewarding job was an A in my early teens at Lichfield show held at Burntwood Baths and I also steward and scribe for various people.
I have been on the committee of Lichfield since the 80’s and have held several positions from Training Co-coordinator, Secretary, Treasurer and now I am again the current Club Secretary and also championship Show Manager.
I have lots of memories regarding the past members some of whom are no longer with us and hope to gain many more with the present and future members; long may Lichfield continue, and I would like to thank our trainers for giving up their time so unselfishly to help all our members try and achieve their dreams. Life Membership awarded at AGM in March 2009.
Bev Smith 2009