Today the Glasgow Vet School held its annual “Rodeo” at the Kelvin Campus, and we went along to check it out and help out at the Glasgow Dog Training Club stand. The Rodeo’s main purpose is to raise money for the vet school itself and for various animal charities (RSPB, SSPCA, Dog’s Trust) but it’s a really good family day out whether you have a pet or not.
There were a number of featured shows during the day including a falconry display, a demonstration of gun dog training, some highland dancing and sled racing. The gun dog training was on first. The level of control the presenter had over his dogs was very impressive. While he effortlessly arranged his dogs in a circle, then flawlessly sent them off one at a time to retrieve targets, I struggled to keep hold of my two crazy Beagles as scores of people walked past flaunting their icecreams, hotdogs and burgers.
Another target is retrieved on command…
But apparently even gun dogs can develop a pocket obsession! Maybe it was Beanie’s naughty influence…
While waiting for the falconry display to start up, we headed back to the Glasgow Dog Training Club where Beanie and Biggles got to try out the fun agility course, and sample the delights of the doggy lucky dip.
Susan and Becky take our two through the course
But it’s the lucky dip bags that really grab their interest
One of them squeaks, and Biggles wants it. Really badly!
It’s a chicken!
But just like a little kid, once it’s open he’s more interested in playing with the packaging
Finally it was time for the falconry. The show got a off to little bit of a false start when the first bird to be removed from its cage did a runner, or perhaps more accurately a flyer (Beanie and Biggles’ influence again?). It shot off to the nearby roof tops to say hello to some pigeons and didn’t respond to recall, leaving its lonely trainer twirling his lure and filling the void as best he could with bird facts:
“It can soar to hundreds even thousands of feet above the ground. It flies at over 100 miles an hour and has eyesight good enough to spot a flea on a dog’s head at over a mile away”
Yep that’s all very well. But it would be nice if it would stop buggering about with those pigeons and head back to the area so we can see the blumming thing!
Eventually it obliged – in grand style. It made several low and incredibly fast passes at the lure, wowing the crowd as it shot over their heads.
.. this little tearaway got blinkered and put back in his cage
The rest of the show more than made up for it’s slow start. The trainer talked about the history of the sporran, and how back in falconry days it was not only illegal to wear the more decorative evening version during daytime, but also dangerous. He pulled a guy out of the audience to demonstrate why you don’t really want a fluffy, feathered covered object dangling in front of your groin when their are prey birds in the air:
This guy came perilously close to being like Biggles – lacking two critical items in the family jewels department
Yep, that’s one scary bird
The owl is much cuter
But you absolutely wouldn’t want to mess with this fella!
The falconry was certainly the highlight of the day, that doesn’t mean there weren’t plenty of other sights, sounds and smells to entertain:
A ferret out for an on-lead walk
This sled dog doesn’t really seem up to the task in hand
You don’t see that very often
Blimey Beanie! Look at the size of those dogs!
I don’t know what that is Biggles, but it smells luurvely
Just before we headed off, I tracked down one attraction that I just had to see: chainsaw sculpture. When we arrived, the sculptor was applying the finishing touches to an owl using a blowtorch.
We had to wait a few minutes until he has ready to start on a new piece. The guy was quite a character – he knew everyone was desperate to see him rev up his chainsaw, so he dragged the preparations out, slowly pouring petrol into the chainsaw’s tank while a lit cigarette dangled from his mouth.
Eventually he got to work. It wasn’t exactly a reenactment of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre as I’d hoped, but it was impressive none the less.
After a few deft cuts, a new owl was already taking shape
We saw other sculptures he’d made earlier in the day, but sadly there were no Beagles among them.
When we got back home our two were tired out, despite having had very little exercise. It’s good for them to have a slow day every now and then, especially with Beagle Racing coming up tomorrow!