Once upon a time there were three bears...

Paddington at 13 weeksIt's Dogs in Need and time Doug and Geraldine Smith are off to an agility show in Suffolk with their three bears - Rupert, Big Max, and their new puppy Paddington. Their two old girls - Toyah, a Yorkie and Katie, a cross - are also tagging along. Baby bear Paddington reads from his diary...

Lots of people make a fuss of me saying 'What a nice little puppy. What is he?' I thought they were supposed to know dogs. I am a Schipperke, a Belgian barge dog.

Monday Monday
We have all got our own cages in Dad's car and a big kennel on wheels behind us called a caravan. We're off to glorious Ipswich.

Max, Rupert & Paddington with DadThe day starts well and after two hours Dad has us at the showground. I can't believe it. There are caravans everywhere - and dogs, dogs and more dogs. Actually most of them don't look like real dogs- not like us Schipps. They are all different colours, browns, whites, black and whites and some are all different colours. They can't be as goods as all blacks, can they?

We can't wait for tomorrow when Rupert competes in Agility, so it's early to bed for all of us.

Paddington at 5 monthsTuesday starts early in Suffolk
At 6.30am Dad takes us all out for a little walk while Mum puts the beds away and gets our breakfast ready. Soon after, Dad and Rupert go off to the rings, to do Ru' s Jumping round.

When they come back, Dad isn't very pleased. Ru stopped half way round to 'rest' before finishing the round. After another two hours, off they went again. When they got back, Rupert told me that it was much too hot for us black dogs to go racing round the ring. I'll have to remember that one. Again Dad wasn't pleased.

Later on Mum took me round all the rings. There are lots of dogs tearing round the courses with their handlers trying to keep up with them. Mum told me that one day I'll be doing that. I can't wait. Most of these dogs are a lot taller than me, and don't take any notice of a little 17 week old puppy like me. One of these dogs stopped and put his cold nose on my bottom, I really told him off, Mum said I was the naughty one. There's no justice is there.

I meet Ben and Toby, two other Schipperkes and their mum Janice. Ben's getting on a bit, and is a bit grumpy with puppies but Toby is a handsome golden colour. I like him.

The rest of the day is very lazy. You won't believe it  but I have to remind Mum that I'm a growing lad and need feeding. So I sit by my food bowl looking very hard done by. It works a treat. In the evening we go for a little walk, Dad carries me after a little way, as I mustn't walk too far. Early to bed again as I'm so tired.

Wednesday is hot hot hot
Next day is again very hot and Rupert plays up again. Just wait until I'm old enough to do agility I'll show him. I'm getting used to this life.

That night it is very noisy and there is lots of flashes of lightning. My mate Rupert is very scared but, as none of the other dogs seem to mind, then I'm NOT going to be a wimp. It's really quite exciting.

Thursday goes swimmingly
Another hot day and it's decided that we are all going to the seaside, together with another 20 dogs and their Mums and Dads. The water is very salty and keeps splashing on the sand. I don't know if I like it, but seeing all the other dogs going in and out it must be okay. Again I get carried while all the others have to walk. Aren't I lucky!

Friday - more of the same
As earlier in the week, it's very hot. Rupert doesn't want to run, but it's good for me as there is so much to see and do.

My mate RupertSaturday - the last day of competition
Dad has to go off and help run a ring all day. Rupert is worried that Dad is fed up with him, and tells me that if he doesn't run properly he might be sent to the dog's home. Dad comes back late in the afternoon to take Rupert for his last run of the week. Rupert grins wickedly at me as he goes off and Mum takes me along to watch. True to his word Rupert runs and jumps like a wonder dog. He doesn't make any mistakes and end up finishing a very good 18th out of 180 dogs. Dad is pleased, so Rupert stays and I keep my friend.

Sunday - the weather breaks
It's raining, time for other little walk and it's time to say goodbye to all my new friends. Life is so exciting for such a little lad like me. I think when I get home I'll sleep for a week. zzzzzzz

About the author
Doug Smith
is Vice Chair of Watford AC. He lives in Kenton, in NW London with his wife Geraldine and five dogs.


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