By Julie Hill
Do you live in the UK? What are you doing on Saturday 5th August 2006? Well if you like dogs, there's only one place to be - the Wag and Bone Show.
This is an excellent day, where people and dogs meet together to celebrate the joyous relationship between the two species.
This year the show is being held at Windsor Great Park, in Berkshire, starting at 9.00a.m. running through until 6.00p.m. The event is in aid of several animal charities, and also provides a chance to view and participate in a wide variety of dog-related activities.
Those who like to shop til they drop can indulge, and it's a wonderful opportunity to fall into conversation with fellow dog lovers about our favourite subject; our dogs!
As ever, there are many competitions for you and your dog to enter. In the Top Dog competitions, there are categories such as Prettiest Bitch and Handsomest Dog. To highlight the wonderful companions that rescue dogs can become, your dog can complete in the category of Rescue Dog or Bitch.
There are also classes such as Waggiest, Loveable Rogue, and Melting Expression.
Perhaps one of the most interesting classes is Doggie Family, in which the judge will be looking for two or more dogs cohabiting in harmony.
If your dog is in great shape, or a golden oldie, there are also the classes Shining Example and Seven and Up.
Pup Idol is a canine talent competition. If your dog is capable of amazing tricks or stunning stunts, get an application form now.
If your dog is like mine, and his most noticeable skill is patterning your floor with muddy footprints, then stand ringside with the rest of us and marvel at the antics some owners have managed to persuade their dog into performing.
Last time I attended this competition, I vowed that before the month was out I would have taught my dog similar party pieces, so guess where I'll be this year? Yes, ringside with everyone else, mouth agape, urging my dog to watch and hopefully learn.
The Look-alikes competition is always great fun, and is a testament to how inventive poeple can be in their attempts to mimic their dog's appearance.
Take some advice though, the event takes place in August, when the weather may well be hot, so dresing head to foot in fur in imitation of Fido just might land you in the medical tent with heat exhaustion.
That aside, get creative with the face paints and hair dye!
If you know a person or dog with an outstanding story, let the wag and Bone Show know, and they could be in line for an award. The organisers are looking for any unsung heros out there, this could be a dog, or a person who has achieved something dog-related in a private or personal capacity.
Maybe your own dog has made a fundamental difference in your life. Whoever it is, if you feel they deserve a reward, now's your chance - get nominating!
There are many attractions to both watch and take part in at the show. Games Zone is great fun for humans and canines. Games of chance, and those requiring some input from your dog are available, and provide a wonderful way for everyone to have fun and relax.
If you want to help your dog relax even further, find out how at the Tellington Touch ring.
If you want excitement, try the Essex Dog Display Team.
Dog trainer and expert Gwen Bailey will be on hand to offer advice.
The Barbara Sykes Sheepdog Experience will help you to understand that popular but potentially problematic breed, the Border Collie.
As on previous occasions, there will be the chance for you and your dog to complete in a record attempt. When we attended, we took part in the attempt to break the record for the most dogs performing a simultaneous sit. Not only was this a great opportunity, it was a welcome rest in the general hurly burly of the day, and a chance to fall into conversation with owners of other dogs nearby.
I remember we were near to a Newfoundland dog and his owner, who was busy being quizzed on life with such a big dog.
Various charities and organisations will be providing displays of the services their dogs offer, along with activities such as flyball and agility.
Rescue Village features a subject close to the heart of the Wag and Bone - offering tips on how to rescue a dog, and ways to celebrate success stories.
All the fun and enjoyment is in an excellent cause, with seven animal charities benefitting; Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, The Blue Cross, The Kennel Club Charitable Trust, Dogs Trust, PDSA, RSPCA, and Wood Green Animal Shelters.
This is a massive event that manages to maintain a friendly atmosphere. In 2005 over 13,000 people and their dogs enjoyed this event, and the 2006 show is set to be just as great.
The only way to really understand the Wag and Bone Show is to experience it. You and your dog are assured a great day, so for further details, and to order tickets or enter competitions check out the Wag and Bone website See you there!