I've seen many celebrities in the press room at Crufts, and I've always left them in peace, as they're usually on a break or eating a quick meal or snack and I don't want to intrude. However, I saw one yesterday that I couldn't resist asking if I could approach. It was Endal, the dog of the millennium. His story is amazing
, he and Allen Parton found each other when each was in a very dark place, with a future that looked bleak. Despite that Endal became Allen's assistance dog, and the bond between them is heart warming. I can't read the story without my eyes filling up - but you know by now I'm like that about dogs!
So there I was with Endal just a few feet away. I wanted to leave him in peace, but I really wanted to say hello to him. I wavered, but in the end I asked Allen if I and Jenny could go and say hello, which we did. He was lovely, and I'm so glad I broke my celebrity rule. Allen was telling me that Crufts 2009 would be Endal's last public appearance, and after that it would be a full retirement for him. I hope it's a long and happy one. EJ (Endal Junior) is ready to take Endal's place at Allen's side, and I hope they develop an equally strong partnership.
Allen now writes a blog in the magazine Dogs Today, and there is also a book of their story Endal: How One Extraordinary Dog Brought a Family Back from the Brink.
I also caught up with the determined SOFA club (http://speaking-out-for-animals.co.uk/SOFA/index.html) with their wonderful teacher Sue Cole. They are mounting a campaign to have microchipping made a legal requirement. The TV vet Marc Abraham is their patron, and was extremely enthusiastic about the group when I spoke to him about them. It was certainly refreshing to meet such a group of articulate, determined and thoroughly polite young ladies. I hope they achieve their aim - and I suspect they will!