National Trust and Canine Partners together in Petworth

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PETWORTH Park was a sea of purple last weekend (September 28-29) as dogs and their owners took to the fields to get some autumn air and raise money for charity.

Nearly 150 runners and walkers took part in the Canine Partners ‘Wag and Walk’ in the sunshine.

Judging the smartest spaniel. CONTRIBUTED PICTURE

Judging the smartest spaniel. CONTRIBUTED PICTURE

Competitors, families and friends all lined up alongside their dogs for the fun run or walk which was part of Petworth House’s annual ‘Spot the Spaniel’ event.

Spaniels and dogs of all shapes and sizes went along to enjoy the two-day event which featured demonstrations by Canine Partners and Ron Sils Gun Dog’s as well as grooming demonstrations by DirtyDogz and have-a-go scurries by English Springer Spaniel Welfare, all culminating in a fun dog show.

The extremely-popular dog show featured classes for the Happiest Hound, Dandiest Dog, Cleverest Canine and Smartest Spaniel and crowds were delighted with tricks including paw-shaking, dancing and playing dead.

With up to 25 dogs per class, it was a tough job for guest judges Louise Judge from DirtyDogz dog grooming and Loius Adshead from 
the Leconfield Working Spaniel Club.

The fun wasn’t just for the canine companions though – children could make spaniel bookmarks and draw spaniel ears on the family craft table, or see how quickly they could make their way through a ‘find your way home’ maze and arrive at their new dog kennel ‘home’.

Luke Stevens, seven, from Chichester said: “Today has been lots of fun, my favourite bit is the maze and I’ve had three goes to try to beat my best time!”

Keen runners and families alike set off on the 5k course at 11am on Sunday. The purple hairy headbands given to dogs and owners who completed the walk could be seen well into the afternoon.

And first back was runner Leigh Mariner. Leigh, of Sunnyside Cottages, Petworth, ran the hilly course around the 700-acre park with pet spaniel Poppy by his side.

The 25-year-old completed the 5k track past some of the park’s most beautiful features including the lake immortalised by Turner.

Leigh said after the event: “It was a great run, 
I did it last year and thought I’d do it again to support the charity.”

Jill Green, Canine Partners’ head of regional fundraising, said: “I’d like to thank everyone who took part and who either ran or walked at Petworth Park for us.

“Every pawprint and footstep walked on Sunday will have raised funds to 
help us create more partnerships.

“It was a fantastic day and we’d like to thank Petworth House and the National Trust for inviting us to take part.”

For further information and upcoming events, visit www.caninepartners.org.uk

Pictures courtesy of the National Trust, Canine Partners and Clive Bennett Photography, Midhurst.