A family of dog lovers took one look at the dog’s picture on the website of Many Tears Rescue. This week, Vimes and his human, Elaine Bostock, cleaned up at Crufts
When a fosterer for Many Tears Rescue wrote on Facebook that one of her former foster dogs just won a major competition at Crufts, Wunderdog’s ears pricked up. Could it be? Could a dog from the Welsh rescue charity – the one that pulls ex-breeding bitches from the most horrendous puppy farms and picks up discarded working dog and neglected pets, rehabilitates and rehomes them – now be a top dog at Crufts?
It turns out to be right. Commander Vimes (or just “Vimes” to his buddies) was adopted by Elaine Bostock and her family in 2012, when he was 15 weeks old. Elaine has plenty of experience with dogs and the world of agility training, which she and her family do for fun.
“In 2012, my first agility dog, medium-sized Pennie, was coming up to six years old, so we started considering our next dog,” Elaine tells Wunderdog. “We wanted another medium, so my husband or children could then do pairs classes with me. I was just looking through the website of Many Tears Rescue’s currently available dogs, when Vimes – then named Reny – came up. He was pictured with a young girl and was in a foster home in Didcot, which was only an hour away from us. My husband took one look and said: ‘How do we apply?’ It was love at first sight.”
The fosterer was Wendy Botto, who also loves competitive agility. “Remy came to me from another fosterer who adored him, but wanted me to find him an agility home,” Wendy recall. “He was a feisty little monkey who loved playing with my own feisty terrier, who was in the Crufts Novice Cup last year.
“I took Reny up to an agility field and he loved it. When Elaine contacted me, I was over the moon as I knew it would be a great partnership. I’ve watched them grow as a partnership and even had the pleasure of judging them myself.”
When Vimes moved in with Elaine and her family, he joined a pack of two lurchers and a spaniel-staffie mix – all rescue dogs, rehomed when they were juniors. Pennie, the spaniel-staffie who came to the family aged 11 months, was already an agility pro.
“Vimes started weekly agility classes with Nicky Holden from Paws At Play Agility Club when he was 18 months old, and we have never looked back,” Elaine explains. “Nicky [Holden] has been amazing, and I am sure we would not be where we are today without her hard work.”
But even for the best-trained dog Crufts is a place like no other. Over the four-day event, the world’s largest dog show is visited by more than 162,000 humans and nearly 21,000 dogs. Add to the staggering amount of scents an exhibition hall full of dog food, treats and toys, plus reporters and camera crews.
“Vimes is a sensitive dog, and I was concerned the whole Crufts environment would be too much for him,” says Elaine. “My hopes for Crufts were for him to enter that arena and manage to do jump one – if he achieved this, I was going to be a winner in my mind. I never dreamt he might do a clear round in all the madness.
“He found the day very tiring and, while I tried to keep him quiet and relaxed ready for the agility in the afternoon, he was very tired by that time. In the afternoon, the arena was very busy with spectators and there was a lot more noise but he just focused on me and was amazing. I cannot find the words to express how proud I was of our boy.”
Elaine and Vimes attended the Dog Agility Rescue League finals and won the agility, jumping and were the overall winners of the medium Grade 3s. The team also won the Kennel Club Novice Medium Cup final at Crufts.
In agility, dogs advance from grades 1 to 7 (7 being the highest) by winning agility or jumping classes in their relevant grade at Kennel Club-licensed events.
“Vimes is currently a grade 5, so he has placed to go,” Elaine says when asked what the duo’s next steps are. “I have every confidence our amazing little boy will be giving his all and, if we are lucky, we may qualify for a final this year.”
And all this with a rescue dog the Bostocks spotted on the website of a charity in the Carmarthenshire countryside. What’s the best thing about a rescue dog? “Rescue dogs are amazing, they rock, the love they give knows no bounds,” Elaine replies. “ They have their quirks but that just makes them more special. I don’t think we would ever buy from a breeder unless the rescue centres were empty.”
To find your recue dog, visit Many Tears Rescue