The second weekend in January, Catarina and I went to Slovenia with Birgit and Dennis. We hoped that our dogs would win their last CC:s to gain the Slovenian champion title, but mostly it gave us a possibility to meet our puppy buyers; Biljana with Lola (Kurt’s and Fia’s daughter) as well as Petra with Oskar (Simo’s and Berit’s son). After careful planning and checking of different airplane companies we finally decided to travel via Hungary to Ljubljana in Slovenia. It’s always difficult to find companies that accept dogs in the cabin – and then not one dog but two… Days passed and soon it was time for our trip and on Thursday evening the dogs were bathed and groomed and around midnight they were finished. The following morning we went to the train station at Svågertorp and from there we went to Kastrup in Copenhagen for check-in and then off to Slovenia. Neither we nor the dogs had any problems, which was nice. Dennis and Birgit are used to travelling so they aren’t worried about this at all! When we came to Budapest we had to wait for six hours for the next flight, but we sat on the benches and the dogs enjoyed coming out of their bags so it all went nicely. There weren’t many shops so we mainly spent our time reading books and tried to make sure that the dogs got some rest since lots of people were interested to see and talk to them. Five thirty in the evening it was time to leave for Ljubljana and this time we travelled with a small plane and there weren’t more than ten passengers on it. When we landed Petra and Oskar were there to pick us up and it was really fun to meet them both again since it was two years since we last met. The airport was situated about 20 km from Ljubljana so on the way to our apartment we had the opportunity to talk for a while. In the centre of Ljubljana the apartment we had rented was to be found, and Biljana and Lola was already there waiting for us. It was nice to meet them again since we hadn’t met them since last year when we also were in Ljubljana for a dog show. While Catarina groomed the dogs I took the others for a walk and also prepared them for Saturday’s show. Both Lola’s and Oskar’s coats were long so it took some time to groom them but the result was very good. On Saturday morning it was the same procedure as always before a show; first walk the dogs then prepare them for the show. When we arrived at the dog show we got a parking place just outside the entrance, so it was really easy to bring everything into the exhibition centre and while Catarina and I searched for the ring, Biljana arranged everything with the numbers and the payment. It’s great to have someone that know the language and can help with all the practical details! Even if we are used to show abroad there are so many differences in all countries… The bichons were the second breed to be judged, after the maltese, and the judge was from Spain. Besides our four Hardy-Flap’s dogs there was one junior male from Croatia entered. The dogs were alone in the different classes and therefore they weren’t competing for the same CC:s. After the junior male had been judged it was time for Oskar to show himself in the ring. I showed Oskar since he hasn’t been shown for a while, but he did very well and received excellent as well as CC. Then it was time for Dennis, shown by Catarina, and also he won and got the CC. Dennis was then best male and won the CACIB. Among the bitches, Lola won open class with CC and Birgit won champion class with CC. Then Biljana and Lola put on a great show and Lola was best bitch with Birgit on second place. The judge liked Lola a lot so she was also BOB. During the afternoon we met a good friend from Croatia, Niksa, and together with his friends Dada and Brane we went to a wonderful Italian restaurant and had a fabulous lunch. Dada and Brane own restaurant Favola and if you are in Ljubljana you have to visit it – the food and the service are superb! We had so much fun together and had some good laughs. It’s so much fun to meet new nice people when one is out on a trip. We hope we can repay Niksa, Dada and Brane for the good lunch – some day they hopefully come to Sweden? Since our friends’ tibetan mastiff Buddha had been BOB, all of us had dogs that were going to participate in the finals so in good time for the finals we once again went to the show. Once we were back it was almost time for the finals so we only had time to walk the dogs and prepare them for the show ring. The finals began and the different groups were judged one by one. Birgit and Dennis competed with more than 25 different couples for a Polish judge. This was the first time in one year that they were competing together, but they walked so well together that it was amazing! We were lucky and the judge gave us the first place and Birgit and Dennis were BIS-couple. Then we had to run to the prejudging ring where Catarina, Biljana and Petra were waiting with the breeder’s group. And among 20 groups we were placed third by the Spanish judge. When it was time for group 9, Biljana and Lola entered the ring as if they owned it and the Croatian judge made them group 1. We had hoped that the judge would like Lola since the same judge had judged her sister Misty as a junior and made her group 1 in Moldavia. In the BIS-final it was a Russian all-rounder that had the honour to judge but then Lola was too tired, still showing to her best, but it wasn’t enough for a top-three placing. But it really didn’t matter after all that success!!

After the large international show it was time to go back to the smaller hall for a national show that began at 5 o’clock pm. At this show the bichons were to be judged by a Swedish judge. We were the last breed to be judged and that was good since we had so much to prepare before the dogs could go into the ring. Petra had arranged everything with the documents and the entries for us so we could just enjoy until it was time for our dogs to go into the ring. We had time to take the dogs for a nice walk in the shining white snow that was to be found outside and then the dogs had to be prepared again. We also had some time for some celebration too… Some champagne to celebrate Lola’s achievements and also the other dogs was greatly appreciated! It was very tasty!
We also had a great second show, Oskar and Dennis won CC:s again and the same did Lola and Birgit. In the BOB-class Birgit beat the other dogs and was BOB. There are different regulations for the national and the international shows, at the national shows no best male or best female is chosen instead all dogs who has won there classes with excellent compete for the BOB. In the finals Birgit and Dennis was once again best couple when they beat a couple with french bulldogs. In the middle of the judging there was a large man who walked right through the ring, disturbing the judging but it all went well and we won the cup. Our breeder’s group had hard competition… we were the only (!!) group, so we were BIS for the Swedish judge. Now it was time for the big BIS-competition and it was to be judged by a judge from Serbia-Montenegro. He took two cups and he placed the small one beside the coton de tulear, this dog was placed as BIS-2. The big cup he placed beside Birgit, she won! This was the second year in a row that she was BIS at the toy club show, so it really was a happy gang that left the show centre at 10 o’clock in the evening to go to Petra’s and Oskar’s home for a late dinner. It was really nice to meet Petra’s mom again and she had prepared a wonderful dinner for all of us. We ate a lot and enjoyed our time together. We also had some champagne to celebrate my birthday (30 years) and all the success we had had during the day. This sure was a great birthday with lots of special memories. As a dessert we got a wonderful chocolate cake that Oskar’s owners had prepared and it sure was yummy! But everything has an end so also this evening, Petra was kind enough to drive us all back to the centre of the Ljubljana and that was nice because otherwise I don’t have a clue if we would ever had found our apartment again! Well, once back in the apartment we had to go to bed and then it was soon time to get up again…

Sunday morning and once again time for a show and as soon as we had arrived at the show we prepared the dogs and then we waited for our turn. And we had to wait for some time… The show was set to start at 9.30 but the judging didn’t start until after 10 since the ring stewards weren’t ready with their preparations… Our judge for the bichons was the same Croatian judge that had made Lola group-1 the day before. All our dogs won their classes with excellent and CC and Dennis was once again best male. Since Lola didn’t want to move Birgit was instead picked for best bitch with CACIB and then also BOB. In the afternoon’s finals we were once again BIS-couple for a judge from Luxemburg. I can tell you that once the show was over we were all very tired and quite happy to go back to the apartment to relax. We packed our bags and took a well deserved shower and then we went for a long walk with the dogs in the snowy Ljubljana and both we and the dogs enjoyed it. We found a restaurant and ordered some pizza and we enjoyed that with a bottle of good Slovenian wine in our apartment. Since it had been a weekend with lots of meetings with new and old friends, lots of success and little sleep we all went to bed quite early. In the morning we said farewell to Biljana and Lola since they were to go and pay for the apartment and then drive back to Croatia. Petra came and picked us up and drove all of us and the luggage to the airport. She also invited us for a fantastic breakfast with hot Italian chocolate and new baked croissants. It can’t be described, it must be experienced! Time flew quickly and soon it was time to say good-bye to Petra and Oskar. We went to the gate to wait for the plane and wait was what we had to do for a couple of hours… Our airplane was coming from Romania and they had so bad weather there that the plane was several hours delayed. We were lucky enough to be able to take the dogs for a long walk around the airport so once they came in again they were quite happy. Several hours delayed our plane finally came and the flight to Budapest went well. In Budapest we once again had to wait for the flight to Copenhagen, but it wasn’t so bad. In Copenhagen we got our bags and went through customs – and guess who was there? It was mom, Tommy and Lene who were standing there with Swedish flags and champagne to celebrate our success! We got so surprised and it was so nice! All of us had some champagne and some good laughs together. This was a really happy ending on a wonderful trip which was only possible to perform due to our wonderful puppy buyers who take so well care of their dogs and also help us in every possible way.
Stefan