Every dog DID have his day!

IT'S a dog's life.An enormous crowd of dog lovers and their faithful four-legged friends descended on Helmingham Hall for the inaugural Suffolk Dog Day.

IT'S a dog's life.

An enormous crowd of dog lovers and their faithful four-legged friends descended on Helmingham Hall for the inaugural Suffolk Dog Day.

Hundreds of ruff-and-ready competitors entered the main arena to strut their stuff, hoping to be awarded top marks by the judges. The event raised more than £20,000 for The Suffolk Foundation.

Apart from proceedings in the main arena, there were plenty of other activities on Saturday to keep both dog and owner occupied.

The dog agility ring drew a steady throng throughout the day and the 'hair of the dog' bar was well populated by those who wanted to 'paws' for refreshment.

Meanwhile, demonstrations from the Suffolk Police dog unit and the Leonberger Club of Great Britain Water Rescue team were a real hit with the crowds.

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TV's Shauna Lowry was on hand with former Blues midfielder Simon Milton and Chairman David Sheepshanks to decide which dogs would be crowned best in their class.

Mr Sheepshanks, who has two Labradors, Tilly and Mazy, also chairs the Suffolk Foundation and Ipswich Town Community Trust, alongside involvement in other charities and businesses.

The judges were tasked with sniffing out a winner in 10 different categories including 'Must have Mutt', 'Old Age Pooches (OAPs)' and 'Pins and Paws' - or the dogs and owners with the best legs!

Jenny Cook, chair of Suffolk Dog Day and owner of terrier Ralph McDuff, was delighted by the fantastic turnout.

“This is the first Dog Day we've held and it has been an overwhelming success. We've had more than 700 dogs registered to take part in the show.

“People are so keen on their dogs in Suffolk and we decided to celebrate that. The idea of the event was to have a fun day out and there have been so many children taking part with their dogs as well as adults.

“Obviously there were some professionally shown dogs on display but the key was to have fun.

Lord and Lady Tollemache have been very kind in letting us have this wonderful setting.”

The proceeds from the event will help support the work of The Suffolk Foundation, a registered charity that awards grants to local charities and voluntary groups that make a genuine difference to the lives of Suffolk people and their communities.

Among the many trade and charity stands dotted around the grounds of Helmingham Hall, were the National Search and Rescue Dog Association (NSARDA). The association provides numerous active teams throughout Britain including our own East Anglia region.

When a person of any age goes missing, it is vital that they are reached as quickly as possible. That's where NSARDA come in.

Brian Gregory the dog co-ordinates training. He said: “Our volunteers help the police to locate missing people. The dogs pick up a scent and we send them into an area where we think the person might be.

“It takes about a year to get the dogs up to standard and they are reassessed very six months.

“We are always looking for donations and land to train on.”

You can visit the association's website at www.nsarda-anglia.org.

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