IMAGES: Harrogate poodle wins at Crufts 2015

Verity Watts with her Crufts winning 14 months old Miniature Poodle Angelsky Ivy Queen, pet name Alice. (1503107AM4)
Verity Watts with her Crufts winning 14 months old Miniature Poodle Angelsky Ivy Queen, pet name Alice. (1503107AM4)
  • Miniature poodle named best in class
  • First win as an exhibitor for ‘Advertiser columnist Verity
  • Crufts remains in media spotlight

Hundreds of dogs. Hundreds more owners, judges and spectators looking on underneath bright spotlights, with millions more watching on from homes across the world.

The pressure cooker atmosphere of the arena at Crufts - the dog show to end all dog shows - intimidates many, but not miniature poodle Alice from Harrogate.

For Alice, under the watchful eye of owner, groomer and Harrogate Advertiser columnist Verity Watts, was named best in her Utility Group miniature poodle junior - bitch class at the 2015 show, appearing under her official name Angelsky Ivy Queen.

Although 2015 marked Alice’s Crufts debut, it was the fifth time Verity had exhibited, having shown her doberman - now retired - four times previously, picking up second, third, fourth and highly commended prizes.

Verity, who owns pet grooming business Shampooches of Harrogate, explained the feeling of seeing her dog being named first in class: “She did amazingly for a 14 month old dog in a large class. I couldn’t believe it.

“Crufts is the pinnacle, and it was her first time, but she qualified to be there, she is used to shows.”

Despite her experience in exhibiting at the event, Verity admitted feeling the pressure before judging began.

She said: “Having given Alice a full blow dry in the hotel, we arrived very early on the Sunday, and I could already feel the pressure.

“Everyone is staring at you, they are all there for the competition.

“But when she won, all I could hear and see was screaming and excited faces!”

Verity co-writes the monthly Our Pets column in the Advertiser with Pooches Galore owner Kim Metcalfe.

Crufts has remained in the national media spotlight throughout this week, in the wake of accusations of canine poisoning and animal cruelty.

Verity, with the rest of the dog world, is waiting upon toxicology reports before forming an opinion, but told the ‘Advertiser she could not believe an exhibitor capable of poisoning an animal.

She said: “I can’t understand how any exhibitor could do something like that.

“It is a competition, but we live for our dogs. We exercise them and feed them the best food - they are completely pampered.

“My dogs are my life and I can’t see why somebody would want to do that.

“I saw what I always see at shows, happy faces and happy dogs.”