Last weekend we were lucky enough to win tickets to the National Pet Show at the NEC in Birmingham courtesy of Mumsnet, with accommodation at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. As it was my birthday weekend, we decided this would be a great birthday trip!
Struggling with mobility due to heart and back problems, I had to acknowledge that there was no way I could manage walking around a huge exhibition all day. I really didn’t want to spoil the weekend for everyone though, or pass up the great prize. Therefore, I decided to hire a wheelchair from the NEC. I rang to book in advance and found out there were no electric scooters left. So I had to hire a manual wheelchair and ask for a push! (From the Hubby, although the kids both had a turn too and found it quite hilarious!).
So I had wheels and was entirely at the mercy of the rest of my family. Scary! The exhibition hall was huge, but easy enough to find our way around thanks to a very comprehensive guide booklet. It was a very busy, very popular show.
My kids were absolutely in their element. There was the perfect mix of stalls and actual animals you could meet, talk to and pet. I was so relieved at this, as the boys would have been so bored if it was all pet food and flea treatments being pushed at us!
We met so many lovely pet owners, and so many gorgeous pets. There were also some great rescue charities, and working dogs too. We really enjoyed the dog section, where we were introduced to lots of breeds we didn’t know about, as well as lots we know and love. Most were very friendly and able to be touched/stroked. Toby was all ready to take one home, so many times!
We saw so many beautiful cats too, many of whom were multi-champions, and all were absolutely beautiful. We couldn’t touch quite as many of them, but some were friendly and bold enough to say “hello”.
There were several arenas with shows and presentations, but these were extremely popular and often too crowded for us to be able to see, which was a shame. Daddy is an impatient fellow and doesn’t like standing in big queues, so was reluctant to wait to get a seat for the big shows such as ‘Supervet’ Noel Fitzpatrick or Michaela Strachan. Never mind, we spotted Michaela at breakfast in the hotel anyway!
Not to be disappointed though, we caught some great talks in the smaller areas, and a fantastic display by Lucy Heath and Indie (‘Trip Hazard’ BGT 2016 Finalist) with a brilliant demonstration of training your dog to do heelwork to music. My kids have been trying to train our dog to do the tricks ever since!
We also watched a Nerf demonstration which was so much fun! Yes, there are Nerf guns for dogs which fire tennis balls!
Ultimately, we actually purchased a Nerf stomping toy which the boys preferred (as they said it went further!
We met the cutest dog, Doug the Pug, who has written his own book. He also goes into schools to read with children. That was another pet which Toby wanted to bring home! He was also quite keen on some of the reptiles, which I stayed well away from, and I definitely drew the line at a giant millipede which Hugo had a little hold of!
I must admit I was as bad as the kids when it came to wanting to take home some pets. We were all really smitten by the chickens from Fresh Start For Hens, and had some lovely cuddles from these gorgeous rescued creatures. I’m also a big softie when it comes to rabbits, and found myself saying yes when asked “can we get some, mum?” about these too. Hubby says no, of course. We travel a lot, and already have to get the cat and dog looked after. The addition of chickens and/or rabbits might just make it too much!
In summary, we think the National Pet show is a great place to go if you are thinking about a pet and want to find out more, or if you are an animal lover and want more information. It’s great to meet other owners and their animals. We had a fantastic time, and would love to go again next year!
(Sorry about the photos – it was very busy and hard to get a good shot!)
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