On Sunday 9th October 2016 the sun came out to play at the Midlothian Science Festival event at Vogrie, and so did a small army of dogs, bringing their families and loved ones with them: this was Dog Day. The day was the product of woven interaction between a vast array of canine loving parties; the Midlothian Dog Training club, the Royal Dick Vet School (vets and students including many from the Jeanne Marchig Centre for Animal Welfare, and the student led charity ‘All4paws’), research scientists from the Roslin Institute, the Dogs Trust, Guide dogs for the blind, Canine concern Scotland, Canicross and more. More than 400 people representing all age categories from toddler to pensioner (and their dogs) came along from across the Lothians and beyond, to absorb the vast amount of canine knowledge and enthusiasm on offer. Activities included hands-on workshops such as clicker training, trick training and dealing with dog anxieties, and there were even ‘dog sense’ workshops for the very young. A host of canine science drop-in activities involving dog genetics, behaviour and husbandry kept the audience well engaged, with an average dwell time of nearly two hours. The learning was enhanced with a variety of live dog games and demonstrations including agility, obedience and the hilarious temptation alley which had some dogs feasting on sausages while their handlers tried, but failed, to demonstrate recall. Local volunteers from the Rotary Club and the Scouts kept order and provided sustenance and the crew from St Andrews ambulance, along with volunteer vets from Edinburgh University kept everyone and their dog safe and well. The event was a huge success summed up by these two feedback comments; ‘Better than Crufts’ and simply ‘Do it again’!
(Thank you Heather McQueen, for the blog)