This year, the UK sent another delegation to Antwerp, Belgium to take part in the annual Mr Puppy Europe contest, now in its fourth year - and once again, we’ve had a terrific time of it!
Mr Puppy Europe, held at Darklands during Leatherpride Belgium, is an annual celebration of the Pups & Handlers community from across the continent. The contest forms a part of a broad programme of pup-related activities across the weekend, which also includes a pup area called Camp K9 with its own activities and team of volunteers to create a fun space for pups to play.
Though it’s a contest, and though the competition itself is taken seriously, there’s a strong element of both fun and community behind what we do. Every year, pups from different countries meet up in Antwerp and compete alongside (not against) one another in a spirit of camaraderie. In a sense, the point of the contest isn’t so much the award of the title, as it is the bringing together of pups and friends from all over. The title, the medals and the placement serve as a playful element of friendly “sibling” rivalry. That’s why the contest happens alongside the unstructured free play of Camp K9.
Every year, the programme evolves and the contest changes, though the main feature - pups from different countries coming together in celebration and friendly competition - always remains. This year, the eight contestants, two of whom were from the UK, got to enjoy a dog agility run and puppy mosh at Camp K9 and sit for an interview with five prominent title holders from across the world, before five of them delivered a speech and gave a performance, and three were awarded prizes. For the first time, the title prize went to France, followed by the second position awarded to Austria and the third to the UK. That said, every single one of the contestants did splendidly, and we are enormously proud of all of them!
Puppai Buumi of Birmingham and Nox Arcanine of Newcastle, both from the Pack of 2017 from last year’s Mr Puppy UK contest, made sure that British pups were represented over the contest weekend, and it was a joy to watch them both in action! Their exuberance, friendliness, and puppy playfulness served them both very well, and it was especially encouraging to hear them offer up their ideas and enthusiasm for the pup community during the course of the contest.
Though the Mr Puppy Europe contest itself lasts only for the weekend, the title and the committee behind it, like the community, are active year-round. Chaired by KittyRony of the UK, and joined by myself, Kriszly of the Netherlands and Farex of Belgium, the committee’s job is to oversee the annual contest and maintain the title throughout the year. Contestants often remain involved long after the contest officially closes, and it’s heartening to see friendships forged over contest weekend grow and develop over the years. All eight contestants are invited to the annual Mr Puppy UK contest here, and every year, we’re lucky to have pups from Darklands join us for our own national election!
You can find out more about the UK at Mr Puppy Europe on our website at http://mrpuppy.org.uk/being-mr-puppy-uk/mr-puppy-europe
We’d like to welcome Matt, our newly elected Mr Puppy Europe, to the title, and offer him our enthusiastic support, and wish him a successful, fun-filled, and action-packed title year ahead!
With lots of puppy love,
Vice-Chairman, Mr Puppy Europe Organising Committee
President, The Mr Puppy Team
Runner-Up, Mr Puppy Europe 2015