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Ol’ Yakee

 I spent all day watching Crufts stream via YouTube. The highlight was undoubtedly spotting a notable dog for the third year in a row. A dog I first noticed because of his odd name, “Yakee Ooh Aah Cantona.” I know Yakee is the kennel name, but for sake of ease I just refer to him as Ol’ Yakee.

I noticed a Pekingese come into the ring during the toy judging, but I couldn’t be sure it was him until his name came up on screen. At which point I shouted “It’s Yakee!”

He does kind of seem very tired and old now, didn’t want to walk very far. Will thinks the reason I’m drawn to him is what he calls the “Ananas factor;” a “circle of ugliness on the face.”

Toy dogs are incidentally my least favourite category of dog. I’m just not into them. I think if I want cat-like features in a dog, I should just get a cat. Evidently they are very popular with other people though.

Other highlights include a dog during the agility being named “Cool Beans.”
There was a dog whose pedigree name was [something] Seance, and I think Seance might actually be a pretty good name for a dog.

One of these dogs had the word “Climax” in their pedigree name but I forget which one now.

My own bobble having a snooze.

He is like a sentient wig on the floor.

Isador’s current eye situation. Left one fell off and has been replaced with a googley eye. Sadly you can’t get dinosaur-style googleys.

Warning: Venting ahead.

The Friends for Life voting is still ongoing and I am backing Scooby and Sophie. Scooby, like Freya, is another diabetic alert dog that Medical Detection Dogs didn’t end up taking on.

On the one hand, I was waiting for them to have a space for her. When she reached the age of 4, she officially became too old for this anyway. But before that, I received anti-Semitic emails from someone at the charity (literally “We don’t want Jews”) so I stopped fundraising for them and cut my ties. Even before that, someone at the charity had me make hundreds of pounds worth of soaps and candles to sell on the Crufts stall one year, but then never actually took them and just kept them for herself. So there has always been unethical behaviour at this charity.

A couple of years later the Judeophobia was put down to a “rogue volunteer” but an apology was never actually given and ADI weren’t interested in the charity breaking such a fundamental membership rule.

I got a letter saying that they finally wanted to cancel my application for Freya, which I though was bizarre because it should have been done a long time prior, not least because she was too old. But because I was apparently still on their list in some form, I asked if they would dual-train the Canine Partner I am later matched with for fainting alerts.

The were extremely begrudging about this, and kept reiterating that they had never heard of POTS, and that it would be a lot of effort to work with an “unfamiliar condition.”
I knew this wasn’t true, because my friend Jodie was waiting for a POTS dog from them. I thought that maybe the person responding to enquiries just wasn’t aware of Jodie’s application.

Then we got an MDD newsletter in the post. They were boasting about a fully trained POTS partnership. After telling me they hadn’t heard of it.

Hella tangent.

As far as I remember, their reasoning for not taking Scooby on is that one of Sophie’s parents works with a police dog. And that’s reasoning I honestly don’t understand when this girl literally needs this dog to stay alive. As a home-trained diabetic alert dog, Scooby needs to win this.

The other valid dog in the contest is Azerley, a real Autism Assistance Dog trained by the Support Dogs charity.

There are two other entrants that honestly make me quite angry. Friends for Life is supposed to recognise Assistance Dogs, military dogs, police dogs, who have done exceptional things and saved lives. But you always get a couple of entries who think their dog should be there because it makes them happy or it has an emotional rescue story. Which is bollocks.

Rosie Reid’s story is the one I have the biggest problem with. She claims to have PTSD because she had an ectopic pregnancy. She claims she walked herself straight out of hospital after seeing an advert for puppies, as you do after a life threatening event yeah.

She has also changed her story three times about the form that the advert for puppies took. In different articles she has claimed it was in a newspaper, on TV, and then on the internet.

As someone with diagnosed PTSD, I really take issue with her. PTSD is caused by having a sustained “fight or flight” response during an event. It has to be something very violent. My event was a gang-rape. It will haunt me, through PTSD, for the rest of my life. I have very frequent nightmares during which everything feels very real. When I wake up I still feel frightened and shaken, because it seems like it’s just happened all over again. I can’t even talk to anyone about it because, no matter how much someone cares for me, the responses are “Calm down,” “That was years ago though,” “You’ve talked about this before.” etc etc. The curse of PTSD means that it is going to feel like a fresh event to me for the rest of my life.

Flashbacks are another part of the curse. They are not merely thinking about or remembering the event, but actually believing you have gone back to it. When in a flashback, I will look at the walls of my living room but be utterly convinced they are the location of my attack. It is horrifying.

I’ve had miscarriages and lost a living child but this does not compare to the violence I experienced. These would not have caused PTSD on their own. There isn’t the sustained “fight or flight.”
If this woman ever really had an ectopic pregnancy, of course she would be stressed. But being stressed, grieving, struggling to get up in the morning, are not PTSD. Stress isn’t PTSD just because it happens after something you consider traumatising. These are actually perfectly normal responses to have. The “D” in “PTSD” is for “Disorder” because it’s not normal for stress to manifest in the way it does then.

The most infuriating of her claims is that her dog “senses her PTSD attacks in advance.” I assume that by “PTSD attacks,” she means flashbacks. NO. That’s not how it works. I trained Freya to mitigate my PTSD. I founded a charity to help other people to the same (there are currently no Recognised psychological assistance dogs in England). That is not how it works.

A dog must be trained to respond to behaviour that the person exhibits, and intervene. They do not psychically know that it is going to happen. This is something that people misunderstand about Assistance Dogs though, and clearly something that this woman heard and decided to co-opt.

It isn’t shown in the video, but this woman actually has several dogs. I have to wonder why it’s only one dog that she picked to make these claims about and not all of them. Perhaps because it would be really obviously bollocks otherwise.

The other annoying entry is Louise and her crassly-named dog “Teddy Bear.” Basically, woman gets dog because she is sad. Dog, like every other pet dog, makes woman happy. Woman thinks dog is therefore exceptional and amazing. No no no.

Your dog cheering you up is not a reason for giving it an award or special status because LITERALLY EVERY PET DOG MAKES THEIR OWNER HAPPY. That’s the point of having a dog.

I find it hard to believe that these people are truly evil in wanting to squander attention meant for real working dogs who desperately need it. But they’re certainly vain.

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