SLOSH Filming Weekend

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Dec 272016
 

At the start of the year, I became involved, through SLOSH, in helping write a script and planning for some filming which happened at a venue in Birmingham back in May. Although it was a “Wet and Messy” film, I did manage to stay clean throughout the process – the “benefits” of being backstage crew and also the techy pup on site (I took a van load of filming equipment, power distribution, microphones and props etc). … Hopefully in the not to distant future the ‘film’ will be released to the members of SLOSH 😉

However, if you do want to see some messy photos, then some films that I starred in are for sale on a website known as “UMD”, which you can sign up to for free if you want to buy them… You can buy them from http://dalmatian_productions.umd.net/ but as a special treat for readers of my blog until January 6th 2017, spotxmas2016 will get you 10% off!

However, at the end of the 3 days of filming, there was an offer from the venue owners of allowing us to make use of the equipment in the venue… so we did. Although, truthfully, we didn’t – we only made use of one piece of equipment 🙂

The venue in question, Underworld has a nice suspension frame with 4 electric winches… and I have a set of suspension cuffs, and take pleasure in being suspended – so this seemed to be a winning combination 🙂

I was suspended in all sorts of weird and wonderful directions, and eventually had some E-Stim added while I was upside down… resulting in somewhat of an explosion 🙂

Birmingham Pride – May 2016

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Dec 242016
 

The late May Bank Holiday weekend saw the annual pride festival in Birmingham, and unlike last year, I didn’t need to leave quickly this year which meant I could enjoy more of the day. Birmingham Pride was also the first event after the TV Documentary was shown… which meant it was going to be an interesting day!

Unusually, this time, I joined the Midlands Pups Walking Group and actually walked in the parade this year. While the parade is not as long as London, I was not able to complete as much of it on all 4s as I’d have liked due to the weather being particularly hot. However, it was a good time and people definitely recognised me from the documentary – with people from the crowds recognising me and shouting at me. I did my best to see as many of them as possible.

After the parade, and a quick bit of food and drink we did our usual walk around the actual Event Village… if we’d thought it was hectic and chaotic in the past, that was nothing compared to this year – given people were recognising me from the TV. I could barely walk 20 metres without someone wanting a photo 🙂

As has become semi-traditional, I found the fun fair in the village and had to go on that – fully dressed up of course!

Sep 282016
 

Congratulations to @PupPiglet on being crowned as “Mr Puppy UK 2017″… Why 2017, I here you ask? Well, because of timings, it has been decided that the title will run for a calendar year, so the election on Saturday 24th September was to find the pup who will hold the title from 01/01/2o17 until 31/12/2017; and I’ll be Mr Puppy UK until 31/12/2016.

I know I’ve been quiet on the blog recently but this has been a combination of various reasons; work, domestic and also been a fairly busy year on the puppy front too… if anyone noticed! My time to put paws to paper has been lacking but I will catch up soon… and you’ll see a flood of posts coming, in no particular order. However, this post is about the most recent event – Mr Puppy UK… so let’s get on with it. *wags*

Saturday 24th September 2016 saw the election of the forthcoming 2017 Mr Puppy UK at the Pup Social. However, this meant it was a very different social for me as my commitments as a judge to find my successor meant that I couldn’t be much of a puppy.

Before I go too far though, I’d like to extend a paw of congratulations to the 7 competitors:
Scamp
Pup Piglet
Wolfy
Buster
Pup Nox
Elektra pup
Pup Dash
who entered the contest and on having the courage to enter and participate – you are all absolutely wonderful!!!

The afternoon started with a welcome from Boss Bear and PupBrock before control of the proceedings was passed over to Sister Jacqui (@SisterJaqui on twitter) who then introduced the judges, the prizes, the sponsors and of course… the puppies competing, who also had the chance to talk to the audience for the first time. After a quick break and a quick demo by Scruff and Jacqui it was on to round 1 – the Puppy Agility course. My fellow judges and I were keeping an eye on the proceedings and scoring the pups as per the comprehensive scoresheet.

After a refreshment break (to also allow the agility course to be tidied away), it was on to the next round… the Puppy Mosh – and this was for all to join in on… and I couldn’t resist getting a better feel for the contestants by joining in and getting on the floor with them! This was a good chance to relax as the next aspect was by far the hardest one… interviewing each of the puppies with the other judges away from everyone else. Hopefully I wasn’t difficult with my questions though *paws over eyes*.

Next up was the performance round but Sister Jacqui thought that it was best to show another demo… this puppy ended up being pup-napped by Kitty and having my fur turned in to a dress! What the pups and handlers were not expecting was me to return in ONLY my pup hood and with just my paws covering my modesty! *blushes* However; it was brilliant fun to participate in this sketch and I gather it went down quite well with some of the people there 😉 😀

Jacqui’s performance obviously inspired the five pups who were moving forward to the next stage, as what followed was five excellent demonstrations from dancing through to some rope-work and even some juggling.

Unfortunately though, two pups had to leave the contest at this point. However, it wasn’t quite over for them as they had to decide on the “Dog Catcher” – a prize for the best handler in the room. After much deliberation, lots of treats and *tummy rubs*, both pups eventually agreed to a handler and the “Dog Catcher” was crowned.

A quick rest then occured while some of the admin work was done… the counting of the sticks for Pup Congeniality, and of course, the final tallying up of the scores from the judges.

As we reconvened, it was announced that Pup Dash was “Pup Congeniality”; Buster was 3rd (or 2nd Runner Up!); Elektra was 2nd (or 1st Runner Up) and then I had to do some more work. As my human personality, I hate standing up and doing public speaking, but somehow as Spot I can do so… which is just as well, as I had to make a speach! It was then announced by the honourable (dishonourable?) Sister Jacqui that Mr Puppy UK 2017 was… Pup Piglet.

Congratulations to all who entered … and the team behind Mr Puppy UK and Pup Social for an excellent event. … I have a few months more left of my Mr Puppy Title, and part of these will be used to hand over knowledge to the upcoming Mr Puppy UK 2017.

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*woofs*

Pup Social 3.2

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Apr 242016
 

Pup Social 3.2 happens in Birmingham, although this time it was in a different venue for various reasons… so, of course, this puppy HAD to go along as he was free to meet up with all my friends and to meet and make new friends *bounds round excited*

We arrived just after the start, due to some poor navigation from my owner who forgot to tell me which junction to turn off at *growls* before we went in, said “Hello” and got changed… Of course, after I got changed there was far more opportunities to say hello to people.

As the afternoon progressed, I found I was actually having more in-depth conversations with the likes of BossBear and a new puppy at his first pup event – Tommy from Sheffield. I also spent a bit of time chatting to members of the Pup Social Team and other puppies who I knew or recognised me at the event. In fact, a good part of the main part of the social was spent talking to pups rather than actually being a pup – but then, I’m more than happy to talk to people or to give advice based on my experiences of Pup Play.

I had some silly pup moments at the social … one was a quick photoshoot with Tommy which the photos can be found on the PupSocial Tumblr feed and at the end of that, someone brought in a video of 101 Dalmatians … so the photo opportunity had to be done
Spot and 101 Dalmatians
*wags*
I also was ‘caught’ being a mischievous puppy when I was showing how dexterous I can be, as I managed to tip all the treats out the treat box … unfortunately there was photographic evidence of this by the PupSocial Team *whimpers*

As the afternoon drew on, I realised it was actually time for food as it was later than I’d though! So myself and Huskin, Marbles, Frosty, Acey and a couple of others ordered some food for delivery to the venue (as the different venue allows us to stay right through the duration and allows food to be ordered in) and I ate and enjoyed that. After some more talking, it was time to be a puppy and I got fully kitted up and was then put in a puppy cage for a bit to chill and relax. The room was fairly dimly lit and peaceful, and so I dozed in and out of light sleep. Some people may think it odd to turn up to an event, but then find out I slept during some of it in a puppy cage – but for me it’s a chance to unwind and just chill out on in the safety of a puppy cage.

As the time had come for some of our friends to leave, I was let out the cage to say ‘bye’ to them, and then found myself speaking to more people about life and puppy play and me … then as the end of the night approached (about 1am GMT), it was soon time to head home as I had an early start on the Sunday. Then came the bombshell – the clocks went forwards *whimpers* which now meant I wouldn’t be getting home until about 3 / 3:30 am BST … and an early start to the Sunday … *puppy mistake*

As I said goodnight to people, I had another long chat with Tommy at the event and hopefully helped him out a bit! I may not have been a puppy in the full mischievous sense during this Pup Social, but I enjoyed the time talking to people, helping them and also learning and reflecting about me too!!

What an awesome venue to hold PupSocial in though!!! so much play space and so much to do … I hope they can hold it there again *wags*

*wags*
Spot

Nov 232015
 

On the weekend of the 21st November, the first ever Mr Puppy UK event was held at the Pup Social in Birmingham. I was a late entrant to the competition though, as my ability to attend was looking doubtful until almost the last moment.

After an uneventful journey there, I arrived at the venue, and started to get nervous about entering, so made the decision to have a drink and calm down and think about it… so I changed in to my outfit, had a drink and thought about it while saying hello to the pups around that I know and generally chatting.

I eventually made the decision that I should enter as I’d only have been annoyed at myself if I hadn’t, so duly did the necessary paperwork and now I had become a contestant in the competition. *gulp*

I had to think of a party piece / stage type of performance to use later in the event, if I was to get that far through the competition… so while chatting, and relaxing, and talking to my owner I made a nervous decision on what to do.

We got called through and, just before the rest of all the pups and handles came through, the pups that had entered decided as a bit of fun to build a pup-pyramid:

Puppy Pyramid

The competition got underway; information about the event and introduction of the judges complete, then 7 participants were introduced to the rest of the pups and handlers that had come along to watch. I was introduced as pup number 6 ‘ZentaiSpot’… the number was so people could vote for me for the “Puppy Congeniality” competition (a side competition to the main event).

After being introduced, I realised I still had my badge on from Sexpo which was the weekend before, where I had been there with E-Stim Systems as their Puppy, and had 3 days of demo-ing their equipment. I thought about taking it off, but then I decided “no, that’s me, I am the E-Stim Systems puppy” so I left it on my harness.

The first challenge was to be an agility course. The rules and the course were explained – ‘be yourself as a pup and do the course, it’s not Crufts’, ‘first you have to weave through the cone slalom, then get the tennis ball home in the basket, then through the hoop followed by the `Canyon of Temptation` (or the home straight had loads of puppy treats on either side to guide you home)’… and then we were all sent out the room – we weren’t allowed to see what the other pups did!

5 Pups later it came to my turn!!! Whilst I was being introduced I had found that I was leaning on one of the hosts having head scritches starting to doze off like pups do … Then it was “3… 2… 1… GO!”. I was a bit naughty and pinched a Flapjack from the end of the course and a chew toy before setting off to weave in and out of the slalom (still munching the flapjack WITH a chew toy in my mouth!), and it took me slightly longer to get the ball in the hole as I managed to catch it with my side claw 🙁 and so the ball completely missed the basket. A kind on-looker rolled the ball back to me and I tried again with success. Then through the hoop, which I just bounded through without thinking (since if pups realise what they have to do, then they seem to bail out and go round the obstacle) … then onto the ‘canyon of temptation’ … so a few more biscuits later I cross the finish line.

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There was now a chance to relax before the next round – interviews, in private, with the judges!!!!! I haven’t done an interview in more than 10 years, so was a bit nervous by this point. Contestant 5 couldn’t be found, so my interview got moved forward early, so I had even less time to think before the interview! By the time I came out I was convinced I’d done really badly at this, as the questions weren’t easy!

Again, there was more time to relax and have a chance to pup out with everyone, before we were whittled down from 7 to 5.
7 puppies
This was quite scary in it’s way, as it was done in a fashion very much like TV shows – you’re called forward, then with a long delay before being told if you’re safe or not. This was a bit of a blur, as I couldn’t say if I was called forward as the 4th pup top be decided on, but I think I was! So I was called forward, I stepped forward, I was then told to step forward again, then back then forward a small bit … and then I was told to extend my right leg. After a bit of a pause, I did (as I sometimes struggle with Right and Left due to my theatre work as it’s all backwards in the theatre industry) and after another long pause I was told I was safe… I was through to the last round. By the end of this elimination round, only 5 of us were left, and my commiserations have to go to Pup Rocket and Wolfie who were eliminated at this point.
5 remaining puppies

Again, there was another break and then we were on to the final round – the talent show. One of the hosts came back into the room to the backing track of ‘Cruella-de-ville’ … me being a Dalmatian started to bark like crazy as Dalmatians don’t like this character! Though I let my guard down and wandered out to have ear scritches.
Curella ear scritches
… After a quick intro about this part of the competition it was our turn. First up was Pup Cody, who did some tricks with lettered cards and a game of fetch (helped by his handler, Del). This was followed by Minty, who was acting like a playful puppy with a toy. Oakleigh followed next… and took a bag of magic stars, popped them, and then proceeded to eat them.

The first thought through my mind was … *WHINE* – as this was what I planned to do, but with Galaxy Counters!

Pup Shadow went next, and proceeded to perform some comedy which gave me a bit of time to think about what to do next… but then, suddenly, it was my turn.

I took the Counters on stage, was asked if I was ready, and I barked. “3… 2… 1… GO!”. I looked at my treat bag, carefully picked them up and walked over to the judges proudly and put the bag on their table. What happened from here on in was now completely unknown and out of my paws!!! They opened the bag, took one out and just as I thought the judge was going to balance the Counter on my nose, he threw that Counter on the stage area, followed by about half the bag of Counters. I don’t know what happened in that brief moment – my chance to go and eat them up… while the judges ate a few Counters too!

Then my minute was over… and the results were almost imminent, a very quick break whilst the judges added up the scores and then we were gathered together. First up was the announcement of “Puppy Congeniality”, it was announced as Minty! He got a tiara and a sash and a BIG jar of either buttons or jelly sweets … he chose the jelly sweets (never found out what happened to the jar of buttons after).
Minty Pup - Pup Congeniality

Then, came the moment of truth…
Remaining 5 pups
first the nervous 5 of us were whittled down to a final three. Unfortunately really huge commiserations and big hugs had to go to Cody and Shadow, the 2 that were now eliminated – thus leaving Oakleigh, Me and Minty in the final three *gulp*
Puppy hugs
3 remaining pups

The results were announced in reverse order and so 3rd place… and this went to Oakleigh who got some great prizes and a brone coloured bone medal.
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Minty and I sat next to each as pup and we were hugging each other so tight that we could feel each other shaking with nerves. Then it was time to announce 2nd place … … … …

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the wait was unbearable … … … … …

… … …

and the tension built … … …

after what seemed forever, it was announced as Minty in 2nd place! He got his wonderful prizes and a silve bone shaped medal.
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This only meant one thing! I’d won Mr Puppy UK 2015 (and the first one ever!)
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I honestly can not remember much about what happened after that, I was in shock with a tear in my eye; and still am to a degree, it’s still not quite fully sunk in!

I was awarded my prizes – a gold bone shaped medal (which I later found out was custom made for the event and is unique so is irreplaceable), £100 travel voucher for Mr Puppy Europe, £50 The Kinksters voucher, a years entry to ‘Kink’, a Mr-B puppy hood, a waistcoat with Mr Puppy UK 2015 patch on the back, and I look forward to representing the UK pups in Mr Puppy Europe next year.

And here’s the 3 pups with prizes:
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The rest of the night was great, but being on a shell-shocked nervous buzz of the win, I can’t remember all that much – it was all a blur!
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I do remember that on leaving at the end of the night, it did take me nearly an hour to get out from the social as everyone wanted a hug before I went.

Just to end this post with 2 more bits to say …
1) It’d be unfair to ‘steal’ all the praise and glory of the event, so I’ve added a gallery of all the other contestants involved in the Mr Puppy UK competition, so you can see what they got up to … it’s only fair to share as they have deserved this moment of fame as they had the courage to enter and compete:

2nd and Lastly, I’d like to say thanks to: @thekinksters (http://www.thekinksters.com/) for sponsoring the event, @mrpuppyuk (http://www.mrpuppy.org.uk) for the event, @pupsocial for the hosting the event. I’d also like to thanks to my fellow contestants @mintypup, @pupoakleigh, @puprocket and the other competitors whose twitter handles I don’t know.

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