Last updated on Apr 26th, 2016 at 08:49 am

The sun shone as bouncy Bobby took top honours at South Africa’s oldest township dog show – 12th uMngeni SPCA / Hill’s Township Dog Show – at Jabulani Combined School, Lidgetton, KwaZulu-Natal on 17 April

Bobby was chosen as top dog from 120 entrants. Second place (Reserve Best in Show) went to Fox, a four-month-old mixed-breed puppy, owned by Sphamandla Mkhuliso.

Bobby’s owner, Qiniso Zaca, said he ‘had a feeling’ his six-and-a-half- year-old Basset Hound / Labrador cross could win. “I know she’s special, and we spend a lot of time together, training and having fun,” said Zaca.

The judges – Rachel Manser (Midlands Veterinary Clinic), Njabula Hlongwane and Wilbert Mshengu from uMngeni SPCA – were won over by Bobby’s shiny coat, playful personality and good nature. “She is the happiest dog I’ve ever seen,” said Tess Fernandez, PRO of uMngeni SPCA. “Even though she has two skew front paws she jumps around with joy, and she’s clearly very loved by her owner.”

Dogs in excellent health

Lynda Horne of Hill’s Pet Nutrition, show sponsor since it started in 2004, said they were very impressed with the condition of entrants. “Most of the dogs were in excellent health and their owners were very proud of them. What was most evident is the pleasure that comes with loving a pet.”

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The uMngeni SPCA / Hill’s Township Dog Show is held in different rural communities around Howick each year. This was the second time it’s been in Lidgetton.

 Best in Show - Bobby (female, mixed breed - Basset / Labrador, 6 ½ years old) – owned by Qiniso Zaca
Best in Show – Bobby (female, mixed breed – Basset / Labrador, 6 ½ years old) – owned by Qiniso Zaca

“Reaching out to pets in impoverished areas is the most important part of our work,” said Fernandez. “People in these rural areas usually don’t have transport or finances to take their pets to a vet. This show gives us the opportunity to run a big clinic, with each dog being de-wormed, dipped and vaccinated for rabies and other diseases before entering the ring.”

“At the same time, the show encourages people in the community who take good care of their dogs. It gives them a platform to show off their beautiful pets and win prizes. It also gives us an opportunity to promote sterilisation, thereby improving the health of the local dog population and reducing the number of unwanted litters,” says Fernandez.

The winners each received a brand new kennel, certificate, rosette and Hill’s, the most trusted pet food brand in South Africa.