An afternoon at the bichon frise dog re-homing party

By - Monday 8th September, 2014

45 wagging tails charm Olivia Garner at the Bichon Frise rehoming event in South Croydon

Olivia Garner’s companion for the afternoon – until he found out about the cupcakes.
Photo author’s own.

On Saturday 23rd August in St Matthew’s Church, Croydon, there was a party. It had balloons, cakes, party games and 45 white, fluffy, wagging tails. It was the second annual ‘bichon party’ held by the Croydon branch of the Bichon Frise Rescue society.

Bichon Frise Rescue UK is an official Kennel Club-recognised organisation that rehomes any of these happy little dogs no longer able to be cared for by their owners. It also provides help and support for any prospective or experienced bichon owners. The club is run by a wide network of volunteers across the country.

Bichon frises are hypo-allergenic dogs – one reason for their increasing popularity

These dogs are a cross between a barbet water spaniel and a poodle, are classed in the ‘toy dog’ category and date all the way back to the 1300s. Any Croydoners who are familiar with the breed will know that in our area they are becoming increasingly popular. This is likely to be due to their famous good nature and the fact that they are hypo-allergenic – they have hair rather than fur, making them suitable for people with asthma and often even those with dog allergies!

The fundraiser had all the usual elements of a charity fair or function but with one difference – there were also 45 bichon frise dogs in attendance! The first game that was played was musical mats (a spin on the popular game of musical chairs. Some dogs were happy to play along – seemingly grasping the premise of the game. However, others were far more interested in any sandwich crumbs dropped over the other side of the hall than in grabbing a remaining mat to win a new chew toy and a bone. Next on the agenda was the game sausage races – which speaks for itself – followed by the surprisingly challenging bichon quiz.

Musical mats.
Photo author’s own.

There was also however an element of organised crime! It emerged that a bichon mafia had formed and using distraction techniques and pack mentality was teaming up to steal cupcakes off the stalls. My bichon frise, Alfie, showed a stunning lack of loyalty, abandoning me early on to become a ringleader of these heists and even finding himself a girlfriend by the end of the day!

We were fortunate that we had good weather, allowing the owners to have a cream tea outside whilst watching the dogs play on the makeshift obstacle course that had been set up for them on the grass. The fundraiser was also attended by other dog lovers and those wanting to find out more and support the charity.

These little dogs are sociable, so they can easily get lonely

On a serious note, there is a real need for Bichon Frise Rescue UK. Unfortunately, since the bichon is a cute and pretty breed, some people take dogs on without really understanding the commitment they require. A bichon frise needs regular professional grooming and maintenance and there is a cost associated with that. They are indeed very happy, sociable little dogs which makes them ideal family pets – however this trait means they easily get lonely and don’t like to be left without company for long periods of time.

The charity helps dogs that have been bought under these circumstances and finds them a suitable home where they can be the cheerful and silly dogs with big personalities that they are meant to be.

If you would like to find out any more information about the Croydon Bichon Rescue society or about the dogs themselves, you can visit its website. Alternatively – and much more fun – why not come along to next year’s party?

Olivia Garner

Olivia Garner

I am a History graduate who has just moved back to Croydon from Bristol. I joined the Citizen for a chance to write about events within my home town whilst continuing my love for writing post-university. I am also currently working on a historical novel based upon my dissertation research.

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