Mary had a great time in the USA. Gail Fisher's place which is just outside Boston is really something else. It's a huge kennel complex with lots of staff and a wonderful training hall. They made her feel very welcome and she really got on well with all the participants on the courses.
Dave, along with Mary's sister Tricia, looked after the puppy while she was away, so they were quite pleased that Levi was safe and sound when she got back.
Mary adores puppies and she loves doing her bit of training in the mornings with them and this puppy is an absolutely little cracker. She does just 15 to 20 minutes training each morning with him in the living room, nothing too strenuous and just enough to get the basics in while he is still young and impressionable, and less than a week after arriving home from the USA she had a Cabaret Evening in Cwmbran which had been arranged by Annette Crewe. As usual, this was a sell-out event with around 200 people in the audience and Mary decided to do just 10 or 15 minutes with Levi. Then she repeated this two days later when she did a Cabaret for Andy Moxham in Bristol. Again it was a sell-out with around 200 in the audience and little Levi was absolutely stunning. No lead and collar, 200 people sitting around the working area and he was totally focused on Mary showing off the bits he had learned during his sessions in the mornings. There was certainly a look of amazement on the faces of the people in the audience and I don't know if they actually believed that so much could be achieved in such a short time.
After this, Mary was ring manager at the Rugby DTC Christmas Agility Show and spent a week down at Olympia at the Kennel Club Olympia Agility Stakes Finals where Mary's husband Dave is the event organiser on behalf of the Kennel Club and Pedigree, then it was a family Christmas at home.
Prior to Christmas, Mary's new book came out of course and it has already proved to be a runaway success. There must be thousands of dog training enthusiasts who received it as a Christmas present; it is on sale in America, Australia, New Zealand and has already been reprinted into German, Dutch and Japanese would you believe!
The other news on the merchandise front is that there is a new video and DVD out called 'An Evening with Mary Ray'. This was filmed at a Cabaret Evening she did at the City of Birmingham Championship Show in September. She has the latest Crufts 2005 Mack & Mabel routine on it plus the ever-popular Glenn Miller routine and in the early part of the film, she demonstrates puppy training with a puppy she only met that day for the first time and the results she achieved with the clicker are quite stunning. Some of the people who have viewed it say this is the best video she has made yet.
Mary tries not to take too much on during the early part of the year as she likes to stay focused on Crufts. She will be in the Main Ring again performing her new routine just before Best in Show on the Sunday night, plus she has qualified for both the Dog and Bitch Championship Obedience competitions. Also at Crufts this year, Club HTM, who sell all of Mary's videos and DVDs are having a stand at Crufts. They will be in Hall 3: Stand 22. Oh, and she has one extra job at Crufts this year the head of the Canine Sports Section at Samsung in South Korea, Bruce Jun is going to be competing in the International Agility Event at Crufts on Thursday 9th March. Unfortunately, due to quarantine, he cannot bring his own dog so Mary is going to find him a dog to borrow and look after and organise his training before the event. All the details about what Mary is doing at Crufts are on the Forthcoming Events page.