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Summer's story

Summer's story

Vet's Kitchen are proud to sponsor the Southern Golden Retriever Display Team, who will be performing at Crufts again this March.

Human team member David tells us how Summer - the dog he didn't want(!) got him involved in the team and how her legacy lives on through Honey and Poppy.

Summer was our first dog – a Golden Retriever. We chose that breed because if I had a dog, which I didn’t really want at the time, I wanted one I would be happy to be seen walking with!

Although we live in Kent, Ann found a breeder in Spalding, Lincolnshire who was having a litter at just the right time for us so we asked to be put on the possible puppy owner list. The breeder, Jenny Newton (Coombstock), invited us to see the puppies three weeks after they were born. As well as seeing a litter of lovely Goldens, we were grilled very cleverly during our couple of hours with her on our lifestyle, social activities, aspirations for the puppy, facilities at home and so on. Fortunately we passed the test and were allowed to select one of the three week old dogs. Ann picked the one that licked her the most!

We picked up our Golden bitch at eight weeks old at the end of March 2009. As she was a winter bred puppy, Jenny Newton wanted to include a winter related name in her Kennel Club breed name. We were going to call her Summer – so she became officially known as ‘Coombstock Snow in Summer’.

We had been advised of a local training club at Wrotham, Kent, where they trained Goldens. We went along, liked what we saw and soon became fully fledged members of the Southern Golden Retriever Society. 

Once Summer had gained her Kennel Club Gold Good Citizen Award in early 2010 she and Ann were invited to start training with the SGRS Display Team. What a great group of people and dogs that was - and still is! Summer trained throughout 2010 and performed with Ann at some local shows before her first big test – performing in the main Arena at Discover Dogs, held at that time at Earls Court in London. 

Having performed well at Discover Dogs, Ann and Summer were included in the Team to perform at Crufts in 2011. This was the first of ten consecutive years of them both performing at Crufts and all the other events the Team appeared at. This included a day at Waterloo Station performing routines with several other team members to help promote Vet's Kitchen to commuters! (Click here to see the footage).

Summer’s last performance at Crufts in 2020 was the first the team had done ‘off lead’ and everyone did so well. After that, of course, all events that the Team may have been at were cancelled because of Covid.  Sadly, Summer passed way in October 2021 and so never got the chance again to be in an arena with her doggy and human friends.  

Ann and I have been lucky though. Our second dog Pachabelle was in the team with me from 2013 until she passed way with kidney problems aged 8 ½  in 2019 – just after her last performance at Crufts. Now, we still have two Goldens. Honey aged five and Poppy aged two and a bit. Honey will be performing with me in her second appearance, and Poppy with Ann for her first appearance, at Crufts this year. Undoubtedly Summer and Pachabelle will still be with us in our hearts and minds during our performances and we are keeping our fingers crossed that Honey and Poppy do their memory proud.

David Wimsett and Ann Benefield 

Southern Golden Retriever Society Display Team



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