National Pet Show, NEC, Birmingham - review
If you want to truly understand what the mind of a true animal fanatic looks like inside, look no further than the National Pet Show - which made an appearance at Birmingham's NEC from November 5 to November 6.
From the minute you step through the barriers you are greeted by creatures of all walks of life and all shapes and sizes, together as a community to celebrate the joy animals bring.
The events are sectioned into four different specialist zones: animal zone, small furries zone, cat zone and dog zone.
Animal zone including the Reptile Area was home to all pets out of the ordinary, all of the strange and creepy critters that make your eyes boggle wide and your jaw drop.
Visitors were welcomed to get hands on with various reptiles, insects and arachnids with Beasts Show, make friends with glorious cockatoos and macaws with Problem Parrots, get friendly with Eric the budgerigar, and learn all you need to know about keeping miniature horses and alpacas.
Reptile area within the animal zone invited visitors into the snake area to get upclose and personal with the likes of burmese pythons, let you stroke the hard shells of giant tortoises and pay a visit to the chameleon and lizard station for professional photo opportunities.
A personal highlight of the animal zone and the event as a whole included that of admiring the majesty of birds of prey with the Hawking Centre, including talks and precision displays.
The animal zone was also home to the TeePee talks and book signings for kids which including meet and greets with famous and special dogs, and signings with BB Taylor author of Trevor the Hamster and live story renditions.
Small furries zone is brand new for 2016, and taught visitors everything you need to know about your small, lovable pets.
The team at Burgess Pet Care taught youngsters how to make their own foraging balls stuff full of tasty treats ready to feed the guinea pigs, chinchillas, fancy rats and hamsters at nearby stalls.
The Yorkshire Vet Julian Norton made an appearance at the Burgess Excell stand as the face of the Eat Sleep Hay campaign that highlights the importance of the difference between bedding hay and nutritious feeding hay.
For everything feline friendly, cat zone is out to educate the world that cat breeds are not as simple as "big cat", "tabby cat" and more but infact, are complex and mysterious keepers.
Meet the delicate Bengal and Burmese, the mighty Maine Coon and Norwegian Forest and the weird yet wonderful Sphynx and Cornish Rex at the interactive "meet the cat" station, complete with luxury carry cases and bedding up for grabs.
The cat zone included various informative talks throughout the day from Di Taylor of the Governing Council of Cat Fancy and others ranging from cat care tips, cat communication and dietary classes.
Sponsored by Royal Canin, the wildly popular dog zone ruled the National Pet Show by miles, delighting pooch lovers from across the country.
The Nerf Dog Activity Ring put on a range of gruelling agility shows and activities for all to take part in, with demonstrations from the West Midlands Dog Display, and even an appearance from some adorable miniature horses!
Hill's School For Dogs taught visitors everything from beginning to train your dogs to complex and thoroughly entertaining commands to improve the bond between yourself and your four-legged friends.
Supervet Live: The Tour! Was brought to the National Pet Show on the Eukanuba Stage, with guest speakers including supervets Noel Fitzpatrick and Annaliese Reekie in a live question and answer session following talks reminiscing on all they have learnt in their carreers.
For a fun and unique experience, visitors needn't have looked any further than Superdogs Live, where dogs strutted their stuff in entertaining routines. The event included a rare appearance from Britain's Got Talent 2016's Lucy Heath and Trip Hazard who opened the show.
On top of these brilliant shows, visitors could meet breeds of all shapes and sizes from across the globe and speak to experts regarding their upkeep and temperaments.
With sophisticated Afghan Hounds, fluffy Alaskan Malamutes and Tibetan Mastiffs, classic Dalmations, Cocker Spaniels and Basset Hounds, lively Border Collies, French Bulldogs and Poodles and the rare Bergmasco - every breed is catered for.
Famous dogs also made an appearance, with Doug the Pug Therapy Dog handing out copies of his brand new book and sitting perfectly still for plenty of cuddles.
Although the creatures are incredibly different, one thing all the zones had in common was the wide variety of products on offer and experts at hand to ensure the love and care of the animals they were so passionate about.
From essential food and hygiene products to luxury toys, clothes and even mini homes - everything your pet could possibly want was there, and at extremely low show prices.
Experts were approachable, friendly and knowledgeable whilst tailoring this knowledge for beginners alike and intently ensuring the safety and hygiene of the beloved animals in their care.
If you want an interactive, engaging and wild day out look no further than the National Pet Show, with fantastic talks, meet-and-greet sessions and a loving atmosphere - no matter how many legs or how much fur you have!
By Becci Stanley