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Mowgli Dog Show is Glastonbury for pet lovers, says founder Nisha Katona

1 month ago

Mowgli Dog Show is Glastonbury for pet lovers, says founder Nisha Katona
Credit: Mowgli Dog Show

Mowgli Dog Show returns to Claremont Farm on June 1-2, 2024.

With just over a week to go to Mowgli Dog Show, founder and organiser Nisha Katona is looking forward to her ‘favourite day of the year’.

And she admits: “I hope this year is like every other year, with a field full.

“It’s like Glastonbury for dogs and pet lovers, with that country fayre feel; a lovely Bohemian, laid back, come in your flip flops or your wellies – with or without a dog – kind of day, and get chatting to the people next to you.

“That’s what I would love again.”

Anything else?

“Well I would love to blow the £101,000 we raised for Claire House last year out of the water – dare I say that? But that’s not in my control.”

Nisha. Credit: Mowgli Dog Show
Nisha. Credit: Mowgli Dog Show

There were 8,000 visitors to last year’s Mowgli Dog Show at Claremont Farm in Bebington, with hopes that this year it could get to more than 10,000 (hopefully helping celebrity chef and restaurant owner Nisha and the team to smash that fundraising figure).

Heart radio presenter Adam Weighell will host the show which will have 10 dog competitions on each of its two days – Saturday and Sunday, June 1 and 2 – along with many other events and activities from craft stalls, food and drink, a funfair and inflatables, a demonstration by Chester Zoo, and, on the Saturday, live music from 4pm until 8pm.

Nisha will certainly be there: “I’ll be there with my three dogs, Dave, Bear and Goose – I’m all over this dog show,” she smiles. 

“People can expect brilliant shopping, brilliant food, a brilliant dog show, and just a day completely full of fun and entertainment. There’s something for everyone.

“You don’t have to have a dog, you can just come, chill, eat, and enjoy it. It’s my favourite day – or days – of the year because I’m a massive animal lover and because it’s about food and pets, and friends and family, and so the people who come are my kind of people.

“It’s like hanging out with the biggest extended friendship group you can ever imagine.”

The bonus – and it’s a big one – is that it will also raise money for Claire House Children’s Hospice.

“I launched Mowgli Dog Show to bring my passions together: the work of Claire House, good food, and the joy that pets bring to our daily life.

“If we can bring that all together it’s the spirit of Mowgli in a nutshell.”

Mowgli Dog Show has always raised money for Claire House, partly because it’s around the corner from Nisha and so a charity close to her heart.

But she says: “Claire House is about supporting families in their most dire need and that could be any one of us, our daughter, our granddaughter, our niece, our nephew; and the dog show is a celebration of family and everything that’s reassuring about people who love each other coming together over food and the wag of a dog’s tail.

“To have a family event that supports people going through their darkest time seems like the most natural synergy there could be.”

Credit: Mowgli Dog Show
Credit: Mowgli Dog Show

And while Mowgli Dog Show is all about fun and fundraising, it’s vital for Nisha: “Every penny goes to Claire House. It’s a seriously important part of my job.”

When Nisha began the Mowgli empire which now totals 22 restaurants with seven more to be created by the end of this year in 2014, it wasn’t just about taking Indian street food to the high street.

It was about enriching the lives of the people in every city it – or ‘she’ as Nisha refers to the growing popular restaurant brand – goes to.

“It’s the reason I built Mowgli,” explains Nisha. “It isn’t just about selling curry, it’s about changing lives. That re-energises me and I think I’ve got to keep building Mowgli because of what it does to families.

“The bottom line isn’t enough for me; I’m not motivated by that (my jewellery cost about one Euro!), I’m motivated by the bigger picture.

“That’s what Mowgli Dog Show celebrates and why when I started Mowgli, I started the charitable limb alongside the very first restaurant.

“Bearing in mind the last job I did which was a child protection barrister, every day I got up and I was making a difference to the lives of children in need, and I knew that doing a job where I was just selling something was never going to fill my soul so I needed to craft Mowgli in a way where she is doing more.”

With each Mowgli Nisha creates around 50-60 jobs, raises around £5,000 a year for a local charity where it’s based, it ‘keeps the lights on in the high street – and we pay our taxes’.

For every full-time employee, Mowgli sponsors a child in need.

And there is so much more.

Credit: Mowgli Dog Show
Credit: Mowgli Dog Show

“We are working with Chester Zoo to prevent extinction of the Asian elephant and building two girls’ schools in India in my home town of Benares, where girls are betrothed at eight and they’re not allowed to go to school if they have their period and so they’re at school only small percentage of the time.

“So it’s not just about food, although food matters; it’s about a sense of purpose and making the world a better place. 

“You can be the richest person in the world and have zero contentment.

“My view on contentment is that we exist to make the people around us feel better, to love and, if we’re lucky, to be loved. 

“Going back to Claire House and those families,  look at what they are going through with those children. If we as a community in Merseyside can put our arms around them and let them feel that love – that we pay for a nurse to go and look after their children, that we give them respite, we give them that day in the swimming pool with the flashing lights that makes Charlie come awake and feel his environment and smile… that’s what’s important to me.”

The Mowgli Dog Show is at Claremont Farm, Old Clatterbridge Road, Bebington, on Saturday and Sunday, June 1-2, from 11am (doors open at 9.30am). Tickets are £10 each with under threes going free, and free parking.

To buy tickets and get more information about Mowgli Dog Show including how your pet pooch can take part click here.

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