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“It’s the best day of my life,” she smiles. “I’m 50 in October, and my birthday party will be nothing compared to this, sitting there and doing all the things I love most in life – looking at dogs, stroking other people’s dogs, chatting to people and eating really good food.
“My mum will be there, our dogs will be there, my girls will be there, we’ll be together as a family – it’s totally selfish but it’s my best day and I love it.”
The 2021 Mowgli Trust Dog Show will be the third, having missed a year last year because of Covid.
And, while it may seem like an odd event for a restaurant owner to stage, the reasons behind it are fused with the core ethics of the Mowgli empire which the former Liverpool barrister is continuing to create.
“The way I build Mowgli is that everything we do goes to enrich the lives of the cities we go to,” explains Nisha. “That’s how I get up every morning, it’s how can I make life in that city better, starting with my people, through our charities, and with our community.
“Four years ago I had my mum’s whippet Dave with me, he’s this old whippet, really ugly, and I went to Aintree Dog Show and he got through as the Best Short-haired, and then he won Best in Show.
“I couldn’t believe it, but that to me, and the effect it had on my mum and my kids who were there, was better than any achievement I have ever had. My mum hasn’t got a wedding photograph on the wall, none of my degree certificates, but she’s got a picture of Dave with his Supreme Champion rosette. It means so much when somebody else loves your dog.”
Nisha goes on: “It’s not a trite thing, it’s a big deal, and I realised you can lift people for ages. I spoke to a vet today who said six or seven years ago her daughter and their Jack Russell had got through to best sausage catcher or something, and they had never forgotten that feeling.
“I wondered ‘what makes us happy?’ and I thought what I’ve always wanted for Mowgli is this home from home, good food and that soft dog’s tail patting on the kitchen floor – and if we can bring all of that together, family, food, four legged friends, then that’s what it is to enrich the lives of people, especially when every penny goes to such a brilliant charity like Claire House Children’s Hospice.
“We raised £33,000 in six hours at the last dog show, the region should be proud because the region rallies round.”
Nisha agrees that we’re a nation of animal lovers, dogs especially, and she is no different – her dogs Bear and Goose are celebrities in their own right, featuring in so many of her Instagram pictures.
“I analyse this often,” she says. “My mother broke both hips, she had a stroke, she’s completely wheelchair bound and that dog, Dave, is nothing short of a reason for living. They mean so much to so many people.
“The reason I got my dogs is that my girls are now teenagers and going off to university. There comes a point when your children don’t come running downstairs to greet you home from work and I started to miss that, I want that, and I got my dogs. You feel you are needed, and I think as humans it’s not about how happy you are, it’s about how useful you can be – and you can really be useful to these animals that absolutely need you.
“I never did it before, but I walk every night with the dogs, I see nature, I get fresh air, I see the seasons change, and the reason I do that is because of these four-legged things. We’ve all realised in lockdown as well what your dogs do for you, they get you out, they bring your blood pressure down, and they enhance your life in a way that, frankly, very few humans can.”
Nisha, who now has 18 Mowgli Street Food restaurants and is a regular on This Morning as well as being the new judge on The Great British Menu, says the dog show is not just for dog lovers: “It’s aimed at people who love food and family, and there happens to be lots of dogs there.
“There are some brilliant merchandise shops, we have got a fun fair, we’ve got a wild bird of prey display, we’ve got all kinds of things going on, and the dog show itself.
“Even if you don’t like dogs, come, and get some food, get a nice cold beer, watch some birds of prey, and have a good chat to your friends. It’s like a canine Glastonbury.”
Sunday, September 19 from 10am to 4pm
The Mowgli Trust Dog Show will be held at Claremont Farm, Old Clatterbridge Road, Bebington, Wirral CH63 4JB
Tickets are £7 on the gate or £5 if you book in advance online – https://mowglitrust.com/dog-show-2021/
All funds will go to Claire House Children’s Hospice. The last show in 2019 raised more than £30,000.
The Mowgli Trust raises money for different charities each year, giving back to the communities in which Mowgli restaurants are based. The Trust currently donates around £500,000 each year. Through The Mowgli Trust one child in need is sponsored for every full-time employee recruited by Mowgli.
There is free parking available to Dog Show visitors close to the event site; please follow ‘Event Parking’ signs on approach roads to the site.
Jonny Bongo from Bongo’s Bingo is main arena host for the day, along with Heart Radio’s Adam Weighell.
The running order for the show is:
10am – Child’s Best Friend
10.30am – Best Stay
11.15am – Cutest Face
11.45am – Agility
12.30pm – Best Biscuit Catcher
1.15pm – Dog that looks most like their Owner
1.45pm – Best Trick
2.30pm – Fancy Dress
3.15pm – Sausage Catcher
4pm – Dog the Judge would most like to take Home
£2 per class, registration is open from 9am on the day (maximum of two classes per dog).
* Dog Agility demonstrations including ‘have a go’ activities
* Funfair attractions
* Children’s activities
* Birds of Prey Display
* Dog & pet accessory stalls
* Local homeware and crafts stalls
* The Mowgli Street Food Pop-Up
* Local food and drinks stalls including wood-fired pizza, hog roast, vegan street food, craft beer and Prosecco
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