Dog lovers have told of their excitement as they showcased their Scottish Terriers at the Glasgow 2014 XX Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony in Celtic Park on Wednesday night.
Stepping in to their role as Team Name Bearers, the Scottie Dogs, along with their owners, led each of the teams from the 71 nations and territories of the Commonwealth into the stadium.
With 40,000 spectators and an estimated global television audience of over 1 billion people, all eyes were on the dogs enjoying their moment as part of the Athletes’ Parade.
Both owners and dogs enjoyed star treatment back stage in their very own dressing room supplied with plenty food and water.
Ceremony organisers consulted with vets and animal behaviourists on all aspects of the animal’s welfare including feeding, water and noise levels.
Dog owners Barry and Aaron Chisholm and the biggest dog – eight-year-old Hamish – proudly led Team Scotland into the stadium. Barry said: “Hamish was the biggest dog out of the cast but he’s classy and gentle and everything about him is pure Scottish.
“This was Hamish’s first time as a television star and he coped very well. We weren’t sure at all how he would react but he was absolutely fantastic all the way round. He was just perfect.”
The very first dog to be casted in the line-up was seven year old Jock and his owner Jacqui McKinnon. Jacqui said: “This was a great chance for Jock. He normally walks well but got a bit shy so I had to carry him out with Team Malaysia.
“Scottie dogs are such good natured animals and Jock just loves the attention. The organisers have been amazing with lots of people on hand to keep the dogs cool and look after them.”
The majority of the dogs are experienced show dogs and have been involved in similar environments before. Though for a small number, this was a new environment and therefore significant care was taken to make the dogs feel as comfortable.
The terriers were carefully choreographed to ensure they were introduced to the stadium gradually. Both the sound and audience were phased in once the dogs were more familiar with the environment.
Vets and animal behaviour specialists were on hand to monitor the dogs throughout rehearsals and the ceremony itself. During the Athletes Parade they were located in the stadium with clear view of the dogs.
Owner of Scottie Dog Mr Beau, Isla Reid, from Fife, praised the team for their efforts in looking after both the owners and dogs. She said: “We were extremely excited to be a part of it. We would have loved to have got tickets to see the opening ceremony but to be a part of it is even better!”
Scottie Dogs, more formally known as Scottish Terriers, are one of five breeds of terrier that originated in Scotland. Both Franklin Delano Roosevelt and George W. Bush owned Scottie Dogs whilst they were in presidential office at the White House.
At the start of 2013, there was a petition to save the Scottie Dog game piece from Monopoly. It joined the popular board game in the 1950s.
Visit The Commonwealth Games website to find out what’s on this week and keep up to date with events and winners.
Photo: Getty Images for Glasgow 2014