Well they say ‘the sun shines on the righteous’ and they weren’t wrong! We can’t believe after the atrocious weather of the previous weeks that it all came good for the Congress. Dare we say that Sunday afternoon, the day of our show, even got a bit too hot!!! Well done to Wendy for the sun cream.
The venue (which was found by Heidi Lawrence) was spectacular; a beautiful house with delightful far reaching grounds. The event was made even richer by the joining of the two UK clubs (TTA and TTBOC) to produce a spectacle that had something for everyone. Wherever your interests lie with TTs it was catered for; whether it is in showing, agility, obedience, health or having a great ‘Fun-Day’. There was even unbelievable support for the charity KAT, by way of an auction on Saturday evening. After a B-B-Q for 200 guests! over 50 donated items raised in excess of £2000. Angela Mulliner, whose exhibition at the Kennel Club was visited by about 30 delegates on the Wednesday, had kindly donated a couple of prints. Expertly orchestrated by auctioneer Mark James and his helpers, Angie Randall, Brian Harris and Steven Green, there was lots of banter which all helped to make the evening one to remember and bank balances very much lighter!
The Thursday evening reception was attended by both club’s Chairmen, committee members and lots of familiar and new faces from more than 16 countries. The majority had attended other TT World Congress’ over the years and some had attended all 10! The guests were able to nibble and sip whilst being sung to by The Coventry Male Voice Choir who were kept in beat by Valerie Hocking.
Congress Day on Friday saw several well-respected people speak on health issues concerning the Tibetan Terrier. Dr. Jeff Sampson gave a talk on genetics and breeding a healthy TT and the ever popular Prof. Martin Fischer enthralled everyone with his illustrated and animated lecture on movement. After a delightful lunch, there were talks by numerous people in the sports hall. One of these specialists was Prof. Peter Bedford, who has taken an interest in our breed for many years now. His talk, which was accompanied by informative slides, was on the status of the breed with reference to Lens Luxation (LL), Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), and Canine Ceroid Lipfucinosis (CCL), the latter of which has only recently had its first 2 cases confirmed in this country. A timely reminder to us all that vigilance is imperative. The other field expert was Catherine Mellerch from the Animal Health Trust. For many years now the AHT has been working with DNA samples of TT’s towards getting a ‘marker’ for PRA and LL. She couldn’t express enough how helpful DNA samples of any TT were and could speed up the process of finding these markers. This will in turn enable us to test for carriers and thus help to hopefully eliminate these 2 hereditary diseases for good. Catherine’s feeling was that it can’t be so far away now (in scientific terms) and that the more samples she had for the database the better. She even brought DNA (cheek swab) packs along to show what they consisted of and how to use them. These packs can be obtained through the AHT for a small fee. So keen were some of the TT enthusiasts from abroad that they took what packs Catherine had brought and swabbed their dogs there and then!! Breed experts Paul Stanton and Sheryl Rutledge talked on TTs around the world and breeding for type respectively and showed the worth of responsible and selective breeding.
After yet more food!, the day closed with a talk on a visit to Tibet by Primoz Peer, Margareta Sundquist and Anna Lorenzo and their subsequent importation of stock from the ‘motherland’. All that remained then was the two ‘flagship’ show days and fun day of which photos and results will be found elsewhere.
One thing that was and is common to all is the love of this breed and that was apparent throughout the whole event. This congress was unique to others before in that we managed to bring together older and more experienced breeders and owners with newer owners who were nervous at meeting everyone from the Show and Agility world. This was achieved by including The Fun Day. Although on a smaller scale, it was every bit as important as the main events. We have had numerous e-mails from the newer people expressing their feelings of surprise at how friendly everyone was in offering the benefit of years of experience and advice, whilst making them feel welcome as well.
We also had verbal congratulations from a good deal of home and overseas visitors saying how much they had enjoyed themselves. However it would not be fair to name a few without naming everyone; we all had our part to play in this event and everyone present made some contribution to making this Congress in the UK the success it was.
On behalf of the organising committee, Glenn Davies, Pat Tempest, Philippa Gilbert & Mark James (shown l-r respectively) we would like to give special thanks to Heidi Lawrence and her team for organising the Agility & Obedience Show and making it an integral part of the Congress in the UK. We must also mention Claudia Moser who came over from Switzerland to do her Heelwork To Music demonstration. She later won BIS in the Fun Day dog show with her TT, Kerry.
Now it’s all over I’m sure the committee are wondering what to do with all their newly found spare time. Any suggestions not involving the organising of World Congresses will be carefully considered!!!! Seriously, many thanks for your support without which it would never have happened. Be proud of your contribution.
Philippa Gilbert/Glenn Davies