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‘Teach In-Hands On’ Shenstone 14 Jan 2007

On Sunday 14th January the last of the popular Terrier Teach Ins, organised by Sue McCourt, took place at Shenstone Village Hall writes Harold Gay.

These events have sought to educate aspiring judges on ‘finer points’ and this one was no exception with Australian, Bedlington, Border, Bull, Cairn and Glen of Imaal Terriers being the breeds of the day. Any profits have always gone to charity and the impressive £700 raised was split equally between DogsLost and the Rheumatology Unit of the Cannock Hospital; whom have benefited from these days before.

It has always been the aim to give a friendly convivial day out and this occasion was no different. An audience of 77 listened intently to Paul Eardley discussing the finer points of Aussie coat colour and the importance of proportion. Rennee Moules followed next on the Airedale who detailed its heritage and its terrier credentials as well as giving a clear explanation of its structure.

The Bedlington and its unique attributes, particularly its front and rear structures was dealt with by Carmel Smallwood-Cleavley and Anne Roslyn Williams then spoke with passion as to why a Border is the shape it and how the bits fit together to enable it to fulfil its original function in life that of dealing with a fox in the Northumberland fells.

Chris Kilpatrick explained the beautiful thing that is the Bull Terrier head and the need in the breed for substance not fat and reminded people that, as there is no coat, what you see is what you get! Linda Firth explained the finer points of the Cairn and Harold Gay rounded off the morning session with an enthusiast’s view of the Glen explaining its points of difference particularly its front structure.

Lunch is always crucial to these sort of days out and today’s did not let down. A three course lunch proved an admirable background for the selling of raffle tickets for the 61 prizes that had been donated. Chris Kilpatrick gave a silk dog tie from America and that raised 30 pounds at auction.

The afternoon began with an opportunity to put hands onto dogs. Debate was actively encouraged and for anybody who was a little shy there was time to have a one to one session with the speakers and the chance to have any specific questions actually answered by using the dogs available.

The event was rounded off by a panel session with speakers being quizzed on the finer points of their breeds. However as with most dog events it was soon the case that all things show dog were being discussed. Subjects as diverse as docking, environment and where your breed will be in 20 years being discussed. Views were many and varied but without doubt concern was universally expressed as to where the next generation of enthusiasts were going to come from giving the seeming current lifestyle choice of work, work and more work.

The day was rounded off with a vote of thanks to Max King, who had introduced the day, Helen Reaney who helped with the organisation and Nick Gourley and Stuart Atkinson who had ensured that most vital of commodities, the tea, kept flowing. The biggest thanks of the day should be to Sue McCourt who has been the driving force behind these events. Because of her idea a lot of money has been raised for charity and a lot of people have learnt, without the stress of a more formal event, how wonderful Terriers can be!