….and the sun shone! Liz Gay
A month’s rain in thirty six hours is just the sort of headline you want when you have been organising an outdoor event for over a year but that was the one on the radio the week of the Enthusiasts & Fanciers of Glens PRA FUNd Raiser. Teeth were gritted, wellies donned and the tents continued to go up.
Health matters in breeds may be the buzz words at the moment but when you are a small in number breed with a problem that needs money to get it investigated life isn’t too easy. PRA in Glen of Imaal Terriers has been around for a few years now and initial work in America was not proving too successful so what could be done? The EFG, with its excellent pan-European links, suggested that something could be done on the Eastern side of the Atlantic so the Bochum Project was born. Bochum University doesn’t have the name, or clout, of Optigen but it has done excellent work with minority breed genetic mapping so was an obvious choice for approach. Bochum, under the leadership of Professor Epplen, agreed to take on the work so the search for funding began.
The Kennel Club Charitable Trust were impressed with a submission from the EFG and pledged monies as did similar submissions by other European Glen Clubs to their respective leading bodies but more was needed; hence the idea of a FUNd Weekend. A slightly wine fuelled good idea is excellent the night it happens but will it translate in the cold light of day?
Certain Glen of Imaal people are not known for being shy so the journey along the twelve months wasn’t exactly low key. Why should it be? If people didn’t know they couldn’t contribute, be it either with money or time both of which would be needed! Fridge magnet flyers went out to anybody who might attend and by Crufts this year the project was well advanced with the slogan of the entire Bochum Project “Glen of Imaal Terriers Beating PRA Together” being seen on sweatshirts and car stickers. A blog was running on the EFG website to keep people up to date and Dutch and German fanciers had already signalled they would be attending. Professor Epplen himself had agreed to fly over from Germany to speak about the project and a Companion Show licence had been granted by the Kennel Club. Professor Bedford had said he would do eye-testing and discounts were being asked for everywhere in return for a mention on the EFG website. Anybody who knew anybody that might have something to make the weekend go better and so make more money was emailed, phoned, written or spoken to. To slightly mis-quote Holmes; the game was afoot so imagine the “joy” the months rain in two days scenario gave.
Glen people are like their dogs, tenacious, so what’s a little weather? Putting up tents and marquees in less than perfect conditions is character building. Hammering in posts to make rings as the rain comes down is cheaper than going to the gym. Many hands make light work and the sociability of the Glen community meant they came, they saw and they conquered. The Saturday arrived and it looked good but would people come?
They came in caravans, in tents and into a block booking at the local motel. The forty odd who enjoyed the Saturday Night Soiree had certainly come and were certainly staying awhile. Jeff Sampson had come wearing his KC geneticist vest and gave every impression he regretted he was only there for one day. German, Dutch and English jokes were discovered to be all equally funny after imbibing a small glass or two, purely in a medicinal way of course.
Sunday was the really big day and against all expectation, but not hope, the sun shone and it made it all truly superb. The Companion Show judge, Paul Eardley, was as charming as always and his attendance was really appreciated in view of the recent illness of his mother and the worry he must be experiencing. Everybody sends their best wishes to Sheila.
The probable hit of the event was lure chasing and watching dogs of all shapes, sizes, ages and abilities hammer round straw bales, buckets and corners to catch that ever elusive piece of plastic was an hysterical experience probably, if anything, enjoyed more by the dogs than their wildly cheering owners. Fancy agility? It was there.
The Bernese came with their beautifully flowered carts and enchanted everybody whilst the varying stalls and stands encouraged the spending of money and money was what it was all about. It isn’t known yet what was raised as some of the articles donated were so unusual it was decided to auction them on ebay and that is still running but hopefully the FUNd will do well. Oh yes, did the FUN part work? Well a certain eminent eye man who recently celebrated a significant birthday could never have thought winning a heat of the Spacehopper Derby would be added to his CV.