Markus BOCK

Dear Search and Rescue dog handlers, dear fans of our sport,

Already one year after the International Rescue Dog Organisation IRO had been founded, the first World Championship for SAR dogs took place. 25 years ago there were only a few Search and Rescue dog handlers who took on the challenge of a World Championship; today, this event has grown to a major one with more than 100 starters. But not only the number of participants has increased; also the performance level has strongly advanced throughout the last 25 years. A development which fills me with great joy as President of the IRO, since it demonstrates the high commitment in the training of SAR dogs and the success of an idea, which above all serves to help people in need.

I would like to express my deep gratitude to the women and men who contribute to this WCH’s success in the last months and the coming week. Without your voluntary work, an event like this would not be feasible.

First of all I would like to mention the team of „Cynotechnie Sapeur-Pompier de France“ around Marc Courtois, who has organized everything for us SAR dog handlers, from the worksites up to the surrounding program. Another big thanks goes out to the hiding persons who have made themselves available for this World Championship. Without their commitment, this WCH, as well as all other tests and competitions in the SAR dog area, would not take place.

A heartfelt thank you also goes out to the Judges with their Supervising Judge Daniel Sedlak. They probably have the toughest job to fulfil: To judge fairly and objectively throughout the coming days on the basis of new Testing Standards.

Last but not least, I want to thank also the staff of the IRO Office in Salzburg. They have organized all administrative tasks regarding the preparation of this WCH with commitment and heart.

I wish you, esteemed SAR dog handlers, much success in the coming days for your tests. You have prepared for this World Championships for years, and have invested time and money into this preparation. A contribution which cannot be highlighted often enough.

But beside the competition and the success at the SAR dog WCH, I would like to point your attention to working together, exchanging experiences, and the practical comradery. An event such as the SAR dog World Championship serves to deepen existing friendships and fostering new ones, too. Friendships which are, in Training and in mission, essential for succeeding.

Therefore, I wish us all an exciting week in the company of like-minded people and hope that the results you achieve meet your expectations.

With kind regards

Markus Bock
IRO President