We just got back from Sharpe's Farm up in Hopkinton, NH, after taking part in the VCCNE's Annual Meeting (at which I was elected to the Board) and running Momo through his first legs of his Versatility Certificate (VC).
I don't actually know if the VC is unique to vizslas -- or if other breeds have their equivalent. In any case, the dog is evaluated for conformation, obedience, and fieldwork -- and has to pass each section three times, each time under a different judge. And while you could tell that he was a little nervous for both the obedience and conformation sections (because we've never done things like this formally before), Momo passed all three parts successfully. Bravo.
Nevertheless, his brother produced a good omen for the weekend by finding his first grouse on the Friday night before everything happened. I had headed out to the field to run the boys after almost five hours in the Prius -- and after about 10mins, Jozsi pulls up in a very dramatic, atypical point for him... ears back and horizontal from head to tail. I called Momo into honor him (which he did with almost no command... progress indeed) and then kicked around in the brush to no effect, so I relocated him, and he froze again after only 2'. His eyes were bugging out and he was drooling... he was possessed. So, trusting the dog, I went in again sifting through all the tall grass. Nothing. So I turned them both loose... Jozsi cruised off, obviously thinking he must have been mistaken, while Momo started rooting around with his mouth. I called him to 'Take'... and he came out with this baby grouse. Zoiks.
After I had congratulated Jozsi on finding such a great bird, I sent them off and hid the little guy in a different spot. The short version of the story as it continues is that Jozsi promptly found the poor thing again the next morning... recognizing the spot this time, I knew exactly what I was looking for and managed to grab it to avoid it getting either stepped on or chomped on.
While the first pic above is from this morning after the boys had burned their jets off (and after Jozsi had found a chukar in one of the back fields... again, nicely honored by Momo). They are stud-muffins. We love them. They rock. The final pic is what you get when you combine two tired vizslas, a bunch of camping gear, and a Prius.
Anyways, speaking of camping, this was our first weekend of camping with the boys. With the number of events we go to, the number of hunt test venues that permit camping, and the cost of hotels, we decided to invest in a family tent. We were lucky that our first attempt was on Manny + Stephanie's camper site... in no small part because it threw down rain last night and so we were able to eat dinner in their camper with them and Wendy + Chris... and because they were such great hosts in allowing us to pitch our tent there and pretty much feeding us dinner and a great breakfast this morning. Thanks to M+S -- and to Baron + Roxie + Benny for putting up with our two numpties.
As ever it was nice to see Mike, Kim, Jaida + Cedar. Kyler wasn't at the weekend's events because she was due to give birth tomorrow. But as I found out when we drove past their exit this morning, she was a day early. Kim has already posted pictures of mom and her 5 puppies (3F + 2M) on her blog. We got to meet a 5mos old pup from Wendy + Chris's Seeker and Duke on Saturday -- and she looked like dynamite. I don't think the couple who had her had any idea just how much dog they have -- judging from that pup, Kyler's litter should be great-looking, hard hunting field dogs.
In other news, although I signed papers on Friday before I headed up to NH, we have selected a new Team Vizslamobile. Assuming there are no weird unexpected hitches, I'll pick up our new-to-us 2006 Tacoma. We were able to find a double-cab with a long-bed -- and it certainly seems as though we got a good deal, in no small part because we were long-standing customers of the dealer's service department. Which is arguably the way it should be. So, fingers crossed, we should be back in business next weekend.