First of all, it's hard to imagine that two years has passed, but Mr. Enthusiasm, our own Widdershins Upwind Jozsi, turned 2yrs old on May 15th. And for his second birthday he got... X-rays! and dilated pupils! We decided to keep Jozsi intact to see if he turned into half the dog we thought he might based on the great dogs he has back there in his pedigree. And frankly, he's a good enough dog that he really should contribute to the breed by producing pups -- and our breeders have agreed to remove his limited registration status from his AKC registration. We have no plans to become breeders ourselves, but we've let folks know that he could be available in the future. But first he had to pass his OFA hip and elbow evaluations and his CERF eye exam to minimize the prospect that he might transmit joint dysplasia or heritable eye diseases. The CERF exam provides immediate results, the OFA evaluations can take 2-3 weeks. I am an anxious parent and so I overnighted his X-rays to them, and called them after 2 weeks. In as much as anything can be in a dog whose nicknames are 'Crackfiend' and 'Mr. 200mph', he is normal and therefore an eligible bachelor. And we have some interested parties... V-Harmony is in full effect! (The picture is from this past Friday. Nice lip curl!)
Speaking of V-Harmony, we got to see Vizsla Superstar, HRH
I just got back from taking the boys up to the Hudson Valley GSP Hunt Test up at Flaherty. I wanted to run Momo on Saturday in his first attempt at Master Hunter (MH) to see how all our spring training had gone and had volunteered to help out as a line marshall for Sunday. And being up at Flaherty, I took the opportunity to bring a bunch of quail to use as training birds for both Mominator and Mr. Enthusiasm (who also needs to keep working on his honor). We got two great training runs on on Friday -- and I have to admit I was really pleased with how the two guys did together. Momo really seems to have figured out the honor and both boys were looking pretty damn still on their feet. I think this is a great pic, one of several in fact from the afternoon.
Then Saturday came around and Mominator was up. We were the third brace of MH and my suspicions were confirmed by reports from the first braces that, in addition to any birds that had been planted, there were also sufficient numbers of quail left from field trials passed that the first two dogs encountered coveys of quail. I had a game-plan to work the marsh edge away from the trees as soon as possible, knowing that the likelihood of encountering birds was slim. However, as soon as we entered the backcourse proper, Momo made an impressive find on a quail in dense undergrowth, dense enough that while I could hear it scurry I never saw it till it flushed. Then his bracemate went on point and Momo did a beautiful honor. We then managed to get away from the trees and out into the sunlight and headed out for the birdfield. Along the way, our bracemate encountered the previously mentioned coveys of quail and despite some fairly impressive self-control finally got picked up after a quail got up in front of her face, sufficiently close to poop on her nose, then fell to the ground again, sliding down her leg -- and while she never moved her feet, she leant around and picked up the bird in her mouth. Sadly, a no-no.
We made it to the birdfield where Momo immediately located a chukar. Sadly, said chukar had gotten soaked from the long foliage and the night-before's rain. Even though I hoofed it up, it barely flapped, plopped into the grass about 4' ahead and could be heard digging for China. I checked with the judge that I could pick the bird up and toss it, and then resumed ferreting around for the bird. I finally dropped to a knee to scoop it out off the weeds -- and apparently at that point, Momo stepped forward about 4-5'. I didn't know this till after the bird had been shot and he'd retrieved it -- so it was a shame to know he was done early. Nevertheless, the lesson here for me is that if I have to do it again, I won't turn my back on the dog again to try and grab a bird... not because I don't trust him so much as to give him a clear view of what's happening. While we were ultimately unsuccessful, I feel very pleased with the boy and can keep training for these kinds of scenarios. If there can be such a thing, the nice part about MH is that it's so easy to screw up that there's almost no point in getting anxious. While good, consistent training will help stack luck on your side, it's hard to train for unprepared bracemates, covies of birds both wild or planted, and the particular performance penchants of individual judges. As an indicator of how difficult MH can be, while no one thing screwed up every dog, not a single dog of the eleven that tried out for MH on Saturday qualified. And this included the winner of the AKC's Pointing Dog Championship, Sioux.
And finally: so how hard does your dog run? Both Saturday and Sunday mornings, I was up at 5:15am to run the dogs on the grounds for a little short of an hour to get them all conked out for what would be several hours in their Taj Mahal dog box. This morning we got back to the tent and the truck and I got their breakfast out and noticed this. Sadly, I took the clip on my cell-phone so it's a small picture but hopefully you can still make it out.
My dog runs so hard that steam comes off him!! Here's to Mr. 200mph!