Sunday, August 18, 2013

big wide open

We're now through with the first two full weeks of summer camp -- we've had our first round of scratches and scrapes and trips to the vet and what I am sure will be merely the first round of bitches in season driving all the boys completely nuts.  We have 20 dogs here in camp -- 17 vizslas, 2 pointers and 1 German Wirehair -- and after a busy first week, we now have proper kennel runs set up to accommodate all of them.  Ken has 14 dogs, I brought the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Capo, Rye, and the handsome Ben (who belongs to a friend of mine).  We had an uneventful trip out. happily, stopping over at our friends' house in western PA (Brian and Brandy own Dot, Jake's sister, who sadly is out at summer camp of her own), then a great visit with Meg's father, Bill, and his brother, John, at the Riordan family compound in eastern WI, then a short day's drive to Red Wing, MN, to visit with the fabulous Janeen McMurtrie of SmartDogs fame, before hauling out to north-central South Dakota.  On the right, here's Momo, Jozsi, Capo, and Rye celebrating what it means to be a Hungarian hunting dog in America!

We've got a pretty good regular schedule set up that ensures that every dog gets roaded twice a week according to their output and goals (for example, Momo is primarily an 8-10mph dog whose primary function is to be an all-day hunting dog and he and Rye make a nice pairing), we work the walking dogs (ie. the ones who will primarily be hunting and hunt test dogs) twice a week on wild birds, and we work the horseback dogs twice a week on wild birds.  Dogs like Rye and Ben are also here to get broke and we work those dogs three times a week on pigeons and johnny-house quail.  Sunday is a day off for all, if possible, and we like it like that.

But my Road Crew came to South Dakota for big spaces and wild birds -- and we have both.  Unlike last summer, it rained often and till late and so we still have a lot of crops (like wheat, corn, and millet) in which reduces our available training spaces, but we have seen what looks like two clear clutches of young birds -- and we have seen Huns, sharptails, and pheasants.  And Ken has done a nice job securing leases from landowners to run dogs on their properties.  It is amusing to think that we have maybe only covered about half of one of the properties we ride on after now taking dogs there twice -- and that that property is about 6 or 7 times the size of the Flaherty Field Trial Area that we normally compete at.  This picture is actually of Capo, first time turned loose after eight months of no birdwork on a species she's never smelled before (a sharptail).  This is why we love her so much, looking so good it looks fake.

Jake already took a good gash across one of his front legs and a speargrass seed in one of his ears.  If we had been at home, I would probably have taken him to the vet to get a few stitches put in and I certainly debated whether to break out the stapler but after conversation with Wendy at Widdershins (who works at a vet practice we stopped by at several times last year while up in Ripley) I decided to go with air and frequent flushing and, now ten days later, Jake got run off horseback for only the second time since he got here.  With twice daily flushings using a syringe and saline solution and only a spray of liquid bandage to protect it, the wound has filled in in nicely.  Ten days ago after his run, though, he was shaking his head a little too insistently and carrying one of his ears a little low.  After a week of flushing with an ear cleaner, there was only minor improvement and so he was one of the dogs that went to try out the facilities at Oahe Veterinary Clinic in Mobridge in an attempt to locate whatever it was that was bothering him and to try and rule out the possibility of a nocardia infection.  Happily, he seems back to his usual goofy self.  And this picture is from this morning -- click on the picture and you'll see him, standing tall for a sharptail about 15yards away.

Hopefully this will be the first post in a series, but bed is calling.  Have fun out there, everyone!


Rod Michaelson said...

Andrew, glad you and Ken are getting some good work in on the dogs. Soon, 2016, I will be retired and hope to follow your paw steps on the plains of South Dakota. Love the land and people.

Rod aka RBD

Anonymous said...

Those sure are some happy dogs! Looks beautiful and can't wait to explore it myself in a few weeks! xoxo Meg