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Hunting for our dream

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In case you missed the news, we’ve moved! We are now located in the rural area between Clover and Lake Wylie, South Carolina known as Bethel Township. Our place has three acres and a small barn, perfect for raising these dogs.

I won’t post too many detailed photos of our property since there have been so many problems with Griffons being stolen throughout the country and I don’t want to be in that position. Luckily there is always someone around our little acreage neighborhood keeping an eye on things. Where we are living is in the middle of a large family farm that was split between the family members, so everyone around us is related. The properties are all between one and forty acres, and the folks have animals of one sort or another, shoot guns, drive trucks…we fit right in. It is fun for Charles to be able to train dogs right in the yard. A much better option for us than one of the many subdivisions in the Charlotte metro area.

Right now Charles is working with Caleb and Sally on getting ready for the NAVHDA Natural Ability Test at the end of the month. Without much wild bird hunting around, the next few years will allow us to focus our efforts on our hunt testing and field trialing prowess. Caleb will be the first junior handler for the Foothills NAVHDA Chapter, so regardless of how Sally comes out, it will be a great experience for him. Plus, if we don’t like the prize that she gets out of this test, Charles can re-test her in the spring if he feels the need to do so.

Bluestem Sally Forth at 7.5 months, meeting her new vet

Sally is weighing in at 43 pounds and is a cute little dog. She was the smallest of the litter, so we are hoping that she doesn’t get much bigger than what she is now. Her coat is changing from her puppy fluff to her adult coat and we think that the warmer weather down here has it coming in shorter and tighter than with dogs past. Or it could just be her genetics, it is tough to know for sure.

You can see where the lighter softer coat is being replaced by a harsher, darker coat

This is the first Labor Day Weekend since 1995, when we were both still in college taking summer school classes, that Charles hasn’t been hunting the Nebraska Sandhills this weekend. I’ve been hunting there pretty consistently over the last 20 years. It is pretty emotional being away.

Nebraska Sandhills Sunrise, one year ago today

So then, why are we here in South Carolina? There was an offer that we couldn’t refuse. We are hoping that we can retire here, then have a big pickup with a dog box and an Airstream trailer that we can live out of during hunting season upon retirement. I love being between the beach and the mountains but still in a rural lifestyle. Charles will be back in Nebraska for a hunt in December and hopefully as we get settled in there will be more time for hunting travel. Our older son graduates this spring, then there’s one more kid for me to get through school. I will be mostly homebound until that task is completed, but am going to focus on conditioning in that time because hunts like Himalyan Snowcock, chukar partridge and white ptarmigan are going to take some serious athleticism.

The Palmetto State

I have found that keeping our Facebook page updated has been an easier task than sitting down to blog. Here are some miscellaneous photos of the dogs that I’ve taken with my phone recently:

AKC/NAVHDA Bluestem Peaches en Regalia, NA I UPT II “Ruth”
AKC/NAVHDA Wyo Plainsman Kenobi, NA I UPT III “Obi”
AKC/NAVHDA Bluestem Sally Forth
Obi, Ruth and Sally

As far as breeding this year, we are planning on a litter between Obi and Ruth in the spring. I will make a formal breeding announcement in a few weeks, then start to take new inquiries while getting back in touch with my contact list. I thought that I would bounce back to kennel work at the computer faster than I have, honestly. Having all of my things boxed crammed into a semi then stuffed into an empty house is like nothing I have ever experienced before. I pray that this is our last stop, but we’ll see where life takes us.

Our stuff filled an entire semi trailer

AKC/NAVHDA Sweetgrass Sandhill Sioux “Sue” 05/26/2004 – 08/20/2021

I will be sure to do a better write-up about the life of Sue at a later date with more pictures, but I would be amiss if I didn’t mention the passing of the Griffon who started it all for us. She was born the day before our first son, Conrad, and spent her first 8.5 years living with us in our first house in Bellevue. Upon her retirement from hunting and having puppies, she went to live with the Knispel family in Cedar Butte, South Dakota (just west of White River, near Badlands National Park). She passed at the age of seventeen, after a long life of many adventures and being very loved. There are so many more pictures and stories to go with Sue, but this will have to do for now. See you at the happy hunting grounds, girl.

If you’ve been following our Facebook page, this isn’t much new material, but I’ll be getting the good camera out for Sally’s NAVHDA Natural Ability Test with Caleb in a couple of weeks and there will finally be some fresh content.

Good luck to everyone out there in the wild bird fields and with fall hunt testing. The future of the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon breed is looking bright thanks to all of our efforts.

NAVHDA UPT Passes and Move News

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Thank you to the Central States NAVHDA Chapter and the judges present who made Obi and Ruth’s UPT tests possible. Obi passed on Saturday with a Utility Preparatory Test Prize III and Ruth passed on Sunday with a UPT Prize II. I wish that I could have been there to photograph the event, but our upcoming move kept me at home. Thank you to Pam Robinson of Robingun Small Munsterlanders for the photographs. Obi’s mistakes were in the field and Ruth’s were in the duck search. But we passed! It will be a few months before we hit the testing grounds again, so it is good to have this under our belts.

Obi with Charles and our youngest son, Caleb, on Saturday
Charles and Ruth all wet on Sunday

In other news, we somehow managed to avoid the bidding wars and drama that are going into home purchases in the Charlotte/Rock Hill region and went straight into contract on a nice house and almost three acres with a little barn between Clover and Lake Wylie, South Carolina. It is 20 minutes to the Charlotte airport, so an easy shot should we need to get home: there is a direct flight between Charlotte and Omaha, which is important since our daughter will still be here finishing up at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the next couple of years and my mom and brother are still in Valentine.

This is my first half-way-across-the-country move since I was four years-old when we came back to Nebraska from the San Fernando Valley in California (where my mom grew up) back in 1978. I still vividly remember the trip in the green Gran Torino station wagon towing the red VW Beetle full of stuff.

Charles has been here since he started at UNL in 1991, when he rode the Greyhound Bus from New York to Omaha.

But I know the folks down in the Clover area are good people and we look forward to experiencing their own version of rural culture. And there are lots of good Griff friends and family on both sides nearby and that makes it easier.

I gave away all of my snow shovels today. That was an awesome feeling.

We’ll be pretty bogged down in the move with not much news until we’re settled in South Carolina, probably mid-July. So hang tight fans.

And a big shout out to Susan Davy and TracHer from our “C” Litter with Sam and Mae who has almost all of her AKC Master Hunter legs up in North Dakota at 9 years old. Griffs never give up!

So keep training and spoiling your dogs. My dogs just got themselves a tiny farm, which we are all excited about.

Bluestem: Transplanted

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Bluestem is the state grass of Nebraska. Little bluestem to the west, sand bluestem in the Sandhills and big bluestem in the east is a dominate grass species across the state. Charles was originally a range science major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln when he moved out here from New York in 1991 and was part of the international plant identification team for the university before he became an economics major.

He started on at Ameritrade in 1997 and recently relinquished his position there (of our own doing) after the business was sold to Charles Schwab. We will be moving to York County, South Carolina over the summer to advance his career (the southern suburbs of Charlotte, North Carolina). This is actually the homeland of the Upchurches, as Charles’s parents were raised in Hamlet, North Carolina not an hour from there. We still have many relatives in the area and have visited there our entire relationship.

We have retired Fire, she is currently recovering from her spay and will go home with one of Charles’s old hunting buddies who is retired between Minnesota and Arizona.

I would like to devote this post to the retired mothers of our kennel. Sue, Mae, Velma, BB and Fire. We would not exist without their bodily sacrifices and motherly love. I have yet to rush a female to the vet to do a c-section or have to bottle feed puppies because a mother would not nurse. All of these mamas have whelped naturally and nursed their puppies. They will always be loved and remembered as contributors to our kennel and the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon breed.

So here’s to the mothers of Bluestem Kennels:

Sue, the griff who started it all for us, who is still alive at 17
Mae, great-grandmother of Obi, who recently passed at age 15
Velma out of De Jac Pine, who is still living with our friend Aaron
BB from Bourg-Royal Kennel in Quebec who is currently living in Kansas at 10
Fire and the most recent Q Litter, who will retire this year at 7

Ruth’s AKC SH Pass

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Feel free to email bluestemkennels@gmail.com to enquire about our 2022 litter plans. As of right now, AKC/NAVHDA Wyo Plainsman Kenobi, NA I “Obi” and Bluestem Peaches En Regalia, NA I “Ruth” is a for sure planned litter for Spring 2022. That very well may be it, I am watching Fire’s recovery from her litter this year to decide whether or not she’s up for having another or if it is time to retire her this summer.

Also, feel free to reach out if you feel like you would like to be considered for Fire’s retirement home (AKC/NAVHDA Bluestem’s Prairie Fire, NA I with an AKC Walking Derby placement and around a hundred wild birds both upland and waterfowl). She is 7 years old and in good health, giving her a good 3-4 years of hunting left, and another 3-4 years of being a good pet. Right now our griffons are living to be around 15 years old, with Sue being our oldest retiree at 17. Fire would be spayed and through recovery before re-homing. She really needs a hunting home, whether it be a family or a retiree. She is a great bird-finder and retriever both in the field and in the water. I do not charge a re-homing fee to a high quality home, but please realize that I will ask lots of questions because she is my beloved family member and I want her to be in a good place. She is the first dam that I’ve bred myself. I will get some photos together and make another post once I’ve made my final decision on whether to have her retire this summer or next.

Sally is growing! She’s gained about five pounds since her siblings left. I’ve lost one of my favorite throw pillows to her attacks and one of Charles’s pair of shoes has taken a beating to the chews. She still has a few housebreaking accidents a day but is getting better. Here she is getting her second round of shots last week.

Sally at the vet at 11 weeks

Over the weekend of April 10-11 Charles took Obi and Ruth down to the German Wirehaired Pointer Club of Nebraska’s AKC Hunt Test at Branched Oak Field Trial Grounds. Obi was having rotten behavior with his bracemates, so no passes for him, but Ruth managed to bring a ribbon home on Sunday! This is Charles’s first AKC Senior Hunter pass with any of our dogs so it is pretty exciting. As he gets closer to finishing her title, I will explain the ins and outs of the AKC Senior Hunter Test, but I’m on a time crunch right now and need to just post the pic and move on with the day.

Charles and Ruth with their first AKC SH ribbon

I am pretty much caught up with email except the ones that I’ve gotten over the last week, so hopefully I can get on those over the weekend and stay caught up. Four dogs take a lot of walking, I’ve had to step down from lifeguarding so that I only have one out-of-the-house job of substitute teaching now. My oldest son is wrapping his junior year of high school and there are so many papers, projects and tests to help him study for! And my husband’s firm was acquired about a year ago, so there could always be some surprise changes there. I’m working on getting as minimalist as possible in case a move comes up. It sounds like all of the new owners are enjoying their pups and so that feels like an accomplishment and job well done.

Good luck to other breeders with pups on the ground, owners with new pups getting them started and everyone training and testing this spring.

Q Litter Homegoings!

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Feel free to email bluestemkennels@gmail.com if you wish to enquire about our 2022 litter plans.  I am hoping to get through the 2022 interest emails by the old tax filing deadline of April 15th.

Over the last couple of weekends the Q Litter has gone to their new homes.  They are really a handful at 8 weeks old and I am so glad that they are with their new owners getting into a routine and having plenty of individual attention.  We still have Sally here (her litter name was Quarry) and she is very sweet but obviously does normal puppy annoying behavior, like chewing stuff that she is not supposed to and having potty accidents.  I am not going to try and sugar-coat housebreaking a Griff.  They are really one of the toughest breeds to get through in my experience.  Where I can have an English breed fully broken by 12-16 weeks, I’m honest with myself in knowing that I’m still going to be struggling at that point and not to expect to be accident-free until 20 weeks with a Griff.

The only thing that I can think of to account for the longer period of time is that they have so much to learn as a versatile breed that it just takes them longer to get everything down.  And they are just a slower maturing breed anyway; Obi is 17 months-old and still has some very puppy behavior.

Let’s do photos first, then I’ll talk about what we’re working on with Sally.  I’m just going in the order of pickup for simplicity’s sake.

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Joe and family, with Qbert going to Iowa

We are excited to have Joe and Qbert (he will be called something else, but I always forget to write down their new call names and so I’ll just refer to their litter names, sorry) just across the river in Iowa and hope we get to train with them soon.

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Ricardo and Quartz are off to Colorado

Ricardo has an older Griff who will be showing Quartz the way on pheasants in Colorado.  They have a population of white ptarmigan out there that I hope that we get to chase someday, so maybe we’ll meet again.

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Cliff’s family and Queen on their way to Oklahoma

Cliff also has Belle from our “C” Litter between Sam and Mae, so this is their second Bluestem puppy.  They had just come up from taking their granddaughters to show their pigs.  Belle and the pup are still figuring out their relationship but it is going well so far.

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Greg and his wife with Quince going to North Dakota

Greg also has Epsilon from our J Litter between Sam and BB, so yet another two Bluestem puppy family.  He will be getting spoiled since both Greg and his wife work independently and someone always has the dogs with them.  And of course North Dakota is one of our favorite places to visit during hunting season, hopefully the bird population up there bounces back in the next few years.

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Jim and his family with Qiana

Jim and his family lives out on an acreage in central Nebraska.  This is their first Griff, so they are in for an adventure.  But Jim has had hunting dogs his whole life and his dad was a trainer of Labarador Retrievers so they’re ready for action.

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Aaron and his wife heading back to Ohio with Quest

Aaron has a Bluestem pup that goes by Pepper from our D Litter between our original breeding pair Sue and Sam.  He says that Quest and Pepper are getting along splendidly and she is really fitting in with the family.  Aaron also wins the “traveled farthest” award for coming almost 800 miles one way to pick up his puppy.

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Quentin going to Michigan with Paul and Deb

Second in the “traveled farthest” award is Paul and Deb, flying out from Michigan to rent a car and drive back home with Quentin.  They also own a pup by the name of Fielding from our O Litter between Fire and Chief with their daughter Galen and her fiancee.  Galen works in IT for a major Detroit auto manufacturer and her fiancee is a police officer, so all four of them take turns raising the dogs with schedules all over the place.

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Travis and family with Quetzal going to Kansas

Travis and I have been in contact about getting his family a puppy for a long time, but being active duty in the Army with consistent deployment and his wife home with three kids, there was no way she was going to let him get a puppy until he retired!  So happy military retirement, Travis and thank you for your service!  Bird numbers in Kansas have been good lately, so I’m sure you’ll get a chance to chase some of them around.

I suppose I should set up a tripod and take a family picture of us with Sally, but it has not happened yet, so here are just a few candids from around the house.

Charity Upchurch Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Puppies

Sally and I taking a selfie

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Sally on top of her big sister Ruth, who is almost exactly four years older

On Good Friday, Charles took Caleb and mama Fire out for some preserve hunting.  Caleb shot a rooster and a few of the chukar, with Charles harvesting the rest.  The most important to me was that Caleb and Fire had a good time.

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Caleb trying to pose with Fire

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Caleb showing off his rooster and his smile

As fas as what we are working on with Sally, I focus on the housebreaking and crate training.  If someone isn’t watching her to catch accidents, she is in a crate near the rest of us so that she can still interact and hear what we are doing.  Charles is working on whoa and heel using treats in the morning.

When we started out working with dogs twenty years ago, we didn’t do much other than housebreaking the first year and letting them on to wild birds.  This was sort of the old field trialer dog training mentality.  But as we’ve matured as dog owners, we’ve found that the sooner we work with them the better.  Not overtraining or hacking on the pup, but just fun basic command learning and general obedience.

Especially with Griffons, if they are not exposed to a little pressure to behave right away, because they are so sensitive it is extremely difficult to impossible to break bad habits since their feelings get hurt so easily.  It’s better to get them used to being trained early so that when you get to the more advanced steps they are not as difficult to handle.

Speaking of advanced steps, Charles is taking Obi and Ruth down to Lincoln for AKC Senior Hunter runs this weekend, so we’ll see how those go.  I had forgotten about the tests and am scheduled to lifeguard, so I am a little bummed that I won’t get to do some field photography.  We’ve also got them signed up to do the Utility Preparatory Test for NAVHDA in May, so I need to make sure to keep my calendar open that weekend to get some good photos.

Good luck to everyone with their Bluestem puppies, we are all in this challenging and joyous situation together so don’t hesitate to shoot me an email with questions.  And of course don’t be afraid to turn to your local NAVHDA chapter members for help and advice.

Q Litter Seven Weeks

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This litter is all microchipped with their new owners’ information and they start to go home on their eight week birthday on Sunday.  Our next litter will be in Spring of 2022 between Wyo Plainsman Kenobi, NA I “Obi” and Bluestem Peaches En Regalia, NA I “Ruth”.  We keep going back and forth on a final repeat breeding of Fire and Chief next year and have not yet made a final decision.  Once these puppies are all in their homes I will start responding to my backlog of new interest emails.  If you want to join the queue, shoot me an email at bluestemkennels@gmail.com.

I’ve made sure that the puppies all been over by the pigeon coop and have had a bird fly up near them so they get used to that wing flapping sound and are not startled by it.  We’ve all had a couple of turns on the leash.  They’ve spent time in the crate.  They run around the yard like wild animals and run out into the woods so far that I’m afraid a coyote will eat them.  They have their shots, microchips and vet checks.  The papers from the AKC and NAVHDA are here.  They are ready for their own people.

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Queen (female) is going to Oklahoma as the family’s second Bluestem pup

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Quartz (male) is going to Colorado

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Quentin (male)  is going to Michigan as the family’s second Bluestem pup

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Qbert (male) is going to Iowa

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Quince (male) is going to North Dakota as the family’s second Bluestem pup

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Quest (female) is going to Ohio as the family’s second Bluestem pup

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Quetzal (male) is going to Kansas

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Qiana (female) is going to Central Nebraska

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Quarry (female) is going to become AKC/NAVHDA Bluestem Sally Forth “Sally” and stay with us.

Here is the video that I took this week: Q Litter Seven Weeks Old

I really need to run and do puppy chores, but for now I’m just going to post the photo of Charles and Wyo Plainsman Kenobi, NA I “Obi” and their sweep of the Walking Derby at the inaugural AWPGA AKC Walking Field Trial, winning first in both the Amateur and Open Divisions!  We are so proud and thankful that the club was able to pull off such an event.  Biggest thanks to Tom and Kristen Mathis for their work.  Also thank you to our Griffon friends for showing up, I really wish that I could have been there and thank you for all of the messages of being missed.

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Charles and Wyo Plainsman Kenobi, NA I “Obi” First Place ribbons in both the Amateur and Open Divisions of the AWPGA AKC Walking Field Trial

 

 

 

Q Litter at Six Weeks Old

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All of these puppies are spoken for, but feel free to email bluestemkennels@gmail.com if you are interested in our Spring 2022 litters. I am working with a considerable backlog of emails right now but I am receiving them and will be responding and placing you on our contact list for the future when we are ready to do interviews and take deposits for 2022. Due to the demands of home and family, it is pretty much impossible for me to manage raising a litter and communicating with those new owners, while trying to work with interest on future litters. Sorry.

These puppies are ready for action. We are going out in the yard around three times a day and if it is raining I have the garage picked up enough for them to run around. This is a big week for the puppies since they are going to be de-wormed for the first time, also introduced to the pigeon coop and a dead quail. It is always fun. Oh and I want to get them started on crate conditioning. It is not full-on crate training, but just the opportunity to spend time in a crate so that it isn’t a totally unfamiliar experience. They already prefer to potty outside, so hopefully having the new owners housebreak them once they are in their new homes won’t be awful, although Griffs are notoriously long to housebreak.

They are weaned off of canned food and only eating puppy kibble and drinking from the water dish. They do still get to see mom at night. They are all conditioned to the weather and are no longer receiving supplemental heat to their living quarters.

I will be in touch with all of the new owners this week and picks will be finalized by this weekend since they get their microchips a week from today. Also make sure to have your pickup plans finalized so that I can have you on my calendar.

Okay, time for photos! I took these this morning in the yard, they are pretty random and I’m just going to post them in the order that I took them.

Queen
Quest and Quentin
Queen
Quentin, Quartz, Quetzal and Quest
Quartz, Quince, Qiana, Quentin
Qiana and Quentin
Quetzal
Quetzal
Qbert
Qbert
Quest and Queen
Quetzal
Quartz
Qbert and Quincee
Quentin and Quince
Quest
Quetzal
Quest and Quetzal
Quest with rop, Queen and Quartz in the background

WordPress (what I design this blog with) just did an update and changed some things on me, so I just had one of those times when you do something, then click the wrong button and all of your work disappears so that you have to do it all over again. So putting those photos in took way longer than I had planned!

Here’s this week’s video which was taken yesterday evening between rainstorms: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SszbnY3D_W4&ab_channel=CharityUpchurch

Time to walk some dogs! Hopefully everyone out in Colorado and Wyoming is safe and digging out from the big storm. We just have had lots of rain these last couple of days, it should stay cool throughout the week and be nice over the weekend. It is actually easier to keep pups healthy when it is cool outside since you aren’t fighting all sorts of weird dirt fungi, bacteria and bugs. So the cool weather can just stay until these pups go home in a couple of weeks!

Q Litter at Five Weeks

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Five week old puppies keep you moving!  This litter is spoken for, but feel free to email bluestemkennels@gmail.com regarding our Spring 2022 planned litters.  My responses are slow right now with everything going on and I keep being hopeful that I can get around to responding to emails, but right now my focus is on raising these puppies and caring for my family.  If email responses have to wait until April then so be it.

But I’m here writing to you all now and that’s what counts.  Just to make sure that I got pictures of every single puppy, I pulled them out individually yesterday and played with them on the front lawn.  I am really going to take my time on making picks with this litter, they are really all fantastic and I want to make sure that I talk to all of the new owners again and get it all right.  They get their microchips on Monday, March 22nd so final decisions all have to be made by then.

Here is what I ask that the new owners have in mind when we talk next week: 1) have your pickup plans pretty firm so that I have it on my calendar 2) think of the personality of the pup that you are looking for: do you want an alpha dog or somewhere in the middle?  Coat length?  Size for your purpose?  All of them are really lovely and we’re having just a terrible time even figuring out which female we want to keep.  Regardless of which puppy you get, you will be happy!

Okay here are the pics.  They are simply in the order that they were photographed the first time at the age of three weeks, no reason for the order other than the random selection that I did on that day.

Males

Quartz

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Quentin

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Quince

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Quetzal

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Qbert

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Females

Queen

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Quest

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Qiana

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Quarry

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Wow, those are some cute photos!  They were pretty nervous.  They would run around for a couple of minutes, then come up to me for a cuddle and pets, then I’d put them back down and let them run around for a few more minutes.  When you see where they are sniffing and searching around, they are looking for their litter or their mom.  They are still very focused on wanting that security of being together.

Here is the video that we took in the backyard yesterday afternoon, pretty unscripted and random: Q Litter at Five Weeks Video

It is really getting to be nice weather here and I’m looking forward to when the puppies start to let themselves out which will be any day now.  Right now when I open the gate, they still pretty much want to stay in their kennel but that will change soon.  I did put collars on them a few days ago, those will stay with me when they go home.  Some of those camo collars on the boys are 10 years old!  Those are the small puppy collars, they will be ready for their new owners to bring medium puppy collars when they go home in three weeks.

We are trying to transition from soft canned food to puppy hard kibble, but they still really like canned food so they get it once or twice a day.  They have access to kibble at all times.  Mom generally goes out to see them once or twice a day and spends the night with them.  With the limited nursing, they do drink from the water bowl.  I will start our deworming regimen over the weekend, then next week is when I’ll defrost a dead quail to let them have a go at picking that up and also letting them inspect our live pigeon loft.  I’ve been doing noise exposure daily when they eat and they know to expect that and are not reacting.  We’ll mess around with a leash next week and practice being in a crate a little.  With it being spring break I’ll be able to have my helper Caleb assist me with all of this.

Of course right now sanitation is a continuous job and it will just get to be more so.  I’m able to get away with a once per day cleanup now but soon it will be twice a day and will continue that way until they go home.

Charles is preparing for the Griffon field trial in Illinois in a week and a half.  I am excited to see who shows up and how it all goes.

Time to sign off, enjoy the spring weather and good luck to everyone who is training, trialing, testing their big dogs or raising puppies right now.

1st Griffon-Only AKC Field Trial To Be Held

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Come and be a part of history! The first Griffon-only AKC Field Trial will be held March 20-21 at Moraine View State Recreation Area near LeRoy, Illinois, sponsored by the American Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Association. All stakes are walking only, no dogs will be handled on horseback (although the judges generally are). Entry cutoff is March 17th at 6 PM Central. Your dog needs to be registered with the AKC to participate, but you do NOT need to be a member of the AWPGA.
There will be six stakes: Amateur Puppy, Open Puppy, Amateur Derby, Open Derby, Amateur Gun Dog and Open Gun Dog. Puppy stakes are up to 15 months old and are mainly judged on desire and running style. Derby stakes are up to 24 months old and are judged on desire, running and point style. Gun Dog stakes are for finished dogs who are judged on desire, running style range, steadiness, backing/honoring, point intensity and retrieving. Amateur is only available to non-professional handlers, whereas Open is available to professional handlers.
This Griffon-only AKC walking field trial has been a huge event for the field committee (thank you especially to Tom and Kristen Mathis) to organize and we are excited to participate!
Yes, it is a competition. You are braced with another dog/handler pair and you are competing against them head-to-head on field performance. Then your performance is evaluated based on the entire entry of dogs and handlers for placement. Full rules can be found by Googling for the PDF document “AKC Field Trial Rules and Standard Procedure for Pointing Breeds”.
Our dogs have been running in AKC German Shorthaired Pointer Club walking field trials for nine years, about the same time that we’ve been members of the AWPGA. It has been a fun experience and we’ve brought home some ribbons on derby dogs.
We hope to have an excellent turnout for this event and look forward to some great sportsmanlike competition and camaraderie!
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Our most recent success at an AKC Field Trial was with Charles handling Wyo Plainsman Kenobi, NA I “Obi” to a 4th place finish in the Amateur Walking Derby at the Heart of America German Shorthaired Pointer Club’s trial just last weekend.

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Charles and Obi with their 4th place Amateur Walking Derby ribbon

2021 Obi FT

Charles and Ruth at the line. Photo courtesy of HOAGSPC

Q Litter at 4 Weeks

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This litter is spoken for and my next litters will be in spring of 2022.  I appreciate the overwhelming desire to get a pup from us, I really do.  I am receiving your emails and will be sure to reach out once I get our taxes prepared.  If you want to be added to my list of contacts, you can email bluestemkennels@gmail.com and I will get you on there and shoot you an email here in the next few weeks.

Why doesn’t she have any time?  Blogging takes time.  Not only do I have to take a couple of hours to write this post, but I have to set aside the time to do the photography beforehand.  Of course, there is taking care of the puppies which now includes daily feeding them and play time.  The big dogs need to be walked several times a day.  I am swimming two miles a week.  We are big foodies, so all of our food is homemade.  Like, I felt guilty for using store bought breadcrumbs in my meatloaf yesterday kind of homemade.  I don’t have a housekeeper and my kids don’t have tutors.  I probably spend six hours a week on tutoring my two boys.  And I try to squeeze in some professional time substitute teaching middle school and lifeguarding.  This is how I have always lived my life, bouncing from one completely unrelated thing to another.  Someday the kids will graduate from high school and I might retire from my out-of-the-house jobs to work on dogs full time.  But I’ve got to “make hay while the sun is shining” as we say out in the Sandhills.  Not time to be an old dog lady just yet.

The puppies are doing great.  Fielding a lot of questions from the new owners about how their personalities are developing and whether they show any curiosity or independence at this point.  The short answer is still “no”.  This is currently how they spend the majority of their life.

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The Q Litter at Four Weeks

They are most comfortable with their litter.  They have brief moments of being up and around and trying to explore with their limited mobility.  But it is not a lot yet.  The photos that I took on Saturday in the yard, they are really only separated from each other and exploring for like five minutes at the most.  Then they were ambling back to me to all curl up together on the beach towel.

Another thing about the photos, is that you can’t really see much of their total personalities in them.  I not only pick photos for the action, but also the general photo quality.  Like here’s a perfect example, I got this blurry shot of Quentin with the grouse wing but the one that turned out is the one where he is howling for mom.

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You would not see this pic normally because it is out of focus

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But no, the crybaby pic of Quentin is the one that turned out

It’s also tough to balance the number and quality of action photos on the puppies at this point.  I’m just shooting and I get what I get sometimes.

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L to R: Qbert, Quince, Quartz and Quetzal

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Quest and Qiana

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Quentin, Quarry, Queen

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Quartz, Quince, Quetzal

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Quest

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Quarry

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Quetzal

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Quarry

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Quartz

I just posted all of those in the order that I took them.  Like I said, that was over a period of just a few minutes before they wandered back to me and the beach towel.  Several of them didn’t get closeups.  There will be more action photos as they get up and move around more during the day.

Here is the video that I took of them last night as I was cleaning out the chips in their box: Q Litter Four Weeks Old

I do have more to write this week about Obi’s 4th place finish in the AKC Amateur Walking Derby at the Heart of America German Shorthaired Pointer Club Field Trial last weekend and an invitation to our own American Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Association’s breed-only AKC Walking Field Trial in LeRoy, IL.  But it will have to wait until Wednesday.

Think Spring!

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