Charles and I have been called in to evaluate some rescue dogs from time to time.  If a dog has been exposed to overly harsh hunting training, it will do what is called “blinking the bird”.  It knows that a bird is in the field and will physically acknowledge it only briefly, but then move away from it in fear.  I have been doing that with this blog.  I know it is here and that I need to engage, but have been turning away from it.

I’ve been devoting most of my free writing time to serving as co-editor of the Griffonnier, the magazine of the AWPGA.  The American Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Association is the AKC Breed Parent Club and is dedicated to the preservation of the breed through promoting good breeding and training practices.  You can join at:  My friend and co-editor, Amy Caswell-O’Clair of Soonipi Point Griffons in Newport, New Hampshire, have been working hard at putting out a great quarterly magazine.  Our graphic designer has encouraged us to the enter the Dog Writers Association of America Breed Club Magazine contest for 2016, so we are really pouring ourselves into putting out a great product because we want to win.  So that is part of the reason why I’ve been absent.

Charles and I have also been very busy with home improvements.  Earlier this year, we finally took out the living room carpet of a million puppy pees and had the oak flooring underneath refinished.  No more puppy pee carpet!  If you love dogs, solid flooring is the only way.  Our latest project has been putting up a sheep and goat fence on our back 3/4 acre for the dogs.  So now we are a true urban dog farm, free range dogs and all.  It sure cuts down on having to take them out for walks, they can just run around the yard themselves.  And where they used to be able to run three neighborhoods over when they wanted to on walks, there is no more of that.  Here’s some views of the new fence from the kitchen window:



But I guess I still need to catch you up on the end of hunting season and the beginning of puppy season.

January 2016 Hunting

We managed to get out in the Sandhills over Christmas break, but with no success.  We walked 5 miles over 4 hours and didn’t see a single grouse.  We then flushed up a flock of 15 with our truck as we were driving out and they sailed far away.  But that is why it is called hunting and not just killing.

Charles and some friends made it back down to Matt’s for some more quail action and he had another hunt with Matt where it was too dark for them to take photos of the roosters and quail, but we did get some shots from our January hunts.  Early in the month, we did a hunt near the Missouri River.  We had been hunting for awhile when Charles got his rooster on the day.  He was walking north towards me along the bank of the river and I was walking towards him southbound when a rooster got up.  It flew over the river and he nailed it good.  I was so scared for the dogs and the big icy river, but luckily the rooster had landed on the edge of the ice and wasn’t floating away.  Fire was in the lead on the retrieve with stupid pup Chief and retrieve-hog BB tailing her.  Luckily, Charles was able to call the two misbehavers off of the bank before anyone had to fall through the ice.  The rooster was in the bag.

Ice Rooster

BB, Fire and the ice rooster

The last day of the season was January 31st and we took advantage of it.  Charles had his “best last day ever” taking two quail and two roosters.

Best Last Day

BB and Fire with Charles on the best last day

Puppy Season 2016

If there is one thing that I’ve learned from this year, is that I will never attempt an off-site litter again.  I hate not being in control.  When Velma didn’t cycle at the same time as she did last year, it was very stressful.  Did she cycle early and we missed it?  Just as I had almost given up hope, Aaron finally noticed signs of proestrus around March 9th.  I had him bring Velma (that we co-own with Aaron) and the stud, Ben, (who is from our “B” Litter between Sam and Sue) over to our place on Friday the 11th.  Breeding started on the evening of Sunday, March 13th and concluded on Wednesday, March 16th.  So assuming that all goes as planned, the puppies will be born mid-May and go home mid-July  (All of the puppies are spoken for at this time).  Aaron will do the whelping and have the pups until my family returns home from 4th of July travels.  I’ll have the pups the last two weeks and for the new owners to pick up here.  I didn’t get any great pictures of Ben and Velma while they were here, so these will have to do:

Velma and Ben

Velma and Ben in a tie in the kennel.

Ben fully groomed

Ben earned himself a grooming for all of his hard work

It is a huge relief to have this breeding done.  As far as looking ahead to 2017, I am pretty doubtful that I will do a litter.  I do not have a homegrown stud dog up and ready (Ben has fulfilled his contract and will be neutered), with Chief only a year-old right now and no hunt tests.  He will be doing his NAVHDA Natural Ability either in May with the Heartland Chapter in Brainard, Nebraska, or in June with the Midwest Tri-State Chapter in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

I would like to wait until Chief has a Utility Test under his belt before breeding him.  My female from Quebec, BB, has her NA and UT tests, but I would have to use an outside stud in order to have a litter.  I just don’t feel the need to put in the time and expense for all of the hormone testing and stud service to time and have an outside stud litter, when I am not in a situation to keep a pup out of it myself.  I don’t want to 100% say, no, I won’t do a litter in 2017, but I’m about 90% sure.  I have a 90 year-old grandmother and 95 year-old grandfather that I have to get out to California to visit right when school lets out in 2017 and I can’t let anything get in the way of that.

But back to talking about NAVHDA testing, we are looking to have Fire ready to Utility Test this Fall.  That means that every weekend from here on out, we are going to have to be working with her to get ready.  It is an exciting time, but also a lot of hard work.  Last weekend, we started our big walks with all of the dogs since it was dry enough.



Bluestem’s Otoe Chief, “Chief”


Bluestem’s Prairie Fire, NA I “Fire”


Bourg-Royal CB Bluestem JH, NA I UT III

Here’s just a random shot of Fire and Chief on the kitchen floor being buds:

Fire and Chief

Fire and Chief having a nap in the sun


Lots of birthdays this time of year, I can’t keep track of all of the dates!  It is hard to believe that our “A” litter is six years old now!  Happy birthdays to everyone.

Our retired female, Mae, is now a grandmother with the birth of Midge’s (from our 2013 “F” litter) pups at Vigilante Griffons in Helena, Montana.

Midge and pups

Midge (“F” litter) and her puppies at Vigilante Griffons

I love this picture of her older brother Chester (from our “C” litter Sam/Mae in 2012) and his owner Sal in New York by Field Dog Imagery:

Sal and Chester

And here’s Chester’s sister and littermate, TracHer in North Dakota:

TracHer & Susan 01

It’s always fun hunting in ND

Chester and TracHer’s little sister, Josie, from Mae’s last litter (our “H” litter) in 2014 celebrated her 2nd birthday up in South Dakota with a swim:

Josie 2 yrs

Josie (H litter)

Rob here in Omaha sent an update on Maggie, from our “E” litter in 2013 (Sam/Sue):

It has been too long since I have reported on Maggie (Edna from Feb. 2013). As I have said before she is constantly impressing me and never disappoints. I have never hunt tested her but we do a lot of wild bird hunting around Winner and Presho, SD. Our family friend who owns the land that we hunt also wants us to start guiding some of his paying customers that he has a few weekends a year. This is not the lodge type setup as it is all wild birds, but the bird population is great and we love it there. The best part is he has no concerns with Maggie being used with paying customers as she is a fantastic hunter and very well behaved, and not even 3 years old yet!!

At home she is great with our 7 year old daughter, whom you met when we picked her up, and our 22 month old son who came after we added Maggie to our family. Her only downside is if I get up from my recliner she likes to jump in it and try to steal it from me, and she will growl her disapproval when lying on the foot of our bed and I want to move my feet making her move! We have to keep an eye on our son because he likes to pull on her beard while trying to kiss her, but she is so patient that we never worry as she will just smother him with kisses until he backs off.


Maggie with some pheasants


A great day for Maggie and Rob

Maggie’s sister/littermate Zoey in Oklahoma had some fun blood tracking some hogs recently:

Zoey and hogs

Maggie and Zoey’s older sister, Dottie, from our “D” litter in 2012 (Sue/Sam) is still around town here in Omaha and getting out and chasing birds.  Her owner Rick said,

It’s been a while since we’ve sent you an update on Dottie.  She’s been absolutely great!  The absolute best mix of a solid, reliable hunting dog and a family companion.  I’ve attached some pics from our youth outing last weekend and our open day haul today.  We’re so happy you introduced her into our family.

Dottie 2015 opener1

Dottie (D litter) with quail and roosters

Dottie 2015 opener2

Dottie was queen of the youth hunt

My dog Fire’s sister, Willow, just celebrated her second birthday with her owner Kaylee making a cute card.  The picture on the left was taken by me at my house when she picked up her puppy and the one on the right is the same pose now.  Love it!  Fire and Willow are from Sam and BB’s “G” litter.  Kaylee and Willow live in Missouri.


Willow and Kaylee, then and now!

Willow’s little sister, another Maggie, from our 2015 “J” Litter (Sam/BB) just turned one.  This Maggie lives in Iowa.

Maggie turns 1 (J)

J litter Maggie is 1

Last but not least, Chief’s brother Cooper also celebrated his first birthday with his owner making a cute card.  Chief and Cooper are from our 2015 “I” litter between Ben and Velma.  Cooper lives in North Dakota.

Cooper's first birthday

Retirement Update

Sam is enjoying life on the sheep farm near Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Sam on the farm

I haven’t had any recent pictures from my brother of Mae, but he recently texted me that she is the “funniest dog ever”.  She hangs out with my brother and his crazy Siberian Husky in Valentine, Nebraska.


I had this whole pheasant noodle soup recipe of Charles’s with pics and stuff ready to go, but this post has become an epic tome and I’ll save it for another day.  Good luck to everyone out there with spring training and testing.  If you love your griffon, or any versatile dog for that matter, test it in NAVHDA.  It is fun and important.  If you are not yet a member, please join at:

Happy Spring!