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Opening Weekend 2017

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Breeding Plans Reminder

At this time we do not have any puppies available or retiring dogs.  We are planning two litters for breeding between December and February, puppies whelped between February and April, then going home April through June.  I am fully anticipate the two females heat cycles will cooperate, but due to travel constraints, I will not breed after March 1st.

At this time I am only gathering a contact list for when breeding occurs, then again when pregnancy is confirmed four weeks later.  I will most likely start taking applications and deposits once pregnancy is confirmed, which will most likely be between January and March.

To be placed on the contact list, simply email bluestemkennels@gmail.com with whatever basic introduction email you see fit.  All of the other information about the breeding and the kennel is on the pages linked in the top brown navigation bar.

Opening Weekend 2017: Nebraska Sandhills

As we arrived in the Sandhills Friday evening, the first thing that we noticed was that the sunset looked different.  The sky was hazy and the sun itself became a bold red orb as it descended.  The smoke from the Montana wildfires had arrived and stayed with us the whole weekend.  By the time we arrived in Valentine, we could smell forest fire in the air as we exited the vehicle.

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We weren’t out super early, but early enough to beat the heat.  A truck from Minnesota with a dog box in the back was parked near our usual spot, plus there were cows and calves in there, we just decided to skip it and look for some new territory.  We figure that if we scout enough now while we are younger, then we’ll be able to continue to hunt with success in that area when we are old.  We have a good eye for sharptailed grouse habitat after 20 years of hunting them in the Sandhills.

High and choppy.  Lots of sumac, poison ivy and sunflowers.

The first spot that we stopped at, we picked the usual terrain of dunefield-valley-dunefield.  I knew that I had the weaker set of dunes, but I marched across them anyway with Chief.  Didn’t see a thing.  Towards the end of the push, I could see down in the valley a good windmill up against the opposite set of dunes.  It even appeared that there was standing water next to the tank.  Chief and I slowly made our way over there, as he had found a smaller pothole to swim around, cool off and drink from on our way.  I was about 20 yards from the bank of the windmill pond, when I see a flock of about 10 teal float away from my approach.  I touched my gun and my vest.  All I have are lead shells.  Shit.

I texted Charles about the teal and that I was walking the couple of miles down the flat valley to the truck, going to drive it down, swap out vests for the one loaded with steel, then jump the pond.

It was a bad jump.  Chief is not fully broken to heel, so he ran out on the beach too soon.  I came at the tiny pond from a different angle than I originally had and it just wasn’t a good angle (coming up to the top of a dune, shooting down at the pond, I really hate shooting down).  They were at the outer edge of range when they got up, and away they went unscathed.  But it was good to see a nice group of them so early in the season.  We also saw a number of flights of them high up and moving south.

Charles, Ruth and Fire saw one group in the set of dunes behind the windmill.  Charles dropped two out of it and by that time, it was getting hot.  I walked a little longer hoping to do clean-up in the dunes that he was covering and ended up with a dove in one shot on an away.  I hesitated to shoot, wanting to save the action for the grouse, but I ended up taking it anyway.  Good thing that I did, because it was the only bird that I’d take the whole weekend.

It just got too hot.  It was getting up on noon and it was just unbearable.  I had covered 10 miles with zero grouse.  We took up a different strategy.  Jump hunting windmills and ponds on his own without the dogs, but there in case he needed clean-up.  Charles took a few doves this way and even managed to get a blue-winged teal.

It was getting on with the day by the time we were rolling out of there with as hot as it was.  I asked Charles if he wanted me to take a photo of the dogs and the birds and him.  The answer was a resounding, “No.”  So we went back to town and made tacos and watched the Husker football game.

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Day 1: Notice the haze on the horizon

Day Two: Or How to Make Charity Yell at You

Explicit Warning: Adult Language to follow…

On day two, we once again tried a new spot.  But we had no less than THREE trucks drive in on us.  I mean, I am excited to see people out hunting, but don’t follow people and stop in their spots, like a few hundred yards away from them.  Not in the Sandhills, there is plenty of room for everyone.  The first two pickups stopped when we turned off of the highway, saw where we were going and following directly behind us in.  So we turned around.  They stopped and tried to chat us up.  We were like, you’re crowding us, we are leaving.  So we turned and took off in another direction.

We stopped where we finally figured on starting out.  Charles, Ruth and Fire were going to head farther out to where Chief couldn’t see them while we were hunting.  So I was sitting on the tailgate, finishing my coffee and hanging out with Chief while he still sat in the dog box.  I heard voices.

“Are you fucking kidding me?!?” I yelled.

I turned and looked towards the windmill down the hill where they were parked.  Our bright red pickup was in plain sight of them, it wasn’t like we were hiding.  I opened the backseat door of the truck, grabbed my vest and put it on, pulled out my shotgun, loaded it, snapped it shut, then let my 70-pound male dog out of the box.

“You had better go in the other fucking direction!!” I screamed as I thrust my index finger in the air, pointing them in the other direction.

I turned and marched up the hill behind me, with Chief out in front.  When I turned to look back at them, all five of the men were walking off in their hunting line in the other direction, no dogs, just like I had told them to.

It wasn’t too long before I saw my first single grouse.  It was on the edge of range when it got up on the far side of a far dune.  I took a couple of shots at it, but missed, then walked in pursuit.

I once again came up on a single and it was totally in range, perfect shot, it turned its white little football belly toward me and I shouldered the shotgun.  But due to the lay of the land, Chief was on another little hill and the grouse flushed in the valley below.  As he stood there on point, the back of his head was in my field of vision when I lined up the bead.  No shot.  I had to pull through and try to get him going away, but I missed.

So again, we walked.  We saw two more singles way out of range and flushing to areas far, far away as they caught the breeze moving across the high dunes.

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Again, the haze on the horizon

It was getting up on late afternoon and starting to be very hot.  Chief and I made our way back to the truck.  I picked some sage for drying, for incense.  The rancher came through and we talked about cattle and hunting.  Eventually Charles, Ruth and Fire made it back in before too long.  They had seen a couple of nice coveys of grouse and had taken a bird out of each one, for a total of two birds.

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Charles, Fire and Ruth coming back in

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Charles, Fire and Ruth with two sharptailed grouse

It was only noon, but it was time to head back to town for some time with the kids at the lake.  I wanted to leave the dogs at my mom’s house, but Charles decided that he wanted to take Ruth and BB.

The Quill is Mighter Than the Sword

It was a fabulous day, we started out at the lake around 4 PM in the scorching 100 degree heat, so it was nice and hot to swim, but cooled down a bit into the evening.  It was nearing the end of the evening, the sun was going down, and my daughter Cordelia was on the beach and asked me to grab the lip balm out of my purse.  So I headed back to the truck.  The two dogs followed.

Not ten feet behind the tailgate of the pickup, I heard BB fuzzing into something in the bushes.  A few yelps here and there from the pup.  I hollered at them to come out, I wasn’t going to wade into that.  They didn’t come out.  I spent a few minutes yelling, but still just snarling in response.  I was in my bathing suit.  I grabbed my clothes out of the truck, threw them on, then walked down the beach to try to call them from the other side of the bushes.

Out came Ruth first, pawing at her face.  Then BB.  I walked them back to camp.  BB stuck her head on the sand and just stood there as we pulled all of the quills out of Ruth’s face and mouth.  She was manageable between Charles, who pulled out quills with the leatherman, our friend Buck held the front end and I held the back end.  She wasn’t so bad, she was smart enough to stand back.

BB was horrible.  Obviously, she had been clamped on the porcupine for awhile.  We gave it a valiant effort, with flashlights and headlamps, but there was no way that she was going to let us around her lips or in her mouth.  We were able to get around her eyes, her shoulder and her upper cheek.  Pulling the ones from the inside of her nose was a bloody affair.  Again and again we tried to go for the mouth.  It was not going to work.  The quills covered the roof of her mouth and were in her tongue.  Luckily our friend Buck had the local vet’s number in his phone (I forget sometimes that I don’t have internet access everywhere!).  So he called and we got the emergency number for Dr. Joe Butler.

As we rumbled our way over the dunes on our way to town from the lake in the dark, the moon was red with smoke.  A blood moon?

I’m just going to copy what I wrote on my Facebook page the next morning:

BB says, “Thank you!” to Dr. Joe Butler and staff for showing up at 9 PM last night to pull thousands of porcupine quills out of her head, mouth and tongue under anesthesia. There is no way that we could have done that on our own. And I thank them for not only doing it, but for 1/3 of the price of the emergency vet in Omaha. Butlers have been taking care of my dogs for as long as I can remember. Thank the Lord for them!

BB post-quill

BB moping around in grandma’s backyard after a night at the vet

I just now went and checked on her and gave her the antibiotic and anti-inflammatory that Dr. Butler prescribed.  I was surprised that she wanted to leave her kennel and roam around the yard a bit.  I gave her canned food last night and she didn’t have any problems with eating.  She should recover with no problems.

When you get to be our age with multiple kids and dogs, you learn to cope in crisis.  Oh here we go, it’s another dramatic emergency.  But the biggest lesson for us on this trip is that if you are traveling to a particular area, make sure to have emergency veterinary contact information.  You never know when it can be the difference between you having a pet or not.  Or spending thousands of dollars to get something treated back in the city the next day, or a few hundred having it resolved immediately.

We’ll be back in the Sandhills in a month for the opening weekend of duck season.  I believe that what we have up next is early teal and snipe in southeast Nebraska at the end of September.  I’ll be back on the blog then.

 

 

 

 

Five Sleeps to Hunting

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Breeding Update

I wanted you all to know where we are with breeding plans.  I should be caught up on emails, so if you have not heard from me and are interested in our upcoming breedings, be sure to shoot me an email again.

 

We currently do not have puppies available, but are planning two litters for Spring 2018 homegoing.  I am currently assembling a contact list for when breeding occurs.  Please email bluestemkennels@gmail.com if you wish to be added to that contact list.

One of our females, “Fire”, is in her non-breeding heat cycle now.  That puts us 5-6 months from her breeding cycle, which would be January-February, with pups being whelped March-April, and going home May-June.

Our second female, “BB” cycled at the beginning of June.  That puts her breeding heat around December, whelping around February and puppies going home in April.

I will begin taking applications and deposits once breeding is confirmed in the early part of 2018.  We will be using our male “Chief” as a stud.

You can see the details about our dogs, including pedigrees, titles and health clearances on the “About Our Dogs” page, up on the brown navigation bar at the top of the page.

Gun Conditioning

Yesterday, we worked on conditioning our six month-old pup, Ruth, to the gun on some planted, farm-raised quail.  We like to do this with our dogs in advance of wild bird hunting to make sure that they do not become gun shy.  This is proceeded by exposure to loud noises and flushing birds with a starter pistol.  Here are some good shots from yesterday’s outing.

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Charles walks in on Ruth’s point

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Poof! The quail becomes a cloud of feathers on the shot.

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Ruth on the retrieve

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Charles lined up for another shot

Hunting Season Opener

We are going to have to get up early this weekend to chase the sharptailed grouse and prairie chickens in the Nebraska Sandhills, as it is going to be a hot one!  The forecasts have numbers way down, but we’ll see what we stumble across, it is always a surprise.  Good luck to everyone headed out this weekend, we’ll let you know how it goes!

 

Unblocking the Writer’s Block

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I have to admit that I’m fighting a serious case of writer’s block.  So maybe if I write about it, it will go away!  The kids are back to school, so hopefully that will inspire me to answer the piles and piles of emails that I have.

Fire is currently in heat, so we are most likely about five or six months away from breeding.  That would have the puppies going home in early summer, May or June.  Right now, I’m just going to assemble a contact list for once the breeding is complete.  We are also planning a litter between BB and Chief. I apologize for not getting back to you all, but I will soon.  I know that I keep saying that, but just the day-to-day maintenance of four Griffons and three kids knocks me out daily.

We have been working with our six-month old puppy “Ruth” (Chief x Fire) on birds and gunfire.  We’ve been planting some farm-raised quail and firing the blank pistol over her.  She has had some stylish points and shows lots of prey drive!

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Ruth giving me a look starting out

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Quail flushing above Ruth’s head with Charles to the left

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Ruth’s stylish point, with Charles at ready with the blank pistol

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Closeup of Ruth’s point

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Another point, with the quail flushing between the trees

Charles has also been working with Chief on “whoa” in the yard, so that he can be useful in jump hunting ducks this year.

New Titles

This isn’t a new title, but Chief’s hip scans came back OFA Excellent.  I need to get the certificate scanned and posted.  He is out of Ben and Velma.

Back in March, Shaun and Marcus out at the San Diego NAVHDA Chapter got a Prize I on the Natural Ability test with  “Winnie”.  She is now Bluestem’s Winchester, NA I (not to be confused with “Chester” in New York who is Bluestem Winchester SH, NA I…just different enough names to clear the pedigrees).

Matt and “Chloe” got their AKC Senior Hunter back in April!!  She is now Bluestem Blooming Sunflower SH, NA II.  Congratulations team!!

Matt and Chloe

Matt, Chloe and their final leg SH ribbon

Aaron and Chewie got a NAVHDA Natural Ability Prize II, 99 points back at the Heartland Chapter Spring Test in April.  Chewie is also out of Ben and Velma, she is now Bluestem Chewbacca, NA II.

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Hunt tests are fun for kids!  Our youngest, Caleb, age 8.

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Aaron talking to the judges while Chewie brings in the water retrieve

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Closeup of Chewie’s water retrieve

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Chewie and Aaron

I still have emails to go through with other pupdates, but right now it is time to go and feed and run some dogs.

Less than two weeks to go until hunting season!  I will be sure to get back on the blog before then and get those darned emails answered.

A Quick Update

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I am really behind on emails.  Please give me through Wednesday of next week to get caught up.  I apologize for the delay, a very busy summer.

Of course I sit down to write a blog post and someone sends me a Facebook message about an emergency with one of my puppy placements from way back that I need to contact her immediately about!  Gosh! (P.S.  Come to find out it is a grand-pup of mine and not one of my pups, but I’ve reached out to the breeder about the situation.)

It has been a hot summer with lots of travel.  My 96 year-old grandfather passed and we traveled out to California for his celebration of life.  We’ve been working with Ruth (6 months old) on getting her ready for hunting season.  We have been working with Chief on “heel” so that he can jump hunt ducks.  Here are the shots of everyone from their last grooming session.  The burrs are so terrible that they already need it again!!

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AKC/NAVHDA Bluestem Peaches en Regalia “Ruth” on the grooming table

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AKC/NAVHDA Bluestem’s Prairie Fire, NA I 112 pts “Fire”

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Bluestem Otoe Chief, NA II “Chief”

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Bourg-Royal CB Bluestem JH, NA I UT III “BB”

Charles and I did the Warrior Dash and I gave myself another osteoarthritis flare-up, this time in the other knee.  I go in to the orthopedist on Monday to have the fluid drawn out and have it shot up with steroids and painkillers.  Last time I waited months before I had that done and missed a lot of the season.  I just don’t have time to wait with hunting season in a month and a few days.

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My hometown crew, myself in the middle seated and Charles on right

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Dirty me and my prize for completion

I have a bunch of Natural Ability test brags from our puppies, a backlog of Pupdates going back to Christmas (gasp!) and lots of other news that I will save for my next post sometime late next week.  I will spend the first part of the week catching up on emails and fussing over this pup, if need be.

I’m going to go for now and get to work on that emergency.  Talk soon.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the AWPGA Elections

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I hate to have official AWPGA (American Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Association) election posted on my personal kennel page, as I am the only holder of all of the nominated candidate bigraphies (as co-editor of the magazine), I feel that some folks need the information organized and consolidated in order to make informed decisions.

I will insert my original opinion statement about the elections, then list the candidates by position.  The original nominee and the petitioner.  I think that there has been too much mudslinging over the last few days and members are reacting negatively.  Let’s work from the official biographies only and make the decision that way.

Editor’s Opinion

AWPGA members. I feel as if I’ve been called to make a statement about the upcoming election. As one of the club journalists, I feel that it is my duty to remain objective. I will not be endorsing any candidates. Both the nominated slate and the petitioners are highly qualified. Many of both parties I consider my friends and mentors. It is up to you as members to make this decision for yourselves. I have read all of the biographies multiple times and am weighing my ballot choices seriously. Please do the same. I received my ballot packet in the mail today and although it remains unopened, it is weighing heavy on my mind. Power to the people.

Nominee Candidate for President, Kate DeSanto

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I have been blessed to be involved in the sport of purebred dogs for over 16 years. I started owner handling my first show dog 14 years ago. We are very active in Conformation and I have several Champions with my husband under our kennel prefix, Greenwood. We have actively shown at all levels of competition, including regional supported entries, National Specialties, and marquis shows such as the AKC National Championship, the National Dog Show and Westminster. We have been blessed to have Griffs in our home and in our hearts since 2012.  My husband is a professional all breed handler, but Griffs are the dogs who we chose to live with and carry a passion for as a family. Personally, I am a Registered Nurse. I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from Drexel University, and my Master of Science in Nursing with a concentration in Executive Leadership from Wilmington University. I am a member of several International Nursing Organizations, and have presented regularly at industry related conferences across the country.

I have been involved with non-profit organizations which provide educational programs and scholarship. I have worked with the AWPGA as the raffle co-chair of the AWPGA National Specialty in Maine, and now serve as the Chair of the Nominating Committee. I have organized and held several local supported entries for the AWPGA. I feel as if this experience has allowed me to understand the need to create an inclusive group that feels both free to offer opinions of agreement and dissent, and do so respectfully.  Great ideas and great work never came from those who cannot think independently and feel comfortable offering new ideas and strategies to bring great ideas to life.  I feel it is vital to provide a space that volunteer boards feel listened to, empowered and assisted in moving a club forward.

I have served as the President of a local specialty club, and have experience in planning, implementing and enacting goals of that club and its membership. During my tenure, the board and I brought the club back from impending financial ruin by implementing creative strategies to increase interest, such as holding back to back specialty shows in one day; increased entries at our show with the inclusion of junior handling clinics; fundraising, such as eye certification clinics and health screening/genetic clinics, and breed education to judges, fanciers, etc. As the AWPGA looks toward the future, and as the sport of purebred dogs evolves, breed parent clubs have a unique opportunity to either embrace the changes, or stagnate. It is my belief that with thoughtful, creative and integrated boards and memberships, breed parent clubs can utilize new ways to increase understanding, education and focus on the goals of the breed/club and its members.

If elected, the following are three areas I would like to see the Board and membership focus on:

Judges Education: I believe the AWPGA must have a robust, evolving and creative Judges Education program. We must investigate ways and methods to provide correct, cohesive information to existing and new Judges.

Enhancing the club’s presence on social media platforms: For example, providing social media presence for the membership/disseminating information to members clearly/creating an updated calendar of events

Methods and types of recognition: I believe we need to look at the ways in which our Griffs are recognized by the club.  There are many dogs that are accomplished, yet they receive no recognition for these achievements, and I believe they should be recognized.

Petitioner for President, Carroll Kemp

Nominee Carroll Kemp

As a lifelong owner of pointing breeds, I was overjoyed when I first discovered our beloved versatile Wirehaired Pointing Griffon. I am now fortunate to call three my own with a fourth on the way.  It has been my privilege and an immense joy to see these members of my family earn their AKC Championship and Senior Hunter titles as well as NAVHDA Natural Ability and Utility prizes. One has even qualified to run in this year’s Invitational. The recognition, however, does not go to me. It goes to my dogs and to the many wonderful members of our club who have spent countless hours supporting our breed and its standards as well as helping me to grow in my personal knowledge. Kudos to you! Now it is time for me to return the favor, roll up my sleeves and give back by hopefully becoming your President!

The AWPGA has worked assiduously over the years to fulfill its central mission of protecting and promoting the breed that Eduard Korthals created to be the ultimate walking hunter’s gun dog. Our mission statement offers a glimpse of the various facets of this endeavor. Many steps have been taken along this journey but of course the work is never complete. Much of the recent emphasis has been on promoting our breed in conformation shows. This vital work is yielding dividends as our dogs are doing ever better at the Group level but now it is time to bring similar energy to their original sporting purpose.

Fortunately, our dogs are at home in both the field and the conformation ring. Maintaining this amazing duality is a central and primary AWPGA responsibility. This means our club must give equal attention to both field and show. Doing otherwise risks our breed splitting into two different types.  A few hunting breeds have already undergone this unfortunate demise. Many months ago, to help fulfill this responsibility, I joined the field committee and proposed that we re-launch development of a Working Standard (to serve as a companion of our Conformation Standard) along with a system of breed specific field events that would culminate in a competitive Korthals Cup. This process is now underway. If elected, I would continue this important work and would strive to assure that such events expand and thrive.

The popularity of our breed is growing evermore and the velocity of this inevitability presents perhaps the single most important challenge in front of our club – protecting, and even improving, our breed’s overall health and genetics. This responsibility rests with our board, our breeders and our members. To succeed we must be proactive, not reactive, while maintaining a sense of cooperation and openness. Each one of us plays a key role. If elected, I would make this an absolute priority by placing additional focus on enhancing good breeder practices, on educating the public and hunt/conformation judges, on enticing more Griffon owners to participate in the club and on working with our entire membership to better understand their key role in this endeavor.

Thirdly, we shouldn’t underestimate the role of good governance in determining the success of breed clubs. If elected, I promise to listen to the concerns of our diverse membership, to facilitate inclusive board decisions with the utmost transparency and to always put the protection of our breed over the politics of the personal.

What is it besides love of the breed that qualifies me to serve as President of the AWPGA? Primarily, it is my decades-long experiences managing companies and serving on various other non-profit boards. Most recently, I served two terms as President of my local school board. During my time of service, we more than doubled private fundraising and earned International Baccalaureate certification. I have also served two terms as President of the West Sonoma Coast Vintners, an organization I helped found and one where I remain on the board. These leadership positions tasked me with organizing and managing large and small annual events (similar to the AWPGA’s National Specialty) in such far-flung places as New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. They have also taught me the absolute importance of cooperation, diversity and mutual respect in the success of any endeavor. In addition, I am pleased to currently serve the Northern California NAVHDA chapter as its Vice-President and to have hosted many hunt tests at my home in Sonoma County.

On a more personal note, after growing up in rural Arkansas in a family that trained English Pointers and hunted near daily, living in Los Angeles producing studio feature films and working as an film agent for almost two decades, I now reside in the coastal area of Sonoma County where I am the President and winemaker for Red Car Wine Company, a winery that I founded seventeen-years ago and one that has grown over that time to see its wines distributed around the United States and in seven other countries. I am also blessed to have two young sons and to be in my 22nd year of marriage.

Nominee Candidate for Vice-President, Jan Resler

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My name is Jan Resler, I’m currently your AWPGA Vice President.  I am excited and honored to be nominated to continue in this role.  In addition to Vice President I am also the Chair of the Field Committee and the person that sends out your AWPGA Certificates for Titles you put on your Griffon.  Some of the projects the Field Committee is working on include the Korthals Cup which is a field competition designed specifically for Wirehaired Pointing Griffon in the spirit of their founder Edward Korthals. We are also making sure that we always have a AKC Hunt Test in conjunction with our National Specialty.  We were very pleased with the turn out for the 2016 AKC Hunt Tests at the Montana Specialty, and hope to continue to build on that success.  It is imperative that our Griffons stay true to Edward Korthals vision of a versatile hunting dog.  I have three Griffs and have handled and trained my dogs for conformation, both retriever and pointing dog hunt tests, as well as NAVDHA.  I recently put a Rally Novice Title on Blatz.  Ours dogs can do it all and I encourage everyone to participate in AKC and NAVDHA events.  AKC is introducing many new competitive events from hunting for rats to flyball, so there is an event out there for you and your pup to enjoy.

Petitioner for Vice-President, Bill Marlow

Nominee Bill Marlow

Awarded a B.S. degree from the University of Virginia and a Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Maryland, Bill has practiced law for more years than he would care to admit. He has served on the boards of the Maryland State Fair, the Marine Trades Association, the Therapeutic Riding Center, Cycle Across Maryland and the 4-H Foundation. He helped found the Maryland Agricultural Resource Center and is a former president of the Coastal Conservation Association (Maryland) and the Coastal and Chesapeake Conservation Alliance.  An active Boy Scout leader, Bill mentors young enthusiasts in both field training and merit badge requirements. He lives in Cockeysville, Maryland with his wife Trit and their 16-year-old son Price.

Twenty-three years ago, he acquired his first Griffon and has owned no other breed since. He has shown his griffs in the U.S. and France, tested in the U.S. and run in the French Korthals Griffon Club’s field trial. Today his household is home to one Griffon, a dog that he has hunted over, tested (AKC and NAVHDA), field trialed and shown for the last seven years. He likes to say his kennel can be found on the back of his pickup truck.

Bill has put on Griffon field demonstrations at the Maryland State Fair, Judges’ Education Seminars, AKC regional events and other public venues like the Gunpowder Masters. He has judged field trials, trained mules and hosted ten annual AWPGA field events on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. He served on the AKC Pointing Breed Advisory Committee and attended the AKC Parent Club Conference. If elected, he will continue to promote the Griffon as a gun dog and support the efforts of breeding programs that focus on preserving traditional confirmation and hunting instinct. An article he wrote with Philippe Roca for the Pointing Dog Journal bears out his strong belief in these goals.

Today, Bill is a Board member of the AKC Political Action Committee, and as current President of the Maryland Sporting Dog Association, he continues to advocate for our interests at local, state and Federal levels. He actively fought the closure of the wildlife areas to our hunt tests by the threatened withholding of Pittman-Robertson funds. As a result, he has developed valuable relationships with our state and U.S. congressional officials.

Early on Bill was elected by our members as their Eastern Representative and with the endorsement of three former AWPGA presidents, he later served several terms as AWPGA President. Because the AWPGA Boards he served on worked so well together, there are few accomplishments that he alone would take credit for. Hardly a day went by that they were not in communication by phone or Internet. This commitment requires confidence in your fellow Board members and willingness to work together. Bill feels that anyone who accepts an office with the AWPGA should be committed to being available during the day and evenings to respond to the many inquiries that come from our members as well as the general public. Attendance at all Board meetings and carrying out club policy is mandatory.

Bill’s leadership philosophy can be summed up in a quote from his December 2002 President’s message to the AWPGA membership:

If we are to continue our success, we have no choice but to cooperate with those whose views may differ.  We are in fact compelled to discuss our differences.  Consequently and to the consternation of some members at the annual meeting, I refused to stifle dissent.  Of course, there are ways to promote communication that will benefit all of us.  Understanding that is political maturity.  I don’t want anyone in the organization to think because they somehow disagree with what the AWPGA is doing that they are irrelevant.  To the contrary.  These are the people who make us think.  These are the people who make us creative.  And because they belong to the AWPGA we are better off for it.

So, if you would like an organization that is inclusive of all members, a Board that works cohesively and as a team with our membership, then Bill would appreciate your vote.

Nominee Candidate for Secretary, Cathy West

Nominee Secretary Pic

It is an honor to be nominated for the Secretary position on the AWPGA Board. As the current co-chair of the AWPGA National Breed Rescue with Marty Ingram, my responsibilities include maintaining the applicant database, fielding and answering emails, compiling rescue committee reports and coordinating applicants with available rescue dogs. Often rescue is the first point of contact and first impression the general public will have of the AWPGA club. People contact rescue looking for general information, training advice, opinions and referrals for breeders, what to expect when they get their first Griffon, nutrition etc. Through these experiences I have gained valuable insight into the issues our breeders face, public perception of our breed and the organizational structure of the club. Other opportunities through the rescue program include strategic planning, quick action, problem solving, human emotions and animal safety, all experiences that should benefit the board. The position has allowed me to give reassurance when needed and be a part of some heart-warming rescue stories. Rescue has positively influenced my relationships with my own dogs and greatly influenced how I approached breeding my first WPG litter.

I have raised our four children, been an auditor and freelance bookkeeper and owned my own used car dealership, many of which required me to be detailed oriented, organized and capable of handling multiple things at one time. I enjoy problem solving and collaborating with people towards a common goal and have volunteered for numerous school related activities and committees. Volunteering in my son’s classroom with special needs students was particularly rewarding. I was involved with the Southern California Golden Retriever Rescue, have volunteered for local NAVHDA testing days, helped coordinate auction items for the Regional Specialty in Carmel, CA and worked the Meet the Breed Booth at the Royal Canin AKC National Championship in Orlando this past December. What I hope to contribute to the board is a positive attitude, solutions to problems, and ideas to help accomplish and prioritize goals set by the board. I have been a lifelong purebred dog owner and have been involved in every aspect of dog ownership. Breeds we have owned include toy, hound, working, terrier and mixed breed dogs. Our two Griffs, Coco and Bandit, are involved in NAVHDA, private hunt training, and conformation. I bred Coco for her first litter in 2016 and have plans for dock diving in our future. There have been several mentors that have been invaluable to guide me through the different processes and I am eager to listen to other people’s experiences. In short, I believe my work and volunteer experience will be an asset for the responsibilities of the Secretary position.

Responsible dog ownership and education is important. Rescue can be a valuable resource for the club to educate the general public and/or the new Griffon owner who may be unprepared for life with a Griff. We help families work through challenges and use rescue as a last resort. In circumstances where the dog must be rehomed, we prepare the adopting family with information and tools to facilitate a successful and permanent placement. It is equally important for breeders to make sure that their dogs are going into proper homes and continue to be a support if the family has questions or concerns. A productive way to provide support for breeders and new owners would be making educational resources available on the AWPGA website; including common mistakes, myths and misconceptions. A pre-puppy home checklist to help prepare bringing home a new pup that addresses common challenges and pitfalls owners have experienced with their new pups. I would like to see an effort made to increase volunteers from our club members and encourage new members to volunteer with quarterly regional volunteer opportunities. Promoting general volunteer efforts to support public outreach opportunities like Meet the Breed booths, organized meet-ups by region and a more active social media presence.

I am committed to serving the AWPGA Board in any capacity needed. I have the strengths and experience to serve as the Secretary and look forward to supporting our board to execute their mission. Responsible ownership is a priority for me and I feel that is best served by owner education and ethical breeding practices. I feel a strong board can make a positive impact on preserving the best interests of our breed and preserving the legacy of the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon. I welcome the opportunity to serve the club members and the board. Thank you for the consideration.

Petitioner for Secretary, Melanie Tuttle

Nominee Melanie Tuttle

I would be honored to serve as Secretary of the AWPGA.  Let me share with you my life with Wirehaired Pointing Griffons, my work with the AWPGA, my professional background, my experience with nonprofits and serving as a director and officer of a number of nonprofit corporations, and why I am running.

 My Life with Griffons. I first saw a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon at a fly-fishing show in Charlotte, North Carolina in January 2009. My husband and I were newly empty-nesters at the time and looking for a hunting dog. We were debating breeds and unable to reach an agreement. When we saw the Griff, we immediately knew this was the breed for us. A few short weeks later we brought Oscar home. We soon were told that Griffs are like potato chips — you cannot have just one. Truer words were never spoken and Hester joined us three years later.

We have enjoyed both conformation and hunting events with our Griffs. Oscar and Hester had fairly extensive show careers, with both garnering group placements, group wins and showing at Westminster and the AKC National Championship shows. Hester was named to the AWPGA Show Dog Hall of Fame. Showing the dogs has taken us to shows and national specialties across the country and permitted us to see terrific Griffs and make many new friends.

The thrill of a win in the show ring is wonderful but, I must admit, it is dwarfed by the sight of a Griff doing what it was bred to do in the field. We have hunted pheasant in South Dakota and grouse and quail in North Carolina with Oscar and Hester. We have participated in AKC and NAVHDA hunt tests, with Oscar achieving his Senior Hunter and Hester her Master Hunter and a Utility prize II. We are very involved in our local pointing breeds hunt club. Although my husband does most all of the training, I do assist with planting birds and gunning. Fortunately for Oscar, Hester and our training partners, our dogs get plenty of opportunities to retrieve when I am handling the shotgun.

My Work with the AWPGA. I have been actively involved in AWPGA committee work. I serve on the Legal Committee and headed-up the bylaws project, which involved the review, revision and adoption by the club members of the AWPGA’s Constitution and Bylaws. This project was successfully completed in 2015 and I was honored to receive an AWPGA service award in connection with this work. I am also serving on the Field Committee, the Awards Committee and the Breed Standard Committee, which is reviewing the standard in regard to tail docking. For the 2017 national specialty, I am assisting the trophies and ribbons committee. I have also been working with the AWPGA on forming a new affiliate 501(c)(3) organization to promote the health and welfare of, and provide education about, the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon.

My Professional Life. I am a corporate lawyer. My practice is focused on corporation law, business transactions, securities offerings, corporate governance and employment law. My practice also involves counseling nonprofit entities. I speak frequently to nonprofit boards and executive directors about good governance practices, duties, responsibilities and liability, and write on these topics.

Nonprofit Experience. I not only counsel corporate and nonprofit boards but also have served as a director or trustee of a number of nonprofit corporations. Some of my most recent positions as a director on nonprofit boards include: Philharmonia of Greensboro (also Vice President and President), Eastern Music Festival, Inc. (also Secretary and Chair of the former Advisory Board), Women’s Professional Forum Foundation, Inc. (also Vice President and President), Guilford Battleground Company (also Vice President and Secretary), The Point at Lake Jeanette Homeowners’ Association, Inc. (also Secretary and President), and the Greensboro Community Development Fund.

Why I Am Running. It is easy to think that the AWPGA is just a dog club. But we are much more than that. As the AKC parent club for the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, we are the stewards of the breed and Korthals’s vision in the United States. Only through proper stewardship of our club can we be proper and effective stewards of our beloved breed. That stewardship requires of board members passion for the breed, good governance practices, a willingness to listen and learn, the ability to disagree productively, active participation, and dedication.

I understand how important good governance is to any organization and the role and responsibilities of directors. I am passionate about the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon. AWPGA members are unquestionably committed to their Griffs and our breed. I want to ensure that all members can be involved and devote their talents to our club as fully as they wish and are able.

A fellow club member, with whom I admittedly have disagreed on occasion, said the following about my candidacy: “I think your running is a great idea. The voice of reason with a value for the standard. You are knowledgeable and have had good mentorship. You base decisions on research not opinion. No self interest agenda and you will stand up for what is right and not just try to keep peace with everyone by standing in the middle of the road.” I so appreciate this member’s kind and thoughtful words and vote of confidence. I hope I can count on your support and vote as well.

Like so many others, I can no longer imagine life without a Griff.

Nominee Candidate for Treasurer, Renee Carter

Nominee Treas pic

What do a successful background holding treasurer and other officer positions for various associations, working a decade in the non-profit/public service field, coupled with twenty-five years running a successful corporation and all of its finances, topped off with a sincere love of dogs and upland game hunting mean to you?   These are but a few of my passions that I would bring to the AWPGA Treasurer’s position.  I feel honored that I have been nominated for this position and I want my fellow club members to know that I will bring my attention to details and hardworking background to work for you.

I currently have two WPGs.   Both Griffons are hunted extensively and have shown in conformation.  My husband and I also participate in AKC Hunt tests and NAVHDA.  I am not a breeder, but our four-year old dog has been a stud, and we have one of his get.  Through the preparation for breeding process, I have learned to owner-handle my own dog in the conformation ring, I understand the health issues of the breed and the need for proper health clearances prior to breeding and I understand the breed standard.   I believe with a hunting breed, it is important for the physical and mental health of the dog that it be able to utilize its inborn hunting skills.   I believe that Griffons not formally hunted, can still practice their hunting skills via AKC Hunt Test and NAVHDA tests.  These tests and the preparation for them are a great opportunity for owners to work with their Griffons and to marvel at this breed’s innate hunting skills.

Last year, I was a key AWPGA committee member working on the Helena National Specialty, where I specifically promoted the event on Facebook, raised donations for trophies, procured trophies for five days of shows including sweeps, procured gifts for judges, assisted with silent and live auctions, promoted and facilitated a large Parade of Titleholders, located, booked and promoted the Dinner Cruise and facilitated hospitality venues.  My motto in event planning is always, “details, details, details”.

Currently within AWPGA, I am a committee member working on the 2017 Western Regional Specialty that will be held in Grass Valley, CA, Labor Day weekend.  I am also on the AWPGA committee charged with researching tail standards as directed by the membership at the last annual meeting.  I also have submitted a handful of articles to the Griffonnier magazine for publishing.  I enjoy writing about the WPG breed and singing praise in terms of their hunting skills.  I really do think they are amazing!

In the future as a member of the AWPGA Board, I would like to develop a system to communicate with our membership about issues facing the breed via a closed social media group that is only open to paid members.  Secondly, breed health issues and standards will need to be constantly conveyed to fanciers so that everyone is fully educated.  A system to push the information out to members would be good in addition to the website.  Thirdly, create more supported entries across the country.  I see other breeds with lots of supported entries and they receive upgraded rosettes and other thoughtful prizes.  Why not make it more fun for the membership?  Supporting entries is very inexpensive, yet the excitement they create is wonderful.  Due to the club’s award program, clearly an equitable distribution regionally is important to achieve for fairness to members.

I would be honored if you will support me as your club Treasurer.

Petitioner for Treasurer, Garron Reichers

Nominee Garron Reichers

I feel truly blessed to have grown up hunting a variety of birds and game across various terrain where I acquired both the love of the hunt as well as the heartfelt appreciation for the instincts that make a great hunting companion. Seeing those skills married to such a biddable temperament in our first Griffon seven years ago, we knew we had found the “perfect breed” for our family. Two more four-legged members have joined our family since. They have gone on to earn a NAVHDA Natural Ability prize and an AKC Junior Hunter title while my 12-year old daughter and I were owner-handling them to their AKC Championships.

While I would like to be able to claim some degree of these successes as my own, the truth is that the titles these dogs have earned are more a testament to Eduard Korthals’s years of dedication and devotion as he worked to establish the ultimate walking hunter’s gun dog. The importance of protecting that vision cannot be understated as we within the community of Griffon enthusiasts are faced with many challenges as our breed’s popularity grows. Unguided growth can entice breeders to produce animals not capable of performing the tasks for which they were originally intended. This has been the demise of some breeds but we can’t let this happen to ours. The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon was introduced as a field dog and it is as a field dog that it must be preserved. To that end, if elected as your Treasurer, I would make education a top priority. This includes education of judges on both the working standard (once established) and conformation standard, education of the AWPGA membership on the roles they can and need to play in breed preservation, and the education of prospective buyers on what they should (or should not) expect from the cute little bundle of energy they are considering adding to their family.

Another focus area would be improvement in the role the AWPGA plays in the continued development of the Griffon breed within North America. The recognition of long-standing and successful breeding programs, which consistently produce top-notch field and conformation dogs, would be helpful to both the breeder and buyer alike. Improved relations/communications with the Griffon clubs of other countries would also be very useful for the sharing of ideas, health, and performance data.

When I am not busy training or playing with my Griffs, I can be found outside of Nashville, TN working for Hewlett Packard Enterprise as a Senior Financial Analyst. My primary role is providing guidance to the company on areas of investment that will help position it for success in future markets that might use its products. I am also the proud father of three amazing daughters and will be celebrating 20 years of marriage to my beautiful bride, Sheila, this fall.

I would greatly appreciate your vote for Treasurer.

The Delegate position only has a nominee candidate: Lisa Boyer, DVM

Nominee Delegate Pic

I am pleased and excited to continue in the position of AKC Delegate for the American Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Association.   I currently serve as both the Club’s AKC Delegate and Western Regional Representative.  The Western Regional Representative position pairs well with the AKC Delegate duties without adding excessive work.  The AKC Delegate is the one position by virtue of our bylaws that can hold a second position in the Club.  Many clubs have their Delegate serving on their board of directors to enhance the relationship between the AKC and its members.  The AKC Delegate role involves a long learning curve and a need to establish working relationships with various people and departments within the AKC and its member clubs.  After several years in this capacity, I feel that I have the skills and connections to be an effective Delegate who is proactive, understands the workings of the AKC and its divisions and knows how to get things done.

I have been involved with Wirehaired Pointing Griffons for nine years.  I initially only participated in hunting and hunt testing, but once I joined the AWPGA, I became active in conformation as well.  I am currently expanding my experience into participating in performance events (obedience, rally and agility).  I currently write regular articles for the Griffonnier and the Versatile Hunting Dog magazines as well as the AKC Delegate publication, Perspectives magazine.  I am an AKC Breeder of Merit and a participant in the Bred With Heart program and my breeding program has produced many conformation Champions/Grand Champions as well as Field Tested/Titled dogs in both AKC and NAVHDA.  I am firmly committed to maintaining the versatility of our breed while adhering to our established breed standard.

This year, I was able to serve the Club by redesigning and debuting the AWPGA Meet the Breeds Booth at the Royal Canin AKC National Championship.  This was a major undertaking which resulted in a new portable display which can be used by our Club for years to come.

By profession, I have been a veterinarian for 15 years.  I have become involved in the health and genetics of our breed and am currently working with the AKC Canine Health Foundation. Through my established connections within the Canine Health Foundation, I was a key player in a group of people that procured a grant for the study of Steroid Responsive Meningitis Arteritis in sporting breeds.  We are hopeful that the study will be successful and I am excited to be able to help move this effort forward.  In addition, I am deeply committed to the preservation of our breed and am very happy to see the progress our Club is making in many areas.  It is a great time to be active in the AWPGA.

My background includes many years serving our government as a United States Air Force Officer and FBI Agent.  I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and am tech savvy.  I have a firm foundation in communication with a wide variety of people, both verbally and in writing.  I am able to work well with groups towards a common goal.  I have volunteered for many organizations such as Delta Society, the American Red Cross and animal rescue groups.  These experiences will help me to continue to be productive as the AKC Delegate.

There are many issues that the AWPGA will need to address in the coming years to preserve our breed.  Judges education is of paramount importance.  As the Griff becomes more popular and more new breeders emerge, the appearance of our breed can quickly change.  In the past 9 years, we have seen Griffons become larger and their structure altered.  These things are being rewarded by judges since it is commonplace, although not correct.  Since form follows function, the hunting ability of the improperly structured dog will be affected.  In addition, health and genetics and new member mentorship tops the list as priorities, including a push to involve more juniors in all aspects of the dog world.  As our membership is aging, we need to encourage new blood and help them take advantage of member knowledge and club activities.  We need to welcome people and let them know why the AWPGA is a worthwhile organization and the ultimate resource for all things Griff!

Finally, we as a group, have tremendous potential to affect change in legislation related to dogs.  We can make concerted efforts both as a group and as individual club members to prevent legislation put forth by animal rights groups, including HSUS, that seeks to destroy the purebred dog; mandatory spay/neuter laws, limitations on tail docking, prevention of breeding and restrictions on hunting.  These threats are real and present in many communities and we cannot allow them to continue because if we do, in a decade, purebred dog ownership will be greatly affected.

I appreciate your consideration for supporting me as the AKC Delegate. If appointed, I promise to continue to improve communication between the organization and its members and work diligently to make progress in many areas.

Editor’s Wrap-Up

Members should focus on reading these biographies and casting your ballots.  All of the extraneous emails and social media posts are just confusing the members.  I hope that you find this guide as helpful as I did in laying it all out.

To join the AWPGA and receive the quarterly Griffonnier magazine, go to https://awpga.com/membership

 

 

 

 

 

 

Litter Announcement from Vigilante Griffons

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Please contact Vigilante Griffons, Lou and Lindsay Volpe, at (406) 461-6737 about their upcoming litter, due to be whelped around Memorial Day and to go home at the end of July.  They can also be reached by email at vigilantegriffons@gmail.com.  Visit their website http://www.vigilantegriffons.com/ for further information.

Vigilante Griffons of Helena, Montana is pleased to announce the successful breeding of their foundation bitch Bluestem Big Sky Rendezvous CGC, NA I “Midge” with Hun Hill Cool Cash, NA II “Cash”.  Midge is out of our Mae, who is currently retired in Valentine, Nebraska living with my brother, and our foundation stud, Sam, who was tragically killed in an ATV accident on the road adjacent to his retirement home in Kentucky.  I will personally be taking a pup out of out of Midge’s final litter who will also be sired by a Hun Hill stud.

Vigilante Griffons is owned by Lou and Lindsay Volpe.  Lou is Charles’s deer hunting camp buddy from New York.  They have been hunting for over 25 years together and are old friends.  Lindsay and I both enjoy the outdoors, are foodies, like to travel and be moms who own dogs.  I’ve watched Lou and Midge hunt in North Dakota personally and know that they are a force to be reckoned with on pheasants.  Her coat sheds most burrs and briars.  She has a good nose, lots of drive and stamina.  Her Canine Good Citizen award manners are on display at all times, she is good with other dogs, kids and people.

 

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Lindsay with Midge puppy, Frannie, Lou and Murf

 

 

Frannie and Gabe

Frannie with Midge, Gabe with Murf

 

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Gabe, Frannie, Lindsay and Midge at the dog show

 

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Midge, Lou and Murf in North Dakota 2016

 

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Frannie and Midge

 

 

 

 

Hun Hill Kennel is the most esteemed Griffon kennel in Idaho in my opinion.  Not only does Frank Puccio breed nice looking and healthy dogs, but he is also a leader in the training community.  He has put on force fetch seminars for the local NAVHDA chapter there and is the real deal.  His wife Lisa is active in the Griffon community and submits lots of cool photos to our breed club magazine (I’m the editor).  I look forward to bringing his genetics into my program within the next few years.  Here are some photos of Hun Hill Cool Cash, NA II.

 

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Cash in the snow

 

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Cash with pheasant

 

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Cash and Frank

 

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Cash in the grass

I look forward to seeing how these pups grow and progress, it is a very exciting time for everyone involved.  These are great genetics and proven hunters, so hunting homes only inquire.  There is a phone interview process with them to determine if your home is suitable for a hunting griffon.  Due to the location and time of year, air cargo shipment is not available from Helena, Montana.  The pups may only be picked up for travel by air as a carry-on item.  You may also travel to Helena by car to pick up the dog.  Lindsay and Lou are genuinely nice people who are a pleasure to talk to, so make sure to reach out to them for further information.

 

 

 

 

Puppy Homegoings!

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The puppies went home two weeks ago, but I’ve had a little one of my own here, so I haven’t had time to sit down and post about it!

Here’s our little sweetheart, female AKC/NAVHDA Bluestem Peaches en Regalia, “Ruth”.

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Ruth with my daughter Cordelia and her friend Peyton

 

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Ruth with my mom Carla

The weather is finally supposed to be nice this weekend after about two weeks of clouds and rain, so it will be fun to finally get her out into the field with some live birds!

She had her second set of shots yesterday, just as a reminder to the new owners that they are due.  She is also leash broken, as that was the first thing that I did when taking her out to potty since our front yard is not fenced.  I took her out on a check cord and got her used to the lead.  She did great on it yesterday at the vet, it was our first time out with it and new people.

Here are the homegoing photos:

 

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Malcolm went home to Elkhorn, Nebraska with Heidi and her kids

 

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Medea went to Oklahoma with Matt and his wife Melissa

 

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Margaret flew home to Texas with Reed

 

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Madeline went to Minnesota with Brent

 

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Madame Defarge went to Wyoming with Dave and his wife

 

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Macduff stayed here in Omaha with Laurie and her family

I do have some pupdates to share, but I have to get ready to head up to teach some school for the afternoon, so it will have to be another day.  We’ll keep you posted with those, plus training updates over the summer.  We have A LOT of training to do with two dogs needing to Utility Test and now this little one getting ready for Natural Ability.  Speaking of Natural Ability, my co-owned pup “Chewie” tests in a couple of weeks, so we’ll have photos from that.  Enjoy the spring weather!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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