Friday, March 27, 2009

Family Photo...

Peg sent me this family photo today. That's Miles closest to the camera, he's Winnie's grandfather. Then Bitz and Chris, Winnie's littermates, and camera shy Carly at the end, Winnie's mother. They will all be reunited in a little over a month at the National Specialty show in Michigan!

I am adding this additional photo Peg sent me of Chris doing some bird work. What a handsome boy he's turned into! At eight months, they are most certainly not puppies anymore...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Road Work Confusion

In preparation for our new house and property, we purchased this used ATV. It'll be great for hauling kayaks and gear and people and beer up and down the steep path to the river. But I've also heard that people use ATVs to do road work conditioning with their dogs.

We've done a little bit here at our current house as you can see in the picture, but honestly I just don't see the big deal. I mean, how much exercise can it be??

Seriously, what's funny about this is, she doesn't seem to like it at all unless she's on it! At my friend's farm she did a little running alongside us as we drove in a Gator, but at that time she was following Douglas' dog Enzo. Plus she was at an entirely new place and the prospect of staying behind in the dark was probably scarier than running alongside a loud machine.

But here, with this ATV, she steers clear of it until I stop. Then she very much wants to climb up on it. I was surprised when I found I could drive off with her aboard and she didn't try to jump off. Curious.

Anyway, I think it'll be so much fun for her down by the river at the new place that she'll follow me in the ATV no problem. But, if not, we can always go back to sharing the seat!

Microchip and Other News

It wasn't long after we got back from getting Winnie microchipped this morning that she started showing unmistakable signs of keener vision and other bionic qualities. For instance, here she is noticing a large lizard that she has walked by 31,410 times in her life and had apparently never noticed before today.

The implant came with a tag for her collar that contains her unique I.D. number and draws attention to the fact that she does have a microchip. And when added to her name tag, rabies tag and county license tag, the sound she now makes walking around the house is like that of a janitor roaming the halls jingling his keys.

Winnie weighed in at 52.8 pounds at the vet! I figured she was over the 50 mark but it was still surprising to hear it. My German Shorthair topped out at 48.5 pounds. At 8 months old I don't know how much taller Winnie will get, she's pretty leggy now. But I wouldn't be surprised to see her fill out to about 60 pounds, which is what her Mother Carly weighs if I'm not mistaken.

And finally, yesterday we received a very special package from the UKC. Winnie's Champion certificate arrived! We're moving in less than two weeks, but I still want to hang this up somewhere even if it's just for a few days! I'm so proud of Winnie and how great she has done in the show ring.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Zoldmali Iris and Quail - Up Close and Personal!

Iris from Zoldmali Hungarian Wirehaired Vizsla Kennel is an amazing dog, trained by the equally amazing Zsofia. If you want to see highly trained, hard working, beautiful wirehaired Vizslas, spend some time on her web site. I have a lot of admiration for her ability to train these dogs to such a high level of performance. And look closely, you won't see an electronic collar in any of those photos!

She holds a week-long training camp each year, but I don't think I need to go all the way to Hungary to learn that both Winnie and I are probably too soft for her work ethic. She'd probably find both of us on Day Two at the nearest pub, nursing a pint and resting sore feet!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Big, Big News...

I've kept quiet about this, despite how utterly consuming the process has been the past few weeks. But I was afraid to jinx it.

The first time Sandy and I saw this unique house on such a special piece of property, we couldn't believe how perfectly it suited us. Small, comfortable, beautiful house. Four-stall barn with paddocks for horses. A lighted riding ring. And an elevated view of the Potomac River, with 700 feet of river access. That means access to some of the best smallmouth bass fishing around, literally right in our back yard. Not to mention some nice kayaking right there as well.

Well after a whole lot of anxiety, stress and diligence, today we closed on our new Dream House. It'll be about a month before we move in, but as of today, this house is OURS!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I don't really have anything today, but we were enjoying the extended daylight hours in the yard this evening just chasing toys and doing a little obedience work, and I liked how the light was hitting her so I grabbed the camera.

Is it just me or is her facial hair just out of control?!?

One other note I may have mentioned before, but that training tab, the nylon rope clipped to her collar, is worth talking about. I've never used one on a dog before but it's been a permanent fixture for Winnie. Long enough for me to grab, yet too short for her to chew, it's an incredibly useful 'handle' to just gain control around the house when I need her to move or stay or follow any given command without having to grab her collar or find a leash. If you've never tried one, even if you think you don't need it, give it a shot. I bet you'll find it as useful as I do!

Monday, March 9, 2009


Winnie received a gift today. A gift from two dear friends of mine. The friends in question (come to think of it, they indeed *are* in question right about now) are bird hunters, outdoorsmen and fishermen. And they are bird dog people.

Well they were so proud of little Winnie's success in the show ring, that they sent us this lovely gift. A pink 'Princess' basket containing a glittery pink collar and a series of matching pink grapefruit grooming products: shampoo, a leave-in detangler and a freshen-up spritz. That's right, a pink grapefruit freshen-up spritz for dogs.

The motivation behind this not-so-subtle hint that Winnie get up to speed on the more manly pursuits - pointing birds, water retrieving, sleeping outside - is most likely jealousy. I think my buddies are afraid that, should we all be together on a hunting trip some day, Winnie will talk to their dogs. That she will tell them how she gets to hunt and swim and play, but also gets to get groomed nice and pretty and shown off to an appreciative audience. That she gets treats and ribbons and praise and to be called a Champion.

So, tease all you want. But when she points a bird for you, please admire her physique and coat. And as you pull the trigger and drop the bird, and she runs past you to retrieve your quarry, I hope you notice - mixed in with the smell of fresh gunpowder - just a hint of pink grapefruit.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Point, Swim, Fish, Hike

It was near 70 degrees today, and I was lucky enough to be able to bring Winnie to my friend's farm where we got into many different kinds of fun!

I brought a couple chukar with me and planted them for her to point. I don't know if she's good at finding birds or is watching where I plant them, but she found them both quickly, held a point for a nice, extended time, then flushed them before I got there for the photo op. I was going to do more with the check cord, try to hold her till I flushed the bird myself. But it was really warm, so I just let her find, flush and chase 'em. Of course she instantly got about fifty burrs in her coat which took a while to deal with.

I took advantage of the heat - and the fact that Winnie was very warm from chasing the chukar - and tried to get her to swim. This pond had a really nice shallow entry so I threw the dummy just a few feet in and got her excited about retrieving it. She didn't mind that, but definitely got to a point where she wasn't comfortable going deeper. Several times I had to wait for the wind to push the dummy close enough where one of us could reach it. I didn't push the issue though, and thought it was a great start toward getting her comfortable in water. Next time the water will be warmer and I'll find a strong swimming dog to help encourage her.

After some painstaking burr removal we shared a sandwich and a cold beer on the dock before we started our next first together: Fishing!

I hope in the future Winnie will be a regular fishing buddy. This largemouth bass is the first fish she's ever seen. Her reaction ranged from mildly amused at it splashing in the water, to utterly unimpressed at seeing it up close. Come on, Winnie, that's a pretty decent fish! What do you want from me??

Then we went a few miles up the road to the Shenandoah National Park for a brief hike and another opportunity for her to cool off in some more water. Geez, from the looks of this picture she's really let herself go since the show last weekend!

It was a most enjoyable day sharing the outdoors with my best buddy.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


Four shows. Two days. One new champion.

I want to share more details of this incredible weekend a little later, but wanted to post the news and the pictures as soon as I could...