Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Viz Whizz - SF Bay Area

Easter morning.  I couldn't think of anywhere else I wanted to be.
 Point Pinole was moist after an evening rain yesterday. 

Good group of dogs enjoyed the walk.  We started with a dozen dogs and people. 

Two of us went to the point and waded out into the mud flats created by the very low tide to throw sticks for Penny and Chloe

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Chloe and Lily's Door

Just a dog door.  But thousands of folks who have walked by our house has been greeted by two red bird dogs bounding through this opening to say:
 "Hi, we are Bailey and Chloe, and we live here!"
I posted these next two pictures about 18 months ago (August 2011).
The doggie door was so big!

Back when Lily was a small pup next to the doggie door

Lily has grown up a lot in that time.

Lily came by work so we programmed a message board for her

Not so little anymore, but still she can use the "doggie door" to go out into the fenced yard

Chloe and Lily both getting older
The new Extra Large All Climate double magnetized flap door ready to install

The five-year-old door had been opened a million times

It was time to start with a new one for the next five years

Chloe going on six years old ready for her next six

Chloe's first time through her and Lily's new door

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Perfect 10! 60/60

OK, so Bailey and I have been playing the hunt test game for a couple years now.

  I started out going for a Master Hunter title after our field trial adventures.  Realized after seven attempts that maybe Senior Hunter was more like it.  So over the last 18 months we have worked on achieving the Senior Hunter title.  Just going out to Hastings Island when they held the trials.

Bailey needs five passes, and not the normal four, because he did not compete in Junior Hunt tests to get the title.  We were busy working on field trials when he was younger and never thought Junior Hunter fitted the boy.  He had proved he could hunt very early on.

As Bailey gets ready for the Vizsla National Gun Dog Championships in Colorado, April 5th through April 10th, Ken (our professional trainer and owner of Willowynd Kennels) took Bailey to Hastings Island to run in two braces in Senior Hunter today. 

Bailey has three passes and if he would get through both, on this wonderful Sunday morning, he would get the title:

 Highlander's Bailey's Wildest Dream SH NAVHDA NA level 1.

I went out to watch and was accompanied by Terry, who is looking at getting a Vizsla and wanted to see what a hunt test was about, to watch how Bailey would do.

Bailey did great!  After his first run he had pointed and handled through three retrieves, a stolen point by his brace mate, and to finish it off the run, a steady to wing and gun of a cock pheasant that ended up on the course.  I could tell by Ken's reaction that he was pleased and my guess was that the judges liked what they saw also.

Half an hour after the run, Terry and I went back to the clubhouse to see if he had passed and gotten the orange rosette of a hunt test leg complete.  A Vizsla friend of mine, Walter, who was acting as hunt test secretary for the event, gave me the news Bailey had passed and then showed me the scores.  A perfect 10!  This was in six categories a 10 and by both judges.  He said he has been doing this for years and not seen that in a Senior Hunt test before.

Ken and I agreed to end the day on a high note and not risk problems in the afternoon run and save the boy for Colorado.  Everything had gone very well under tough conditions and we had a bigger goal of the National Gun Dog Championship trophy.

One more leg to go.  We will get it this spring after they come back from Colorado.  The boy is very good.  He just needed the right handler.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Hidden Treasure: Trinity Alps

A different kind of road trip we took last weekend.  With just Chloe, traveling is much easier.  Instead of the Jeep that gets 15 mpg or the RV that gets 9 mpg, we could take our little VW Golf two door that gets 35 mpg.

We left the S.F. Bay Area Friday late afternoon and headed to Redding, California.  By nightfall we had arrived and stayed at a Red Lion Inn.  This is a dog-friendly chain of nice hotels that allow dogs in the rooms for a $15 per dog charge (free if you become a "member").  Highly recommend them.  The staff actually were all smiles as we walked Chloe into the lobby to check in.  They had never seen a Vizsla.

The next morning we headed west up into the Trinity Alps and to Trinity Lake.  This was a stop along the way to the coast city of Eureka, where we spent Saturday afternoon.  The Trinity Alps area is a National Forest area and very dog-friendly (unlike most California State Parks).  In mid-March there was almost no one around.  By July the campgrounds will be full, but with snow still on the ground and the the water very cold, we had most of the forests, streams, and lakes to ourselves.

We traveled along the Trinity river (Hwy 299), a great drive through some wonderful country. We drove west through the Coastal Mountain ranges to the ocean.  In Eurkea are sand dunes on Somoa Island.  Here dogs can play on the beach and surf leash free. This area is an ATV and off road vehicle area, so I would only do this with dogs in the off season.  We only saw a handful ATVs in the two hours we were there and no one was going fast.

A great weekend get-away.  We were back in the Bay Area by Sunday afternoon.  Chloe swam in lakes, streams, and the ocean. She was in heaven and we had a great time also.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Grandfather's Shotgun

Funny thing when you come upon sixty years old.  You meet your mortality.  Ten years? Twenty? No more that thirty and my life will be a memory of just a few people.  Thing is: I am fine with that.

I think about how I found hunting behind a Hungarian Pointer just five years ago.  Hunting, itself, had never held any special place in my life.  Did not grow up around hunters and in the outskirts of the city of Riverside in Southern California, the only field game were scrawny jack rabbits.

Now I am a grandfather of four great young grand kids and life is good.  A friend, who also owns a Vizsla, and I were talking about the current generation of Vizsla owners.  How the vast majority of them will never hunt or explore field trials or hunt tests.  It just isn't important to them and their relationship with their pet.

So that got me wondering that when I leave this body to start again, I wonder what happens to my little 20-gauge over-and-under shotgun?  Like my Bailey (Chloe is gun shy), my little shotgun has gone with me on a some wonderful fall walks through harvested fields of grain and landscapes a poor Southern California boy in the 1960's would never had expected to experience.

I was a Boy Scout from age about 10 until 14. Once a month we would go on a camp-out.  We learned how to shoot a .22 rifle at camp one year on a rifle range (I liked it).  We learned to start a camp fire, pitch a tent, pack, and once we hiked 50-miles into the mountains.  I was the Senior Patrol Leader, and I was responsible for thirty or so fellow very lower-income family boys.  Survival and being good stewards of the wild places we went to were important. Our adult leaders tried to instill into boys who, for the most part, had little chance of going to college or breaking free of poverty.  Most didn't and some never saw 40.

Learning to be an honorable man was taught, and we learned that there was nothing wrong with hunting for food as long it was done in a ethical and humane way.  The Boy Scouts get a donation from me every year.  A very worthy organization.

But what will be the fate of my little CZ 20-gauge that has and will serve me the rest of this life?  Will one of my grandchildren want it?  Will it be cut up in some government-required turn-in of all firearms? 

I don't know the future; I only know the present.  The Hungarian Pointer is a hunting dog.  The shotgun goes with the Hungarian Pointer like the left shoe goes with the right.

If you are reading this, you most likely have a Vizsla.  You may never have hunted or even wanted to.  Guess I would ask, "Why not?"  Fear of the gun?  Fear of hurting something?  Fear of failure? 

Some will read these words and not understand why I hunt now.  It is not because I can't buy food almost as good as pheasant.  It is not because I love to kill things.  It is not to prove I am a man.

The reason I hunt is to be part of nature.  Not the cute caricature of "Mother Nature" but the nature that does not judge right or wrong but only understands survival.  To hunt and to fish are to be able to survive on your own terms without the NEED of some outside force or entity bringing heat, power, food, and water TO you.  To be able to take care of yourself and your family no matter what, that is where hunting comes in for me.

Grandpa's shotgun will always fire straight and true because that is what a good shotgun does.  Who pulls the trigger after me?  Time will tell.

I heard someone say once on the radio a few years ago: "On your headstone after your name will be a date of birth and a date of death separated by a little dash.  That dash is our lives."

 Live it to the fullest and let your Hungarian Pointers join you in that adventure we call life.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

A Father, a Daughter and a Dog

- A true story by Catherine Moore

"Watch out! You nearly broad sided that car!" My father yelled at me. "Can't you  do anything right?"
Those words hurt worse than blows. I turned my head toward the elderly man in the seat beside me, daring me to challenge him. A lump rose in my throat as I averted my eyes. I wasn't prepared for another battle.
"I saw the car, Dad . Please don't yell at me when I'm driving.."

My voice was measured and steady, sounding far calmer than I really felt.

Dad glared at me, then turned away and settled back. At home I left Dad in front of the television and went outside to collect my thoughts..... dark, heavy clouds hung in the air with a promise of rain. The rumble of distant thunder seemed to echo my inner turmoil. What could I do about him?

Dad had been a lumberjack in Washington and Oregon . He had enjoyed being outdoors and had reveled in pitting his strength against the forces of nature. He had entered grueling lumberjack competitions, and had placed often. The shelves in his house were filled with trophies that attested to his prowess.

The years marched on relentlessly. The first time he couldn't lift a heavy log, he joked about it; but later that same day I saw him outside alone, straining to lift it.. He became irritable whenever anyone teased him about his advancing age, or when he couldn't do something he had done as a younger man.

Four days after his sixty-seventh birthday, he had a heart attack. An ambulance sped him to the hospital while a paramedic administered CPR to keep blood and oxygen flowing.

At the hospital, Dad was rushed into an operating room.  He was lucky; he survived.  But something inside Dad died.  His zest for life was gone.  He obstinately refused to follow doctor's orders. Suggestions and offers of help were turned aside with sarcasm and insults.  The number of visitors thinned, then finally stopped altogether.  Dad was left alone..

My husband, Dick, and I asked Dad to come live with us on our small farm.  We hoped the fresh air and the rustic atmosphere would help him adjust.

Within a week after he moved in, I regretted the invitation.  It seemed nothing was satisfactory.  He criticized everything I did. I became frustrated and moody.  Soon I was taking my pent-up anger out on Dick.  We began to bicker and argue.

Alarmed, Dick sought out our pastor and explained the situation.  The clergyman set up weekly counseling appointments for us.  At the close of each session he prayed, asking God to soothe Dad's troubled mind.

But the months wore on and God was silent.  Something had to be done and it was up to me to do it.

The next day I sat down with the phone book and methodically called each of the mental health clinics listed in the Yellow Pages.  I explained my problem to each of the sympathetic voices that answered in vain.

Just when I was giving up hope, one of the voices suddenly exclaimed, "I just read something that might help you! Let me go get the article.."
I listened as she read.  The article described a remarkable study done at a nursing home.  All of the patients were under treatment for chronic depression.  Yet their attitudes had proved dramatically when they were given responsibility for a dog.

I drove to the animal shelter that afternoon.  After I filled out a questionnaire, a uniformed officer led me to the kennels.  The odor of disinfectant stung my nostrils as I moved down the row of pens.  Each contained five to seven dogs.  Long-haired dogs, curly-haired dogs, black dogs, spotted dogs all jumped up, trying to reach me.  I studied each one but rejected one after the other for various reasons too big, too small, too much hair.  As I neared the last pen a dog in the shadows of the far corner struggled to his feet, walked to the front of the run and sat down.  It was a pointer, one of the dog world's aristocrats.  But this was a caricature of the breed.

Years had etched his face and muzzle with shades of gray.  His hip bones jutted out in lopsided triangles.  But it was his eyes that caught and held my attention.  Calm and clear, they beheld me unwaveringly.

I pointed to the dog.  "Can you tell me about him?" The officer looked, then shook his head in puzzlement. "He's a funny one. Appeared out of nowhere and sat in front of the gate. We brought him in, figuring someone would be right down to claim him. That was two weeks ago and we've heard nothing. His time is up tomorrow."  He gestured helplessly.

As the words sank in I turned to the man in horror.  "You mean you're going to kill him?"
"Ma'am," he said gently, "that's our policy. We don't have room for every unclaimed dog."
I looked at the pointer again.  The calm brown eyes awaited my decision.  "I'll take him," I said. I drove home with the dog on the front seat beside me.. When I reached the house I honked the horn twice. I was helping my prize out of the car when Dad shuffled onto the front porch... "Ta-da! Look what I got for you, Dad !" I said excitedly.

Dad looked, then wrinkled his face in disgust. "If I had wanted a dog I would have gotten one. And I would have picked out a better specimen than that bag of bones. Keep it! I don't want it" Dad waved his arm scornfully and turned back toward the house.

Anger rose inside me.. It squeezed together my throat muscles and pounded into my temples. "You'd better get used to him, Dad. He's staying!"
Dad ignored me.. "Did you hear me, Dad ?" I screamed.  At those words Dad whirled angrily, his hands clenched at his sides, his eyes narrowed and blazing with hate.  We stood glaring at each other like duelists, when suddenly the pointer pulled free from my grasp.  He wobbled toward my dad and sat down in front of him.  Then slowly, carefully, he raised his paw..

Dad's lower jaw trembled as he stared at the uplifted paw confusion replaced the anger in his eyes. The pointer waited patiently.  Then Dad was on his knees hugging the animal.

It was the beginning of a warm and intimate friendship. Dad named the pointer Cheyenne.  Together he and Cheyenne explored the community.  They spent long hours walking down dusty lanes.  They spent reflective moments on the banks of streams, angling for tasty trout.  They even started to attend Sunday services together, Dad sitting in a pew and Cheyenne lying quietly at his feet.

Dad and Cheyenne were inseparable throughout the next three years.  Dad's bitterness faded, and he and Cheyenne made many friends.  Then late one night I was startled to feel Cheyenne 's cold nose burrowing through our bed covers.  He had never before come into our bedroom at night.  I woke Dick, put on my robe and ran into my father's room.  Dad lay in his bed, his face serene.  But his spirit had left quietly sometime during the night.

Two days later my shock and grief deepened when I discovered Cheyenne lying dead beside Dad's bed.  I wrapped his still form in the rag rug he had slept on.  As Dick and I buried him near a favorite fishing hole, I silently thanked the dog for the help he had given me in restoring Dad's peace of mind.

The morning of Dad's funeral dawned overcast and dreary. This day looks like the way I feel, I thought, as I walked down the aisle to the pews reserved for family. I was surprised to see the many friends Dad and Cheyenne had made filling the church.. The pastor began his eulogy. It was a tribute to both Dad and the dog who had changed his life.

And then the pastor turned to Hebrews 13:2. "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it."
"I've often thanked God for sending that angel," he said.

For me, the past dropped into place, completing a puzzle that I had not seen before: the sympathetic voice that had just read the right article... Cheyenne 's unexpected appearance at the animal shelter ....his calm acceptance and complete devotion to my father. . and the proximity of their deaths. And suddenly I understood.  I knew that God had answered my prayers after all.

Life is too short for drama or petty things, so laugh hard, love truly and forgive quickly.  Live While You Are Alive.  Forgive now those who made you cry.  You might not get a second time.

And if you don't send this to at least 4 people ---nobody cares.. But do share this with someone. Lost time can never be found.

God answers our prayers in His time........not ours..

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Vizsla National Gun Dog Championship Entry

Calhan, Colorado
 April 5 to 10, 2013
Hosted by Rocky Mountain Vizsla Club, Inc.

  Grounds: Rocky Mountain Roosters, Inc.
NATIONAL GUN DOG CHAMPIONSHIP: Open to any Vizsla six months of age or older that has ever placed first, second, third or fourth in any gun dog stake or holds a master hunter title. This is a one hour walking open championship, with retrieve on course. Open to amateur and professional handlers.
Entry from Walnut Creek, California
Highlander's Bailey's Wildest Dream
Ken Kuivenhoven

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Five Pictures from Las Trampas Hike

Thanks Georg for the good shots of happy dogs and happy people enjoying nature.  No better way to spend a Sunday morning.