Saturday, October 26, 2013

Trips Taken for the Love of a Breed

by guest author and dog lover Scott Maze.
"We learned a lot in our first year of breeding Transylvanian Hounds, but I confess I never really thought about the logistics of delivering the puppies.  That was a mistake, but correcting it has been very enjoyable.  The lesson began with our first litter, which was born in January.  The first two puppies to leave us went to Indiana.  They were escorted by a wonderful lady who actually came to California to personally pick out the show-quality female she wanted, and ended up taking another puppy with her.  The fun part is that those two puppies rode to Indiana with her on a private jet owned by her friend!  We have an in-flight photo of the two in their carriers, with pilot and co-pilot in the background along with an interior complete with beautiful wood paneling.  What a way to begin!
After our Hollywood-style start, however, things got pretty mundane.  Several puppies went to local owners, while one took a cross-country flight on a commercial airliner.  I felt sorry for her, traveling alone to be greeted by strangers, but her new owners sent along some of their clothing so she would know their smell and she acclimated very quickly.  After that, I thought the delivery process was pretty much over.  Then we found Rod Michaelson through his Redbirddog blog and realized we both live in the same town and share the same interests.   We’ve enjoyed hiking and socializing with Rod, Joanie and their Vizslas and our hounds love their off-leash time in the open space with Bailey and Chloe. 
We also went to Hungary for the first time. Our trip to Hungary resulted from our interest in breeding Kopós, as Transylvanian Hounds are known in Hungary, and the friendships that came out of that interest.  Our friends there owned Avar, the male who made our breeding program possible.  While we were there, we spent several days in Transylvania, now part of Rumania.  We visited many Kopó owners, a Kopó kennel and a dog show held in an ancient castle in the city of Alba Iulia, originally founded by the Romans. The show included a variety of breeds, including Vizslas, Kopós, and many others. 

The female owned by our Hungarian hosts had a litter of eleven puppies before we arrived, all but one destined for the United States, and we brought four back when we returned.  Delivering those puppies was not difficult, although one stayed long enough for us to start falling in love with her.  She finally flew to Los Angeles with her new owner, but not before we spent five hours at the airport.  She had stayed with us so long that she would not fit in a carry-on.  We ended up finding a crate, changing airlines, then changing flights before we could wave good-bye.    

But the story continued, as our friend from Hungary arrived within the month with another four puppies, the remainder of the litter.  Three of these puppies were spoken for and two of them were quickly delivered.  The third puppy was promised to a family in Western Canada and I thought our friend was delivering it.  That was true, but it was not the whole story.  Our friend had promised to deliver that puppy to Tacoma, Washington the day after he arrived in San Francisco—and he intended to drive it there himself!   After twenty-six hour hours awake and a thirteen-hour flight from Budapest, our friend would not subject that puppy to more of the same.  However, his co-driver begged off the night before he left, so I became co-driver on a sixteen hundred mile round trip that took thirty-four hours.  We did stop to sleep, but my wife Maria packed lots of food so we spent the rest of the time driving.   The trip resulted in the on-time delivery of that puppy to a happy young family whose two children were surprised and delighted that they were taking a puppy home with them.
After returning in the wee hours of Saturday morning, I thought I was finally done delivering puppies for a while, but then Rod got involved.  A nice couple from Wyoming had contacted him, asking whether he thought a Vizsla would be appropriate for their situation.  Along with his Vizsla information, Rod suggested they might consider a Transylvanian Hound.  They already knew about the breed, so they did some research and looked at our website.   Monday as we took our Kopós for their walk, Maria got a call from the lady, who was very interested.  Maria explained this was the last puppy available and that it came from the kennel we had visited in Transylvania, so we knew the breeder and had seen the puppy, its’ parents and littermates.   That night, Maria sent photos of the parents, his littermates and kennel, and information about these Hounds.
Within days, the folks in Wyoming decided they wanted that puppy.  This time there was no one else, so I was elected to go alone and to go immediately so the puppy would have more time to acclimate in his new surroundings.  No, I did not drive all the way to Wyoming, but I did leave Walnut Creek at six o’clock Friday morning to deliver the puppy to his new owners in Sparks, Nevada, where we had agreed to meet.  My trip took over three hours but the new owners put me to shame—they had driven straight through the night without stop with their fifteen year old Italian Greyhound to meet me that morning!  I made the delivery, drove back through the Sierras and was home in time for a late lunch.

Viggo settling with "Monkey" at home in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

 The puppy, his new owners and their greyhound again drove straight through to his new home in Jackson Hole, a round trip of over twenty hours in driving time alone!   (910 miles from Walnut Creek to Jackson Hole)

Viggo exploring his new forever home in the mountains around Jackson Hole
I am no longer naïve enough to say my days as a delivery boy are over, because I know better.   There will be more litters in the future—and who knows?   Rod may work some more of his magic.  But I’ll do anything I can to help anyone who loves dogs enough to drive twenty hours straight to get one!"

Scott (California Transylvanians)

1 comment:

Vince Stead said...

I just finished reading your article, and really enjoyed it, thank you. You can see some fun dog books at where you can also hear the dog stories for the same price as a paperback book, and they are fun to listen to.