A few people have been asking lately about the whereabouts of Scrappy, the little Miniature Pinscher we inherited as a stray.
Well, just in the nick of time, Scrappy was adopted by a new family. After diligent efforts to find his owner came up empty, we tried to find a new home for the Scrap. Drew and Penny (above) learned about Scrappy (or Squeaky as the kids called him or whatever it is they now call the cute little dog) right here on Scattershooting. After they showed up and fell in love with the little rascal he was whisked off to his new, better life.
I say it was just in time because that little rascal was growing on me. Another few days and I would have wanted to keep him. But alas, space is an object in our pin-sized yard. And with a Lab puppy on the way in the next year, there was just no room for Scrappy. We are all happy he is now with a good family, even it if means he will probably be wearing sweaters someday soon.
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Well, this place is turning into a zoo. First the stray cat showed up. Now a stray dog has moved in. Good thing we don’t live on a farm or we’d probably have 65 cats and dogs.
The latest little miscreant to show up was the cutey pictured above. The boys call him Squeaky. He actually is a cute little stray. He showed up Saturday and tried to get run over a few times on Main St. (also Illinois 78, a busy street in front of our house) before we lured him into the yard. I just can’t bear to see a dog hit by a car. I’ve been through it before as a kid and I will never forget the moment that dog died in my arms. I can still see his eyes glassing over.
Anyway, so far nobody in town is claiming Squeaky. That’s not good news for me, since the attachments are growing stronger every day. But I’m not willing to feed another dog unless it’s a black Labrador female named Buck. OK, we might not name her Buck. But that’s what I will call her. She will be on the scene next year if all goes as planned.
So, if anybody wants to step up and claim Squeaky, have at it. I think he’s a miniature doberman. He’s got a docked tail, he’s not neutered and he’s good with our kids. He’s a bit spooky at first, but has taken to climbing into people’s laps of late. He licks Boo Boo in the face, too. That’s probably bad parenting, but life is what it is. Hawk enjoys his company and they have been running the yard with reckless abandon. The cat has whupped him twice, which is good, since he’s not coming in the house.
Add another German import to the list of versatile hunting dogs.
This breed is the German Long-haired pointer, whose breeders have started a club to handle registry of their breed. Here’s a full release from the club.
German Long-haired Point Club established
MOSINEE, Wis. - To make the versatile German long-haired pointer an even better dog for North American bird hunting conditions, a new organization was founded this spring. The goal is to bring together the breed’s best traits from wherever it is found across Europe and this continent.
The German Long-haired Pointer Club of North America has established its own registry for this breed characterized by its setter-like coat of brown and brown/white combinations, feathered full tail and strong desire to hunt, track and retrieve both upland game and waterfowl.
In addition to the best of the breed from its German homeland, the new club will incorporate the best bloodlines from Scandinavia and England to produce a driven, yet cooperative and affectionate bird dog to better fit North America’s variety of unique bird hunting conditions, says Del Peterson, GLPCNA president.
Peterson, who first imported the breed to North America in 1974 and has been hunting a myriad of game birds over it ever since, says due to the changing landscape of Germany, German breeders have been emphasizing larger and more aggressive dogs for forest big game hunting, such as red stag and wild boar.
The new club will select for upland and waterfowling attributes, as well as biddable companions that interact well with handlers and other dogs. The club will continue to adhere to a demanding German-style field testing system and physical confirmation examination, including hip certification, to ensure breeding quality control.
“The ability to incorporate dogs from Scandinavia and England will also allow us to expand the gene pool here in North America and make these highly-sought after dogs more available to dedicated bird hunters,” said Peterson, who lives in Yakima, Wash.
The GLPCNA is adamant the dogs be tested to evaluate both instincts and trainability. The tests will examine the dogs’ searching, pointing, retrieving and tracking on uplands and water.
The start of August signaled a start of training for my little Llewellin setter, Hawkeye. And just in time. Since last season he’s grown quite a gut. Some might say he is starting to resemble his owner.
But there’s hope for him at least. And that came today in the form of the first of many training sessions between now and the start of upland game hunting (probably the Iowa opener, but we’ll see). My training regime is simple. Get him out, run him, toughen up his pads and put him on some wild birds so he starts using his nose again. I’m blessed with a dog who has good enough hunting instincts that so far I haven’t been able to mess him up.
Things were going fine this morning until Hawk locked up in a point partway down the strip-mine haul road on which we train. Usually he can find a covey of quail on this road, so it works well for training. But his point this morning was a little different, like he was uncertain what was in front of him. Not me. When I saw that little black and white rascal getting ready to turn tail toward Hawk I hollered and started whistling like a madman.
Fortunately, the wind was in his favor, so Hawk had set up his point a fair distance from the skunk. And fortunately he’s a pointer and not a Lab, or today would have changed dramatically. Just as fortunately, I was able to call him off point and he came right to me when I blasted the whistle. The skunk sauntered off, unconcerned. We turned back to the truck and called a halt to our training.
Now my only worry is whether the skunk is a regular in this area. If so, we might have to find a new training spot. Because when it comes to skunk encounters, you sure don’t want to push your luck.Story and comments
A life-sized bronze statue of the famous English pointer, Elhew Snakfoot, greats visitors at the main entrance to the National Bird Dog Museum. Snakefoot was inducted into the Field Trial Hall of Fame in 2006.
National Bird Dog Museum
WHERE: Grand Junction, Tenn., 50 miles east of Memphis on Highway 51, 1 miles east of Highway 18
WHEN: Hours are Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saurday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 1-4 p.m.
INFORMATION: (731) 764-2058 or birddogfoundation.com
When you drive through hills and hollers of southwestern Tennessee, the last thing you expect to find is a deli run by two Pakistani brothers whose specialty is Philly cheese steak sandwiches.
What you expect is the National Bird Dog Museum and Field Trial Hall of Fame, a destination that fits its surroundings. Southwest Tennessee and the area around Memphis is bird-dog country, a fact underlined by the many kennels behind houses and statues of pointers in front of houses. It’s no accident Grand Junction is called the epicenter of pointing dog field trials.
“The very first public all-comers field trial in the United States was held in Memphis in 1874,” said David Smith, executive director of the Bird Dog Foundation that runs the museum “And the first national field trial was held just south of here in Mississippi for a couple years before it moved to Grand Junction in 1900.”
Since then field trialers have flocked to Grand Junction each year for the National Field Trial Championship, held since 1902 at the 18,000-acre Ames Plantation. Dedicated in 1991, the museum does a good job of capturing that history. Better than expected, actually. I feared a bird-dog museum would be hokey. Wrong. Ends up I didn’t have time to see everything before catching a flight out of Memphis.
“A lot of people say that,” Smith said.
Among the 5,000 people who visit each year are art lovers. While dogs are the focus, their stories are told largely through paintings, pictures and sculptures found throughout this 22,000-square-foot complex of four buildings joined by a central atrium.
“We are a history and archives, an art and sculpture repository, a natural history museum and a library at the same time,” Smith said.
Nearly every piece comes with a story. Most show dogs in the field or pointing a covey of quail. Many have information cards next to them. There’s also a library and a room filled with stuffed birds and critters that children are allowed to explore.
As a proud owner of a Llewellin setter I was intrigued by pictures of past great Llewellins. Among the best-known are Count Gladstone IV, winner of the first National Championship Field Trial in 1896, and his sire Count Noble, whose remarkably well-preserved remains grace a large display case. What’s interesting about those older dogs is that they are holding their tails in a nearly horizontal position on point. Today’s top pointers and setters must hold their tails upright in a 12 o’clock position. Thanks to the museum’s wealth of pictures from the past 100 years, you can track that change and many others.
“You really should take time to stop there,” pointer trainer Larry Huffman told me during a visit to his kennels in nearby Michigan City, Miss. “The museum is worth seeing.”
I’m glad to have taken the advice of Huffman, trainer of this year’s national champion pointer, Whippoorwill Wild Agin. Owners of other breeds obviously agree. In 2004 Labrador retriever folks dedicated their Retriever Field Trial Hall of Fame wing. Overall about 40 different breeds are featured in the museum.
“From the get-go it’s been a situation where other dog groups were envious of the pointing dog world having such a haven here,” Smith said. “They quickly sought the attention of the Bird Dog Foundation. So the retriever people came on board, the brittany people, the springer spaniel people and just last year the German shorthair people.”
Several breeds are also immortalized in bronze sculptures on the museum grounds. Incidentally, sitting near those sculpture is an excellent place to eat a Philly cheese steak from the deli down the road.