How a pheasant from Wales made a duck from America to be forgotten
After meeting Jane Pappler at the British/American Specialty last summer,
which we loved (you will be seeing more of us in Britan) our dog Awesum Hero was
invited to go to America. He was entered in a hunting test where they use
live ducks, Danita handled him. One of his first retrieves was a roughneck
duck that bit him on the nose. Awesum is a gentle dog, he seemed to never
get over it, so he will never trust Donald Duck again.
We were convinced he wouldn't pick up live game anymore.
He came back just before Christmas, we started training again, only there is
very little hunting in Holland and if there is, there are more people than
game to hunt, so we were left to train with cold game. The trouble is dead
ducks won't fight back. What to do? Tracking could do the trick, the duck
isn't moving but his smell will. We made a track through wood and ended
through a reed border just along a footpath so we would be able to see him
picking the duck. Awesum started beautifully, made the corners and just as
he was supposed to be coming out of the border,
A big St Bernard came walking along the footpath and scared the ........ out
of him just as he was about to pick the duck. This is the end of his and
mine career as "a man and his working dog" I was so sad.
The Winners Dog Show in Amsterdam was held in November, we had nothing to do
because of a duck so we decided to go. We met Janet Morris, who we told
about the duck, she very quickly invited us all to come to Wales and make
him forget. If all the answers were so easy, we said yes and the trip was
planned. After a very rough ride over the channel to Harwich, we arrived
late at night at Black Beech Farm. With very little sleep we were up early
the next morning driving on the wrong side of very small roads to Glan Usk
Estate. Meeting the local handlers who made me look like a city slicker but
gave me very warm welcome and a handful of blue strings?
The first drive.
You take a dozen men and women, a lot more dogs, a very tiny pony-carrier,
shove them all in and off we went. Awesum never know what was coming, marked
the guns, but was astonished by a rain of pheasants. The second horn sounded
the drive was over and off he went but couldn't decided which bird to take
first. This isn't working, we are making a fool of our self's.
Working in water, that we could do, Holland the land of water and dykes.
Holland the land of floating water? Very fast floating water? Awesum had
never worked on fast moving water, the Usk was swollen with rainwater, he
never saw them floating past - dark birds almost under the water. Throwing
a stone could help him mark if he stopped looking at the stones. The second
stone did the trick and off he went, marking, swimming and retrieving. YES,
I do have a working dog!
Marking, tracking and catching runners like there have never been a stupid
duck in America.
I even learned about blue strings and braces, male female pheasants,
beaters, bread with cheese and onions. We could climb the world.
Me and my big mouth. Hunting on the Black Mountains. In Holland we got hills
that looks like speed bumps comparing to your mountains. Me short of breath
because of lack of oxygen or condition, my dog jumping up and down wanting
more. Do you know one of your legs will get shorter because of walking along
the side of mountains. I know I am still limping because of that mountain.
Awesum only learned and learned
He is getting more steady and I am getting more aching muscles.
Fourth and last day
My dog is a top dog, now I must find a person who can keep up with him. I am
exhausted but happy. We came home with lots of memories, photos, pheasants
and the gift of a lovely thumb walking stick each from one of the beaters
Horse & Hounds 'Awesum Hero' and Roel Dik