ATB

ATB
Welcome to the ATB blog "J & A's Brittanys" where we love to write about, share stories, post videos and pictures featuring our beautiful, well bred Brittany family bird dogs. With their established and recognized hunting heritage our dogs also measure up to the breed standard regarding health, appearance, movement, and temperament. Enjoy the stories of whelping puppies, tips on field training, bragging rights on accomplishments, sharing joys and sorrow, announcements and as the name implies - ALL THINGS BRITTANY! With a love of God, family, friends, and dog we welcome you.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Lessons from a Jigsaw Puzzle

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There's a quote that goes something like this:
 "Not all of the puzzle pieces appear to fit together at first but in time you'll realize they do, perfectly."

EVERYTHING I NEEDED TO KNOW ABOUT LIFE
I LEARNED FROM A JIGSAW PUZZLE
1. Don’t force a fit. If something is meant to be, it will come together naturally.
2. When things aren’t going so well, take a break. Everything will look different when you return.
3. Be sure to look at the big picture. Getting hung up on the little pieces only leads to frustration.
4. Perseverance pays off. Every important puzzle went together bit bybit, piece by piece.
5. When one spot stops working, move to another. But be sure to comeback later (see #4).
6. The creator of the puzzle gave you the picture as a guidebook.
7. Variety is the spice of life. It’s the different colors and patterns that make the puzzle interesting.
8. Working together with friends and family makes any task fun.
9. Establish the border first. Boundaries give a sense of security and order.
10. Don’t be afraid to try different combinations. Some matches are surprising.
11. Take time often to celebrate your successes (even little ones).
12. Anything worth doing takes time and effort. A great puzzle can’t be rushed.
Author unknown

Scattering Of The Pieces 

Last fall, owners of two Brittanys from the ATB family encountered unexpected health issues related to serious back injuries sustained in near fatal car accident.  They could no longer provide the level of care the dogs were accustomed to and reached out to us for help. When I learned the dogs were currently being boarded at a reputable kennel in Ohio I wanted to get them out of there right away. I just didn't know how.  John suggested we contact friends of ours who also live in Ohio. Surely God intervened because not only were they more than willing to help but they actually lived fairly close to the kennel!  (April, a vet tech, and her husband Steve operate a game farm and breed English Springer Spaniels. A few years ago John and a friend of ours ran dogs at a NSTRA field trial and stayed at their house.) Despite her own health issues, April immediately offered to go to the kennel, check on the dogs and share her observations. A day or two after the visit, April made arrangements with the dog's owners for them to be released into her care where they enjoyed a few days with new friends.

Assemble The Border
By now, I had let our network of wonderful ATB family and friends know about our re-homing situation. The response was over-whelming and we even heard from our breed rescue organizations who offered to help in anyway.  From the start there were several good potential inquiries. Even so,  I just couldn't get to where I felt it was the best 'fit' for these two special Brittanys despite the interest.

As each inquiry fell short of my expectations for one reason or another, I also knew April could not keep the dogs indefinitely. Then, our friends Pete & Kira, who own Wilson  and Annie, offered to be a 'half-way' house for the dogs. For a few weeks they would happily welcome them into their country home as their pampered guests, love on them, meet their needs, assess them and more.   Soon a plan was in place for the dogs to get to New York.  

When assembling a jigsaw puzzle usually you start with the border. It defines the space that you have to work within. Looking at the scattered pieces you wonder if they will ever fit together. But piece by piece you realize you can connect a few of them. Our friends were helping to complete a border. Both in Ohio and then in New York.

Pieces Start to Fall Into Place
Pete and Kira completely opened both their home and their hearts to "Maggie" and "Charlie".  Their own two Brittanys seemed to understand how special their guests were. Although displaced, confused, and unsure they responded positively to their new situation. Kira provided them with accommodations suitable for guests of a posh B&B. She sent daily videos, photos or updates of the dogs that made me smile.  The love, assessment, care, and attention given provided the framework, and if you will, the "border" for what would follow.  I know there were challenging moments but I also know that a necessary healing began to take place, a healing unlikely to have occurred if these special Brittanys had gone anywhere else.  All the dogs were of known lineage, each one sound and balanced. And all concerned were well aware of normal animal behavior and canine communication was well understood by all concerned. A perfect "half-way house" for two special Brittanys stopping midway on their journey with an opportunity to readjust, relearn, and progress while an abundance of love was poured out upon them as well as necessary vet checks and grooming.

Don't Force A Fit
For awhile it was a matter of trying to MAKE pieces fit together. Have you ever tried to 'jam' two pieces of an interlocking puzzle piece together? It is tempting to do this when they look like they should be put next to each other.

As things progressed it was clear that they were to return to the place of their birth, here to Maine with John, me, and our crew.  Afterall, we are their family in every sense of the word! Although at that point in time no definite plan was in place, by faith my heart still believed there was a special situation waiting just for them. After their wonderful experience with our dear friends in New York, John drove there and back to bring them "home."

Speaking of John, he often compares how salmon know when they have returned to their spawning ground to the way a Brittany born here reacts to being with us again. Based on their reaction to a initial romp around the yard or even to littermates, sire or dam who may be here, often it seems indeed they do sense the familiarity.

One of the first things we did when Charlie and Maggie arrived was oversee a full pack run around the yard with ALL the crew.  Maggie ended up romping with her father.  Clearly we could see her confidence was stronger than Charlies.  It only took her a few hours to feel comfortable enough to jump up into a chair!  It took Charlie a few days longer.  Hemi gave sideway glances to this new boy-dog (son of Jack dog) like he was daring him but was quickly reminded we are the pack leaders of the house.  Consequently, there were no issues.

Although we're completely fenced in and all our dogs run freely for the first few days we only allowed Charlie and Maggie outside if we had them on an extended nylon lead about 20' long. (Speaking of leads - I think extendable/retractable leads should be banned but that is another story.) The next step was to let them just drag the leads but when they did not come when called it was back to square one.  My biggest concern was they would scheme together and escape!

Maggie and Charlie obviously were brought up responsibly and with lots of love.  We had the benefit of personally knowing the breeding behind them, knowing they are not a 'rescue dog' or a 'shelter dog' meant whatever extra baggage they may have brought along, wasn't going to be anything serious. These are both very smart and kept us entertained! They are great dogs.  Completely house broken, participated in agility, passed AKC Puppy programs, and checked out AKC Rally too. They just loved the opportunity to eventually run freely off leash and within no time were running back to us when called. John brought Maggie to our friends outdoor agility course just for fun and she showed them she knew what to do there.

The Pleasure and Glory of 
the Completed Puzzle

Slowly but surely we watched the puzzle come together, yet not in the way we first imagined.  Although many expressed an interest in welcoming Charlie and Maggie into their lives, there were just as many who I knew ultimately would NOT be
the best 'fit'. There are things we learned along the way. I had assumed Maggie and Charlie should be kept together, believing they were dependent upon each other and a strongly bonded pair. I also thought this would best honor their prior owners wishes and we had no plans to separate them. They showed us all that while they adored each other, they also were wonderfully independent of each other. No matter what, we were committed to remain involved with Maggie and Charlie's future, just as if they were puppies leaving us for the first time.  And along the way we realized they could indeed thrive and be happy living separate lives.

Miss Maggie Rose is living the life of a well loved family pet in an active home with two other dogs, one of which is from our program. In other words, she is with an ATB family about 40 minutes away. One of her owners is at home full time! The picture in the completed puzzle above shows Maggie relaxing in her new home. which is in the country surrounded by acres of land. Maggie is doing great and quickly bonded with her new owners upon their first visit here.

And that leaves "Charles" as John affectionately refers to him.  He and John have become very close.  I know this is due, in part, to how very much Charlie and reminds him of our beloved JackDog, Charlie's sire. (I saw a lot of our sweet Molly Rose in Maggie's eyes, daughter of Molly.) Charlie has made himself right at home here and is very comfortable and happy as part of our pack. It took a little while for all the boys to understand Charlie is here to stay but now they romp and play. We have open runs with ALL things Brittany under close supervision. Hemi was so sad for a long time about the loss of his friend Jack so in a very subtle manner, Charles' presence has helped.  John couldn't wait to get him out on some birds to see what to expect and sure enough, Charlie shows a lot of potential. If all goes well once the snow leaves, Charlie will probably be out in the field preparing for an AKC Hunt Test. He absolutely loves to spend time outdoors and he would stay there for hours if we let him. Charlie seems to see something beyond what is in front of him, much in the same way his grandmother Treasure will do. For long periods of time he will stand or sit in one place, just gazing out in such a surreal way.  He can be a puddin' head about coming back into the house sometimes but we're working on that.

In closing, we remain in touch with Maggie and Charlie's previous owners.  They are our friends who we care about.  I keep them in my prayers and am happy to know that all things considered, the future is truly looking bright!  Praise God.

Take care and God bless and as always thank you for your interest in All Things Brittany.  Next up I hope to share about my incredible experience judging the 2018 American Brittany Club Western Futurity.  John, Ann, & ATB

If this story has touched your heart in anyway, or if you feel others would be encouraged please feel free to share it, thank you!

Sunday, January 21, 2018

2018 Breeding Plans #2

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J&A's Keeper of the Stars of Acton, SH
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J&A's Birch Spring Breaking New Ground, JH, NA 107 Prize 1


Please visit the this link on the J&A's Brittanys website for more information. This is 1 of 2 PLANNED breedings for 2018. It has not yet occurred.

Friday, January 5, 2018

2018 Breeding Plans #1

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CH J&A's High Caliber Harris Special, SH

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J&A's Carry The Dream of Acton JH, NA 110 Prize 1




Please visit the this link on the J&A's Brittanys website for more information. This is 1 of 2 PLANNED breedings for 2018. It has not yet occurred.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Best of ATB: "Family become friends, friends become family."

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BEST OF ATB: FROM the ARCHIVES

November 20, 2010 - Nova discovers bird hunting
John, Jack, Me, and our beautiful sharpshooting granddaughter Nova and her pheasants

For the past 24 hours I have been trying to think of how to describe on of the the most amazing days of my life.  Our good friend Julie summed it up quite well on her Facebook post: "This was such a magnificent day on lots of levels. A much needed physical and spiritual experience with lots of superb people, fine dogs and good camaraderie."

Sam and John had been working on an informal pheasant hunt for awhile.  As the days turned into weeks and now we're almost into December time began to be a concern along with the weather.  Sam, Pam, and John have enjoyed bird hunting together several times this fall in Southern Maine. All manner of hunting has been ongoing in the Short family as well including but not limited to Nova's turkey and her first deer, and our son's succesful deer hunting which most recently resulted in a nice 10 point buck. As a matter of fact, our Sunday dinner today featured some wonderful fresh venison steaks along with scalloped potato and green beans! 

John contacted the landowners he knows and working with the State of Maine secured necessary and additional field, training, and hunting permits for a pheasant hunt with a few friends and Brittanys and of course with ATB.  We knew it should be a small group but with Nova following closely in her dad's footsteps I really wanted to introduce her to bird hunting over the dogs.  When John told me he'd run into our son and family and invited her to join us I was ecstatic!  With our truck fully outfitted and Scooby, True, Piper, and Jack aboard we picked Nova up at her home EARLY Saturday morning and headed to the fields about an hour away. She was so excited which made me even more excited and plus I love spending time with her (and ALL of our grandchildren.)

Within an hour or so John, Nova, and I were joined by our friends (Gary and his son, Dave and his son and a friend, Julie, Sam, and Pam).  I had been wanting for Nova to meet our friends for so long, I am always talking about our family to them and it means a lot to me for them to know each other.  She was especially thrilled seeing all the different Brittanys there, several whom she had known here at ATB as pups over the years and of course Gibson the movie star.  It was fun not only to introduce our friends but also the dogs and explain who they were related to!

The morning was breezy and chilly but as the sun rose it became warmer. We brought cider, hot coco, coffee and I made cookies and coffee cake.  Sam and Pam brought hamburg to grill for lunch so we were all set.  Groups of 2 or more headed out together with their dogs.  A total of 11 Brittanys and 1 Lleweln (English) Setter enjoyed the opportunity to hunt and enjoy the day.  We saw great dogs and fantastic bird work at every level, from derby stage right up to finished gundog and somewhere in between.  It was so much fun! 

John really shines when he has an opportunity to put something together like this and he never disappoints. Thinking of everything, it is his desire to be sure everyone enjoys themself and yesterday was no exception.  Plus it's fun when you know the people you're out hunting with like we do. Several of us all belong to the same Brittany club(s) and have worked together on field trials etc.  We all lead such different lives, have various situations going on yet when we are enjoying the great outdoors with the dogs we love there is such a sense of comaraderie. No one was trying to "kick butt" in any type of competitive event, there were no standards to meet other than one criteria - have fun with your dog. Don't get me wrong though - each and every dog in those fields yesterday KNEW how to hunt. They were under control and handled well to their owners.  Although tips and guidance were offered, the owners of these Brittanys are hunting dog owners.  Several are shown, two are show champions, a couple are Junior Hunters, and others have significant placements and points in both field and the ring - even very close to finishing.  Everyone including the two 10 year olds, have hunter safety and training behind them, know all about guns and respect them.  Herein lies the heart and hope of All Things Brittany as we share experiences like this with others. 

Grampa released Jack to the fields as he and Nova headed down the slight incline together. Armed with my Canon PowerShot SX 120 I stood at the top of the knoll watching with several of our friends.   Watching Jack quarter magnificently out in front where John wants him, seeing those rippling muscles as he effortlessly strides forth and every ounce of his being poured out for one purpose - pick up the scent that he lives for - this in itself thrills my heart.  Listening to John 'speak' to Jack through the language of various whistle sounds, an occasional verbal command or hand signal is a beautiful sight for me.  These are things we have worked together on with our dogs over the years, although most recently moreso John than me.  John and I 'get it' and so do our dogs.  And yesterday - we watched Nova 'get it' too.

Nova and John conversed together and I can only imagine he was explaining about how the dog works, the wind, the bird and what the dog would do. What "Jack" would do, one of her favorites.  This was afterall a FIRST.  Moving nicely ahead at a decent clip Jack suddenly SLAMMED !!!! When Jack does this you better pay attention.  I watched as John guided Nova up closer, showed her how to come around the side, front, and back towards Jack and to be ready with her gun for the pheasant to flush. Grampa had told her where to expect the bird to pop up and anticipate what direction it would most likely take flight.   And in a split second which played out in slow motion I watched mesmerized, trying to take pictures but not so much as my vision blurred with tears.  Poetry in motion indeed as the pheasant rose, our grandaughter raised her shotgun, sighted the track of the bird in the bead 'just like daddy said', took the safety off and shot.  Holding my breath, watching as John stood ready for a second shot if necessary to take the bird down the pheasant gracefully cascaded straight down to the ground several feet in front of her.  Released to retrieve, Jack brought the bird back to Nova while a whole lot of shouting was going on at the top of the hill!  I was one proud grandmother and the look on Nova's beautiful sweet face was pure joy.  Proudly carrying her bird with Jack and Grampa walking by her side she came up and we hugged each other. At the end of the day Nova had 4 nice pheasants to bring home for the freezer, to put meat on the table.  And at the end of the day she told me that bird hunting was now her favorite kind of hunting.  I'm not only proud of Nova's first experience in the field with our dogs but I'm proud of our son, and I'm happy for John and thankful that hunting will continue on in our family for the next generation.

The torch was passed to two families yesterday in regards to bird hunting.  10 year old John also experienced the awesome awakening to bird hunting that Nova did when he and his dad successfully hunted over their young Brittany "Daizee".  On his own, with his dog well under control and on point, this young man also shot his own bird. 

On another level, many of the Brittanys there were also related so there was a chance to compare similarities in hunting style.  Age and maturity effect the dogs significantly.  We had two father/son pairs there; Gibson and True, Jack and Bullet.  Of course the varying skills and experience of the hunters are taken into consideration.  And the emotional aspects include the reality of personal life situations which effect all of us who are friends and family.  We care deeply for each other, most of us stay in touch on a regular basis, we are there for each other and for each other's dogs. When one member of our family is hurting, we all feel it in one way or another.  It is not unusual for some of us to pray together.

Speaking of ATB there was emotion involved there too.  Somehow all woven together.  Piper will be leaving to go to South Carolina shortly after Thanksgiving where she will spend the entire winter at training camp.  It is an amazing opportunity for her and one she will greatly benefit from.  Miss Piper has the highest drive of any young Brittany I have seen in a long, long time.  While some hunting Brittanys can adapt better to the decrease in field activity over the winter months, Piper is not that way. Recognizing at 12 months what she is made of means we recognize what is best for her.  Even so, this is a well thought out decision which John and I discussed thoroughly.  But in the end, it was his to make and I support it.

In closing, I also had the thrill yesterday of hunting over a handsome 3 year old white and liver male Brittany - J & A's Soaring White Sequoia of Acton, better known simply as "Scooby".   Scooby is 'MY' dog (did you hear me John??!!) MY dog.  He handles very well for me, maybe even better than for John at times but of course this past summer my field activity was severely curtailed.  Nova asked me several times throughout the day as did friends if I was going to do any hunting. I looked at the grounds, the distance, and felt apprehensive as to how much of it I could tackle.  I had decided no go - until I had a talk with Scooby.  John and Nova headed around the far side of the field and I took a short cut down over the hill to meet up with them at the bottom and to let Scooby get some of that fire out of his belly. 

Scooby caught sight of me and happily ran to catch up with me.  And he did have to stand up to kiss my face before getting back to business. He stayed to my front nicely as he quartered.  Soon my boy locked up on point.  He had a nice find but something was wrong with the pheasant as it couldn't fly.  I walked up in front kicking and thrashing.  Scooby waited briefly to see what was going on but decided he'd make life easier for me God love him and gently picked the pheasant up in his mouth and gave it to me.  Scoob and I tried once more but both met our match as another nearby pheasant flushed suddenly.  I don't like to shoot a bird my dog has not pointed, doesn't teach him anything as tempting as it is. Scooby and I enjoyed ourselves though, John called him back to the truck while I had a little help from my friends getting back up the hill! 

I've posted about 80 pictures from yesterday on the ATB Facebook fan page in an album.  Every time I look at them I smile all over again.  As we approach Thanksgiving I like to take time to think on those things I am most thankful for which are very consistent over the years.  I am thankful to God for this life I live, just exactly as it is and all that it entails.  I am thankful for family with my husband being at the top, for friends, and for very simple things.  I am thankful of course for these amazing animals who share my heart and home. And I am thankful for days like yesterday which truly are gifts to all who have the eyes to see and the heart to feel.  Let me just say thank You... Take care and God Bless, John, Ann, and All Things Brittany

Originally published November 21, 2010

Monday, November 6, 2017

A Breeder's Season of Sadness

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Some people may never understand the depth or importance of the human-animal bond. And what I share below is not intended to minimize or even compare to the loss we experience when a beloved HUMAN family member or friend dies.  Neither is it to imply my priorities are out of whack because God is always first in my heart. Even so, I do continue to deeply grieve the deaths of three of our beloved canine crew, Molly, Jack, and Wish and now is the time to write.
My heart lingers in summer, but I know it is fall...
Our first Brittany came into our lives in 1986, our first litter born in 1990 and eventually we became a multiple dog family.  It's been a joyful labor of love to own multiple dogs for many years while developing a purpose driven program of close working gun dogs.  God has truly blessed this work of our hands while weaving the garment of our lives tightly with beautiful threads from the lives of others.  The perfection of His plan or the direction He'd take us could never have been anticipated. All for the love of the dog, both given and received, to His Glory, for His Purposes, and very often also to share the mutual love of the Lord, praying and even being used by Him in the lives of others. We've been proud for all the right reasons to earn more than a few titles and recognition along the way with our Brittanys while keeping Matthew 6:19-21 (the basis for Treasure's name) at the forefront. Not for personal gain or vain glory. But for the Glory of God. Some people won't get that part of it. But a lot of people will. And that's okay! So once again I'm reminded to everything there is a season. And this is going to be a sad read, just sayin'.
Consider the way summer-like temperatures offer brief glimpses at springtime of what awaits a few months later. Consider also how clearly the first falling leaf in early September is a sign of autumn approaching. As owners and breeders of a multiple dog family, likewise John and I have been well aware of subtle changes in our aging, senior Brittanys pointing to an inevitable season of sadness that would eventually fall upon us here at "All Things Brittany." Nothing could have prepared us for though for saying goodbye to three of our beloved dogs over the past few months.
We previously experienced the tragedy of losing a fine young athletic Brittany to the thievery of cancer 10 years ago.  Our daughter and her family likewise experienced this reality several years ago. There have been other Brittanys from our program whose lives were shortened unfairly by this same thief or from an unexpected accident or illness and we have mourned their passing with the families who loved them. Even as recently as this week. For each time we welcomed a pup into the world over the years, there will be or has been a season of mourning. As breeders with a desire to fully invest ourselves somehow in the lives of every pup we are responsible to bring into the world we do see the circle of life.  But we also see God's hand and understand to everything there is a season.  Age is of no consequence as we have closely held a newborn pup to our breast while they took their last breath. And together, our tears have fallen down upon the soft fur of a beloved heart dog as we held them close during 'that' loving and humane act of compassion that ends suffering. It's an immeasureable level of that pain and that grief, one in which recent months I've experienced the depths of in ways impossible to express. I have been shaken to the core. And although the love of God, family, and friends has surely sustained me and carried me it hurts. so. much. 
KJ's Ramblin Molly Rose got her 'angel wings' on July 31, 2017 at the age of 14.  Sweet and funny beautiful and intelligent she did not have a disease or illness, she was simply quite happy living in "Molly's World." With a fully white face, slightly cloudy eyes, and selective hearing she still reverted to crazy puppy spurts from time to time. She started to 'tell us' she was really getting tired. Her muscle tone was poor, her skin was so loose around her body. Molly's appetite started to dwindle and she slept more often than she was awake.  Molly had a few fatty cysts and lumpy places but otherwise was in good shape. She made her message clear one day as we ventured down to our small farm pond, just the two of us.  Molly hadn't tried to climb down over the banking to the water's edge
Sweet Molly Rose - 3/6/03 - 7/17/17
for quite awhile. But this day she insisted. I hadn't climbed down over the banking either since my two knee replacements yet I couldn't take a chance of not being near to Molly in case she needed help. So down I went. She was in a carefree mood with her mind set upon frogging.  One frog was gracious enough to swim right up to her and I was delighted to see her splash the water in front of her in an attempt to catch it. Molly seemed oblivious to how much her antics took out of her physically. As anyone with a Brittany knows, they can be pig headed and she sure was. Molly took off for the far side of the pond away from where I was. As she did I could see she was having trouble dealing with a muddy section. She stumbled and fell down in a few inches of water. Molly couldn't get up on her own and she would have drowned if I hadn't been there. Although the mud made it difficult for me to get to her quickly I was able to reach her.  In a split second and in a flash, her frailty and aging became clear to me as I gently stood her to her feet.  She was scared and quite honestly so was I. By the Grace of God I was able to lift her and get her back up over the banking.  An additional measure of Grace helped me crawl on my knees (ouch) up and over to where she was. Molly took a few steps towards the shade of a nearby tree and then just plopped down in the cool grass.  We stayed there together for quite awhile.  When it was time to head back to the house she wasn't sure.  I turned my back and slowly began to walk away. Not wanting to be left alone, Molly struggled to her feet and slowly but surely followed me.  There were other things going on with Molly, evidenced by her 'stool'.  (Dog people will know what I'm talking about.) Molly's time with us ended with gentle and peaceful assistance here at home to usher her into her eternal rest.  She was ready. Until we meet again Miss Molly, until we meet again.
J&A's Apple Jack of Acton JH, our Jack Dog, our beautiful golden boy entered into his rest on August 18, 2017 at the age of 12.  His death was very unexpected as overall he'd been so healthy. Jack did sustain a field injury to his shoulder a few years ago when he slammed into a hidden tree stump while running full force.  He also had been diagnosed with the tick borne infectious disease Ehrlichiosis which, while he had been treated for that, symptoms sometimes reared their ugly head. 
Beloved Jack Dog 6/13/15 - 8/18/17
Then, during the winter months he had swallowed a piece of rubber which caused a blockage in his intestines.  Emergency surgery was performed and although he recovered, he never seemed to fully    Perhaps all of these things eventually caught up to him. This spring Jack still physically and enthusiastically gave it his all as John daily took the dogs to the training field. Birds were set out for Jack to find, point, and then to retrieve back to John. These two were a beautiful well oiled team, an orchestra  of perfection which always took my breath away to see.  The love between them unlike anything I've ever seen between human and dog. Ever. By June Jack was clearly slowing down.  He's always been a very mellow dog unless there was a 'girl dog' or birds involved. His times in the field were limited to sitting in the truck while John worked all the other dogs. And I felt sad for him as he watched and listened.  A bird would be put out for him to find nearby, he was so very happy. Losing Molly took a lot out of us emotionally, we could barely believe our eyes what we were seeing as July turned into August and Jack was really struggling to walk.  There were repeated vet visits, tests, x-rays, meds, therapeutic massages and exercise.  Jack was preparing us though.  His sleeping habits changed drastically and at night he chose to separate himself from us. Getting up onto the bed was difficult so we bought new orthopedic heated dog cushions and beds for him.  At first he'd stay in them but soon he was wondering around at night. We'd often find he had crated himself in a dark room. It was so sad. Jack lost complete use of his rear legs and also his bladder. John carried Jack outside by the use of a sling/towel. He was immobile in the house. Our vet visited often and we provided our very best supportive care for Jack in every sense of the word. John blocked out his very busy schedule and dedicated every moment of every day to Jack's needs. It was love in action. But we both knew. And so did Jack.  The human and the animal who deeply loved each other had to come to terms with the reality of what was happening. Jack had to convince John it was okay for him to let him go. John had to convince Jack that he didn't have to worry about him after he was gone. On the rainy afternoon of August 18th Jack was humanely released into the loving arms of our Lord Jesus. As surely as the rain poured down, so did those awful tears of grief fall while Jack was laid to rest. The very next morning a gathering of friends and dogs joined us at the training field in a show of support and encouragement. Ironically, we were also burdened with the news that our oldest granddaughter was missing!  Thank God she was found safe and sound later on that day.  How much though Lord, how much can one heart bear?
Birch Springs Wish Upon a Star "WISH".... came into our life at the age of 15 months. I will always remember looking at her and thinking how beautiful she was. Wish had the strongest prey drive of ANY Brittany I have ever known and that is saying a lot.  She made me smile.  Everyone loved Wish.  Unassuming but sweet to a fault.  Tuned into me in ways that were near uncanny.  I remember sitting pondside and closing my eyes, just playing a little mind game with myself.  I would think hard
Loveable Momma Wish - 7/16/03 - 9/18/17
about Wish who was off playing with the pack. As soon as opened my eyes there she'd be, jumping up and wagging her tail. I learned about hunting woodcock with Wish.  I also learned a lot about being a better dog breeder through her. She's Treasure, Jack, and Scooby's mother and great-granddam to many She did live to hunt but she also was an incredible momma dog.  To those who understand such things I say she was the brood bitch every breeder strives to have at least once in a lifetime. Wish never really slowed down and unlike Molly or Jack gave no telltale sign that anything was wrong. Our crew are examined on a regular basis and other than non-cancerous fatty cysts, lumps and bumps that are fairly common in older dogs, Wish was healthy.  Shortly after her 14th birthday which was about the time Molly passed, Wish did begin to show signs of confusion. I had wondered if it could be due in part to missing Molly.  She would seek out places and things that provided shelter, go around and around in a circle while there, and only come out with some gentle persuasion.  Wish still would romp with her 'kids' and grandpups, but stuck closer than a shadow to us at other times. She wasn't eating as much as usual so we provided her with special foods to help sustain her before Wish lost any weight.  One warm and typical September morning when feeding the dogs John noticed Wish wasn't getting out of her bed. He thought maybe she'd died in her sleep. Upon closer observation it was clear she had suffered some kind of stroke. Always the cleanest dog ever she was curled up in her blanket which was soiled and looked up with confused yet trusting and pleading eyes. We kept Wish comfortable until our vet could see her.  And for the third time in as many months we held onto a beloved Brittany as the Lord opened heavens gates for her. We were 
The outpouring of sympathy, love, and support has meant so much to me.  And to John too of course.  We've been blessed through notes, cards, flowers, gifts, and acts of love and kindness. In some ways it has been a good thing that life is usually very busy for us concerning these heartaches.  Times with our family as well as hunt tests, field trials, dog shows, hunting trips and the ever ongoing dog training have kept us from dwelling for too long on all things sad. But every time we play with the dogs in the yard we see the huge void. They feel it too. Oh I could write a lot more about their own reactions to the deaths of their best friends too. When I say ATB 'family' it extends to the very canines that define that expression.  We are developing an informal memorial spot in our yard in the area around a simple tree where the dogs have always enjoyed lying in the shade.  We've never been fancy, neither will this spot be. But it is theirs and there they will be. I have joked previously about how we're running a geriatric ward for Brittanys here.  Somehow it's not so funny anymore to say this. Just last week we had another scare here with our two youngest dogs.  To make a long story short, they were diagnosed with 3 tick borne diseases which nearly debilitated them, even with the use of tick preventative! Now on an aggressive doxycycline therapy program along with other essential care they are improving.  Thank you Lord.

A dear friend sent me a book called "Will I See Fido In Heaven?" We know there are many wonderful warm and fuzzy stories, tales about Rainbow Bridge and others which all bring comfort.  I love them all. But for me there must be a deeper meaning, and I need to see, need to know beyond a shadow of doubt about the death of my Brittanys in relation to what the Bible has to say. I'm a purist in many aspects, and this is true now. Each of the seven times God spoke of his covenant with Noah, he included the animals. This book is relevant Scripturally speaking regarding Gods plan for what is considered the 'lesser, non-human creatures.' After reading this book, researching I am certain indeed "There will be a day. "Please keep us in your prayers.  This is a very hard season on many levels.


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

ATB: Dog Training Recap - The Best of ATB

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Best of All Things Brittany (from the ARCHIVES)

Breeding Better Bird Dogs - Two Pheasants and a Turkey
It's the end of October already! How quickly the seemingly long hot summer transitioned into brisk autumn days where leaves go through glorious stages of change, to eventually cascade from branches and lie scattered on the ground, reminding me of a quilt of many colors. And this, THIS is the time of year the dogs live for. From Holly Beth, almost three,  to Molly and Wish who both turn 14 on their next birthday, all things Brittany enjoys this time of year most of all. Most everything we do all year long leads up to the joy and anticipation of the moments that October ushers in.

Bird Hunting 2016. Scooby, Maryann, John.
Beginning in the spring and continuing right up to opening day most mornings John leaves the house very early and heads out to run and train dogs.  They all get to go but not all at the same time.  It's a lot of work but it's also a lot of fun. We have great friends who regularly meet up with their dogs too. On any given morning over the course of several months our Brittanys are regulary run with not only other Brittanys (including French Brittanys) but also English Setters and Pointers. Occasionally a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, Vizsla, German Shorthair Pointer, Gordon Setter and a Munsterlander have joined them.

Although he's not a professional dog trainer John is often contacted for advice and tips on training a close working gun dog for the walking upland bird hunter. He's always happy to take the time to offer suggestions over the phone.  He might suggest  bringing their dog to the field so he can informally evaluate them.  John does not train dogs for competitive field events although sometimes our own Brittanys or those from our program will participate in them, usually resulting in a placement.  We do enjoy introducing people to AKC hunt tests, especially those with young pups and that type of training can go hand in hand with training a bird dog in most instances.

We have a purpose driven breeding program and have achieved goals that we had in mind when we bred our first litter in 1990 and in doing so we have  reached a lot of milestones as well.  Breeding better bird dogs has been and always will be our first priority. Everything else is frosting on the cake!

Molly Rose - puppy at heart, going on 14 enjoying Moosehead.
Our circle of 'bird dog friends' grew immensely when John retired. Prior to his retirement he'd been working up to and over 60 hours a week leaving little time for dogs.  We'd been given landowner permission to use over 100 acres of field, orchard, and woods just down the road from us. Not that I really knew what I was doing but I did sure enjoyed those early training days with Molly, Wish, Rosie, Jack, Timberdoodle, Treasure, and Pippin! While I thought I was the one doing the teaching the fact of the matter is that they were the one teaching me. They showed me honoring before I knew what it was.  They taught me about the intensity of the point before I understood the importance of it. I observed strong, natural and inherent instincts hard at work before I could even articulate what I was seeing.  I delighted to learn about the scent cone by watching my dog naturally quarter a field in front of me, and so much more.

The summer of his retirement John and another friend helped a nearby pro-trainer in the field with the dogs he was training at his facility.  The following year John returned to assist on a full time basis when his trainer friend had a few serious health issues which fortunately were resolved.

Since we still had permission to use the field near our home that's where John started to run dogs the following summer. We could have two johnny houses there for our our quail, pigeons, and chukar partridge. Some mornings John was joined by others and their dogs and other times he had
Molly's daughter Rose, Moosehead Lake 2016 (almost 12)
the morning to himself with our dogs. For almost 10 years we enjoyed this property and many very special memories were made, leaving us grateful to the landowner for that opportunity.

This spring the news was disappointing when we learned we could no longer use that property as it was going to be turned into a hay field. Friends understood our disappointment and began to look around on our behalf for a new space.  Before too long new 'grounds' were obtained with another generous landowner. The only downfall was that the new land is 40 minutes away. We were spoiled with the other location being so close but everything worked out.  A good time was had by all from spring through to the fall. We were happy to hear how,  as a result of training efforts, a lot of the dogs did well in field events and hunt tests before Maine's bird hunting season began on October 1.

Bird Hunting - Canine family Affair

I make no excuses about not being a morning person and I'm not the early bird that catches the worm! Most of the actual bird hunting is left in John's capable hands and that of our friends.  I did enjoy one morning of hunting with our daughter.  Additionally, John and I headed to the Moosehead Lake Region in Maine for a few days with our entire ATB crew.  Ol' Ruff was rarely sighted! But the dogs loved the total freedom and the chance to spend one on one time with just the two of us. As did I. With the majority of our beloved Brittanys approaching 14, 12, 11, and 10 these moments in time are precious.  The younger dogs were actually taken out to hunt.  The seniors were happy to simply 'be'.

Speaking of lessons and things we learn from our Brittanys. Perhaps one of the greatest lessons we can learn from our senior dogs is the importance of living in the moment. We can experience this with dogs of any age but far to often we may be caught up with an urgency to
Wilderness paradise at Moosehead for ATB.
teach, train, or prepare them for something in particular. By the time the senior dog reaches their golden years the owners sense of urgency arises from the realization that the days of canine companionship are numbered. What may seemingly appear to be insignificant becomes a powerful demonstration of mutual act of love shared with and from them.  Or as we like to say around here "all for the love of the dog, both given and received."

As always thank you for your interest in All Things Brittany.  Take care and God bless.  John, Ann and our beloved canine crew

PS I am looking for ATB family hunting photos for 2016 - you know where to send them! Thanks.

Originally Published October 25, 2016

Monday, September 4, 2017

New Champion Announcement!!

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We are very pleased to announce that on Friday September 1st 2017 at the Union Maine dog shows Julie Harris proudly finished Quincy! Pending official AKC certification:
 CH J&A'S HEART OF SEUMAS JH
(2016 photo)
Quincy is the sweet and handsome son of Bullet (CH J&A's High Caliber Harris Special SH) and Thistle (GCH CH Sisters of the Heart JH). He is the 6th conformation (show) champion from the J&A's selective, purpose driven breeding program of close working Brittany gun dogs. Co-bred by Julie Harris and Ann Short, co-owned by John Short and Julie, Quincy is 3 years old and also our third generation show champion of Brittany bird dogs.

Finishing from the Bred By Exhibitor class Quincy also won his third and fourth Best Of Breed this weekend handled exclusively by Julie. All of Quincy points were won at outdoor shows. His two required majors, 5 point and 4 point respectively, were earned at outside Brittany Specialty shows. One of which included over 80 entries. Quincy does things on Quincy time and hasn't made it easy for Julie! He made getting his major wins look easy compared to winning just one remaining single point.

Several weeks of being in the field on a daily basis with John has resulted in the well conditioned, muscular physique necessary for a Brittany to do the job it was bred to do. Quincy will be ready to handle the demands of fall bird hunting for sure. And it showed in the ring for sure! Additionally he will eventually test for an AKC Senior Hunter title.

(Quincy is also the grandson of our beloved Jack Dog who recently passed at the age of 12. Much needs to be said about Jack yet I have not yet been able to write about him or Molly for that matter. We are still grieving deeply.)

We have additional updates to share, especially about Alana and Toph. But alas, I no longer have a laptop because the motherboard fried on my Dell Inspiron. Looks like awhile before getting another and blogging via mobile device is challenging the eyesight. I miss writing so much that I can hardly stand it!!! But I'll be back as there is always something to share.

As always we thank you for your interest in All things Brittany take care and God bless you always John, Ann and our canine crew

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Field Training Pups - The Best of ATB

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Best of All Things Brittany (from the ARCHIVES)

The majority of pups out of any given litter will become a family hunting companion.  We make sure every single Brittany pup that leaves here at 8 - 12 weeks of age has, at the very minimum, been introduced to scent from a frozen gamebird wing. Friends often will save and freeze the wings from gamebirds they have shot to give to us for this very purpose.  As soon as our pups are up on their feet and stable they are allowed to play with, chew on, maul, and carry the wings in their mouths.  It's so fun and you really get a good idea early on who has the strongest prey drive and potential retrieving skills! Then, depending upon the time of year a litter is born, the are also taken down to the nearby training grounds.  John loads them up in the dog topper for their great adventure, we drive to the field, plant some birds and let the pups have some fun! (We have our own homing pigeons who are happy to return back home safely once they have been 'flushed.' ) 

We always offer to help with any pup which we have bred. Because we are both retired we have the time to give 110% into preparing for an upcoming bird hunting season.  John and I are firm believers in getting pups on birds as young as possible.  We also feel strongly that the first year of a Brittany pup's life should be full of fun and enjoyment.  There is plenty of time for instilling discipline, perfect manners, and obedience. But to John and me, the best foundation laid is when a puppy associates birds with fun, when a desire and prey drive are nurtured instead if quenched. We've both seen the results of placing too high an expectation and too much pressure on young dogs that are just not ready for it. It's very sad really.  The pup may 'perform' but the performance is lacking joy, spirit and zeal. But, of course every trainer has their own philosophy. Ours is similar to that of Mike Gaddis who says "The desire in an exceptional pup is like a rare young wine, kegged from a proven vineyard. Nurture it slowly to perfection and it will pleasure the years. Tap it prematurely, and you will squander it’s bouquet in infancy”. 

The first few summers after John retired he enjoyed hanging out a lot with his friend Bob Paucek who has been training bird dogs since the age of 18.  There's been many articles written about him, Bob is also featured in a book authored by Jerome Robinson and titled "Hunt  Close!" It's a great read and covers techniques used long before the use of remote tracking, training, and e-collars became so widespread.  He's been been interviewed many times for various publications, videos and programs.  Bob bred, handled, campaigned and finished some of the best Pointers and Setters in New England in years past. He was American Field's 2013 Legend of the Game. Bob had also trained Brittanys for us in the past before John retired and before we had found grounds nearby our home to do the same. John always enjoyed helping Bob out anytime he could at the Paucek Kennels in Buxton, Maine plus there were always other friends there and they simply had a good time with all the dogs. 
(Personal observation: Besides, as any newly retired couple knows, finding yourselves face to face with each other 24/7 does require some getting use to (she said with a straight face)! Seriously though, I've enjoyed how this has all come together and I do hope it continues to develop and grow, especially now with our daughters involvement too. She is becoming a great dog handler in her own right with Toph and Zuko! )
These days we do have nearby grounds to run dogs on thanks to the generosity of a local land owner.  For several years now John has mowed and groomed the field to suit his needs for planting birds and running the dogs. In addition to the fields there's also acres of woodland.  There are sometimes a few grouse or resident woodcock but we have a couple of johnny houses set up for bobwhite quail and chukar partridge being licensed in all that we do. Friends may join John throughout the week and especially on weekends. Recognizing the amount of work involved usually everyone pitches in and helps in one way or another. There are other times when folks from away will make a trip up so John can spend a little time offering them tips and advice. We will not run the dogs when it's too hot or during a downpour.

We appreciate those in our ATB family who recognize they may not have the time, resources and/or the experience to get their Brittany ready for an upcoming hunting season regardless of age.  Such is the reason we have Bella and Brook with us.  The door is always open to work with Brittanys we've bred, to welcome them back to our home and to their canine relatives.  The methods that John has developed over the years are specific to the Brittany.  He knows how to read them and it is uncanny how quickly they will respond to him.  A lot of folks have said he is a dog whisperer.  Although he's also known to bellow at times, I will totally agree that he has a remarkable way with the dogs. John is not harsh or heavy handed and always is careful to set a dog up to succeed and not to fail.   Even when they must be corrected for something they know better not to do, John will always end the time together on a positive note including lots of praise for whatever dog he's working with  His greatest fault? Being way too humble and generous with his time but that is just part of who he is, and that's not a bad thing at all.

Hope you enjoyed the video. And if you did or if you enjoy posts about training etc., why don't you leave a comment? Thanks!  As always take care and God bless. Thank you for your interest in All Things Brittany.  John, Ann, and our canine crew

Originally Published August 26, 2015

Sunday, May 7, 2017

WILSON - AKC MASTER HUNTER!

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We are so proud to share the news that today, "WILSON" became the first Brittany from our breeding program to earn the coveted title of:

AKC MASTER HUNTER
 CH J&A's Quiet Courage MH, NA 107, Prize 1
Sire: CH J&A's High Caliber Harris Special SH (BULLET)
Dam: J&A's Dreams Come True of Acton JH (TREASURE)
Loved and owned by Pete Sipperly & Kira Lajeunesse


Wilson with Dave, and Master judges
L. Ruffini and M. Moser
Let me tell you all about this incredible dog!  "Wilson" is a handsome, stylish, highly intelligent, incredibly gifted Brittany with strong natural instincts and with an extremely personable temperament.  He is loved and owned by two awesome people who have become very dear friends to us ever since they took him home several years ago.  Pete and Kira recognized Wilson's potential at a very young age. Faithfully and consistently from his youngest months they set Wilson up to succeed.  They believed in him. Within 15 months the stunning Wilson finished his AKC Bench Championship with 3 majors with many wins at Brittany Specialties.  As a pup he earned his first hunting title with a near perfect NA Prize 1 score.  Handled by Kira, he quickly went on to earn his AKC Junior Hunter title, finishing on the same day that his father was testing at the Senior level, handled by his owner Julie! (see inset) Bullet was 'our' very first AKC Senior Hunter. Wilson also came home with an AKC Award of Merit ribbon during the 2015 American Brittany Club Show Specialty show in Maine!

Julie w/Bullet & Kira w/Wilson his son -  2013


WILSON -  AKC SENIOR HUNTER
2015 
Our third generation of close working gundogs, the breeding behind Wilson indicated potential for strong natural hunting ability. He demonstrated the reality of that at an early age. Pete & Kira never took anything for granted and made a commitment to consistent training for this sweet and special boy. It's not easy for anyone to maintain a focus and continually strive for excellence no matter the sacrifice. But from the start, the focus was much more than  'getting the dog on a few birds' in hopes of a successful field event or hunting season. It just doesn't work that way. A hunting dog needs to remain active, stay in shape, and never be taken for granted. Sometimes, even a JH title can seem daunting and doubtful without preparation or an actual hunting background.  Once obtained, the progression from Junior to Senior is like comparing pre-K to a post-secondary curriculum. More so for Master!

Impressively successful, Wilson went on to earn his AKC Senior Hunting title in 2015 handled by Kira and also Dave Molyneux who finished him (pictured). It was said that Wilson's "performance was what one would expect out of a Master Hunter!" (John and I had the honor of watching him test in NY along with two of his daughters Bella and Brooke, and also his father Bullet.) The focused commitment to training continued and another goal was set for Wilson.  Rain or shine, warmth or chill at every opportunity Wilson was in the field either informally or within a structured NAVHDA or AKC training clinic. Pete and Kira continued to appreciate and support the progression of their beloved Brittany and always sharing their journey with John and I.  In the experienced hands of Dave Molyneaux Wilson's training was kicked up a notch. This was not only in preparation of the coveted AKC Master Hunter title, but also in hopes of training for a future NAVHDA UT test.

Dave & Wilson 4th leg
Wilson is a much loved Brittany by all of us. Julie, who co-owns Bullet with John, is just as proud and happy of this special boy.  There's a lot of emotion and sentiment and symbolism here of course. I consider that Jack, who is Bullet's grandsire, was our first junior hunter. Jack's son Bullet, J&A's first show champion and the first senior hunter. And now, Wilson - the first AKC MASTER HUNTER from our program as well as also a bench champion!  His mother Treasure's AKC name includes the phrase "DREAMS COME TRUE".  Indeed they do. (Wilson's half brother "True" was our second AKC Senior Hunter, also a Treasure son!) 


Progression of Ribbons

As always, every good 'gift' is from above.  Thank you, Lord for these blessings.
Not to us, but for Your glory.


Monday, May 1, 2017

Thinking of Timber - The Best of ATB

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Best of All Things Brittany (from the ARCHIVES)


J & A's Timberdoodle of Acton
January 1, 2005 - May 2, 2007
Sire: AFC/FC Coos Rylee
Dam: Ruby Mountain of Coos

Some things are not fair.  Being a 2 year old Brittany struck down with a rare form of cancer that takes your vibrant fun loving life away from you is one of them.  Spending almost 5 months down south doing nothing but work birds all winter long, to return home only to die within a matter of weeks is not fair.  Being a fully finished gundog and ready to be seriously campaigned on the spring field trial circuit only have a heart attack on the operating table once the dreaded cancer had been discovered - only too late for the spine and all the tissue surrounding it was destroyed.  To go from soaring on the wind, running for all you are worth to greet the one who loved you most - jumping up into her arms, knocking her over, and giving dog kisses because you were so happy to see her... to just a couple of weeks later, barely being able to hobble over to her - although that's just what you wanted to do...

So many times after losing Timber I thought of 'me' how sad I was how unfair it was that such a great Brittany was taken from me.  But as I reflect tonight, I am sad for him again.  Timber would be 5 and a half now if he were still here.  But he's not and all that is left is the memory.  May 2 makes the 3rd anniversary of his passing. And I think of him every day even though we have other Brittanys in our life... most significantly his son Scooby.

There's a song that makes me think of Timberdoodle; it's "Fields of Gold".  For me that says it all and every time I hear it, no matter where I am I cry.  And I've seen John shed tears too.  Timber was the first Brittany I ever trained myself on birds.  I learned about whoa posts, check cords, planted birds, Bill Tarrant and Delmar Smith, Chukar, Hungarians, launchers, backing, and all the technical terms and tools we take for granted in training a bird dog.  I saw what it was like for a Brittany to get turned onto birds, I was there to see my Timber transition from a playful puppy into a serious hunter - within just a few minutes.  That moment gave me chills and I'll never forget it.  We had some kind of Brittany in Timberdoodle.

So as I have relived the timeframe of March 25th marking the date he came home from training - and approach May 2 - the day he died... I have kept the memories just below the surface.  But here we are.  And the date is only days away.  I'll be busy.  John will too.  But the day will not pass unnoticed. 

Timbers cremains were scattered here and there and at Timbers' fields of gold just down the road the night before his pups went to leave to go to their new homes.  The pups romped, the wind blew, and we scattered his ashes.  It was not for Timber to be locked up tight, kept in a jar or a keepsake box on a shelf. 

One of the funniest memories I have of Timber I love to recall.  We were down in the fields and I was walking along the road, knowing he was off to the edge where he loved to run.  He was a fast running far reaching Brittany and I never ever tried to take that out of him.  He was too young and had such a zest for life.  The grass in the field was high, so I was never exactly sure where he was and every once in awhile I'd sing for him so he'd know where I was or I'd blow a couple of times on my whistle for him to come around.  It was just such a beautiful place to work with a dog and truthfully I have only been able to go there a very few times since he died.  It was a field of gold.  Well this one day I was walking up in the higher field and happened to look down and saw a whole flock of turkeys take flight suddenly.  I hadn't even know there were any turkeys there.  They were not flying very high at all and it reminded me of seeing ducks do something similar just above the water while I was canoing at Moosehead Lake years ago.  It just was odd. But suddenly there is Timberdoodle, leaping with his ears flapping in the wind, up and down, up and down oh my gosh it was so funny!!!  He was in hot pursuit of those turkeys and it was like he was trying to jump right up into the sky and catch one but of course he couldn't.  Of course this was not what I wanted in a gundog but I just was laughing so hard as the scene unfolded.... Eventually he figured out that I was laughing at him and he turned away from the game and bounced across the field over to where I was and we sat back in that grass together and shared a bottle of water together.  The worst thing I could have done was let him chase those turkeys but the experience didn't hurt him any.  And it sure left me with a wonderful memory to share this night as I think long and hard about the doodley boy. 

Sometimes I just feel like I've let Timber down.  I had such good intentions to work with Scooby at the same pace that I did with his father. He has the same potential and ability.  I see how well Timbers father continues to do nationally, he's at the top for shooting dogs, is an American Field Champion (AFC) always placing in the top.  And we've used Rylee in our program here and probably will again.  Scooby has all of that in his genes.  And it's up to me to help bring it out. Scoob doesn't hold it against me though, he's quite a happy boy and he knows how deeply I love him and what he means to me. 

Timberdoodle, I miss you tonight.  I really really do.  As the 3rd anniversary of your passing approaches, I will think on the happy times we had together.  In hindsight, I'm thankful you got to spend your last 5 months of your life running in fields, training daily on live birds.  But there was not a night that did not go by that I didn't miss you here while you were down south.  And there is not a day that goes by that I don't miss you now since you left to go to the rainbow bridge. I love you my friend, and I do believe there will be a day we'll be together once more Timber....  I am positive. As I leave for a new adventure with ATB, there is a liver and white Brittany figurine that hangs in the motor home... it has angels on it.  Someone gave that to me shortly after Timber died... thanks for listening, didn't meant to be sad but I know some of you have lost your friends too in the past and totally understand.  Take care and God Bless... John, Ann, and All Things Brittany

Originally Published April 27, 2010