I’ll welcome the Pacific Northwest Chapter of NAVHDA into my backyard this weekend — whether I like it or not. They’ll start to roll in Wednesday evening, begin testing Friday morning, and some won’t roll out again until Monday.
“Um … Yippee.”
Local regional North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association chapters — along with AKC, the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Club and others — have been holding hunting dog tests in my backyard since 1990 (the year my parents bought the property, that’s their house up on the hill).
I’ve only felt the pain of their semi-frequent invasions in my backyard since around 1994, when I moved into the farmhouse from the Enumclaw area and transferred my kids to Mossyrock schools.
I was in my teens (mid-1970s) when my dad started the Cascade chapter of NAVHDA. I’ve owned and helped train dogs for NAVHDA tests with both my dad and ex-husband. Dad has raised and hunted over German Wirehaired Pointers for almost 40 years. He still has a beastly pair of boar-hunting-sized German import girls, Heidi and Hank.
My eX and I had German Longhaired Pointers, beginning with Caesar, a German import and one of the best dogs I have ever known — though, admittedly, that list is rather long, but I’ve known some damn good dogs!
But, in spite of the fact that I have been in and around NAVHDA for 35 years, and believe in and support their objectives, I just plain ol’ get irritated at their three to five day intrusion into my peace and quiet.
Hey, but at least I’ll have a second bathroom (aka Porta Potty) installed for the week … so, there IS a bright side. Oh, and they eat well while they’re here (including Dutch oven peach cobbler), so I eat well too.
And there is another bright side, I’ll meet some great people.
Calgary Bob (so named because he’s from Calgary, Alberta, Canada) rolled in yesterday with Pudelpointer Jenny. They’re a few days early, but when you travel that far to take an important test, it’s best to get here early and take time to acclimate yourself and your dog to the area.
There are four kinds of tests in NAVHDA:
- The Natural Ability Test which is designed to evaluate the inherent natural abilities of young dogs and gain insight into their possible usefulness as versatile gun dogs. It rates seven important inherited abilities: nose, search, tracking, pointing, water, desire and cooperation. Dogs must be under 16 mos. of age.
- The Utility Preparatory Test measures the dogs’ development midway through their training toward the Utility Test.
- The Utility Test evaluates trained dogs in water and field, before and after the shot, as finished versatile hunting companions as well as many other specific tasks.
- The Invitational Test (their highest level of testing), “for dogs who have achieved a Prize I in Utility are eligible. This limits the entry to exceptional animals who have demonstrated a high level of training and tests their skills in the advanced work.”
Pudelpointer Jenny will run in the Utility test.
“I’ll be rooting for ya, Jenny.”
As I met Pudelpointer Jenny she was carrying the Chukar you see in her photo. I knelt down to take her picture, and she walked right up and reached her nose out to mine in greeting — Chukar and all. What a delightful gal.
While I chatted with Calgary Bob this morning, Pigeon Bob flew a wobbly flight path (he is, after all, a Tumbler Pigeon) around and around us.
I was very glad that Calgary Bob had as congenial a temperament as as Pudelpointer Jenny. Calgary Bob didn’t seem to mind Pigeon Bob’s antics at all. In fact, he expressed a hope that Pigeon Bob would find some friends to come live with him.
Buddy the WonderDog would like that very much … then he would have a better chance at getting a good breakfast out of the bunch.
Kimberly Mason is a freelance writer and photojournalist and the founder of The (Almost) Daily News website. She loves her peace and quiet, and can be selfish about sharing her big backyard — but she does it anyway. You can find her on Facebook, call her with questions or outdoors news tips at 360-269-5017, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.