I've held off writing about some behind-the-scenes drama happening with one of my dogs this summer since I did not know how things would turn out. It was touch and go there for a while. But I can now say that I have a happy ending to write about. So here it is, the story of our Amazing Maisey.
4 months ago, I sent a female longhaired Weimaraner named Maisey to Germany to train for the VGP test. My nephew personally delivered her to a breeder, trainer and full time super-hero named Tanja Breu Knaup
whose vom Fenriswolf kennel
has produced of the most celebrated LH lines in Germany.
At first, everything went very well. Maisey is a heck of a good dog and even though the only field training she had received until then was from me - a mediocre trainer on a good day - Tanja would soon see that Maisey had what it takes to pass the toughest test of all, the Master Hunting Test known as the VGP.
Then, about 6 weeks into training, disaster struck. While running at full speed in the woods, Maisey injured her eye. A thorn pierced the cornea. After an emergency examination, the vet gave us the bad news. Maisey could end up losing the eye.
At that point, we figured there was no way she would ever run the VGP, let alone pass it. All efforts had to go into just saving the eye. So for about a month Tanja focused on nursing an injured dog back to health. And it was not just a matter of letting the eye heal itself. At first, special drops had to be administered every 2 hours 'round the clock! And by the end of the first week, the eye looked really, really bad.
But slowly, almost imperceptibly at first, the eye began to show signs of recovery. After about a month, a specialist examined it and told us that it was indeed healing nicely and would probably not need to be removed. With a huge sigh of relief, I though, "OK, she may not run the VGP, but at least she will have two good eyes".
Then Tanja said that it was time to get back to training!
I was stunned. I thought there was no way in heck for a dog who has not even run the VJP or HZP or any NAVHDA test in her life to be trained in such a short period of time for the toughest test of all, the VGP. But knowing Tanja and the fierce determination that has made her one of the top Weim breeders in the world, I along with Maisey's co-owner (and world's best veterinarian) Colleen Skavinsky figured, what the heck, we've come this far, why not double down?
So Tanja and Maisey headed back to the field, forest and water for what must have been the world's shortest and most intense VGP training program ever.
This weekend they ran the test. I got the results by email about an hour ago. Not only did Maisey run the test, not only did she pass the test, she scored 300 points for a prize 1!!
She also earned a rating of "excellent" for coat and conformation and passed her character/protection test to boot!
I am in awe of that dog and of her super-hero trainer. Just last month I was bursting with pride and admiration for another super-duo of trainer and dog. My soul-sister Judy Balog
ran my dog Henri to a prize 1 in his NAVHDA Utility Test. And today is another great day thanks to another wonderful dog and trainer.
Thank you Tanja and Maisey,
Thank you Judy and Henri,
And to anyone out there who thinks that Weims can't get it done or that women can't breed and train great gundogs, I say watch out, here comes a couple of great grey dogs and their female handlers/trainer/breeders to kick your skinny ass!!