Thought I would start a topic following my journey as a gun dog owner.
My father was a big hunter but as things happen myself and my sister was born, his buddies got married and moved away so he stopped hunting but kept his guns. I was born and raised in HRM and was never exposed to hunting due the fact dad gave it up. As a child I was exposed by my parents to the outdoors, science, the environment and especially fishing. Following that early exposure/interest into adulthood I graduated from Dalhousie with a B.Sc. of Environmental Science. I was able to find a job in my field but was moved to the southern end of the province. Mom was after my father to get rid of his guns since they weren't being used and she felt there was no need for them. I saw this as an opportunity as now that I lived in a rural area there wasn't much else to do and mom was looking to get rid of the guns. Through conversation/argument as only a father (giving up his prized possessions) and son can have (with mothers’ intervention of course) the guns finally made the 2 hour trek to my new residence.
The guns arriving couldn't have come at a better time. My wife was diagnosed with cancer in her mid-20's (surgery cleared it for now & hopefully forever). Having been diagnosed so young led us to look at our lifestyle and changes we could make. One of the potential sources was cleaning up our diet so naturally living in a rural area and following my interest we looked into wild game as a healthier meat source. Less GMO's, less chemicals, antibiotics, hormones etc.
The hunting aspect also allowed me to bond and gain new friends in rural NS especially moving here as an outsider from the city. The first year I struggled to bring home the meat so to speak as I was learning. My now best friend was very patient and helpful and introduced me to his GSP and the whole idea of upland bird hunting and hunting over a dog. That poor GSP was frustrated by the end of the season as she worked hard to put us on birds and I couldn’t hit a damn thing. That same friend also introduced me to goose hunting (what a horrible addiction that is).
At the end of that first season my wife and I discussed getting a gun dog then. I absolutley enjoyed working with the dog and was amazed at its abilities. We were both animal lovers we had (and still have 1 pit/lab mix and 2 cats all of which were rescued). We discussed it at length and decided that it probably wasn't the best time as we were trying to have kids, already had the fur family and was dealing with the wifes recovery. I decided to do some research as to what breed of dog I wanted so when the time came I would be ready. My wife’s only requirement was it had to be a bit scruffy; as she always wanted a scruffy looking dog.
Fast forward four years (I was finally able to bag a deer on the 3rd year and this year the 4th year of hunting). My wife and I after 4 years of marriage and 4 years of trying to have children were told we were not going to be able to have children of our own. There was the possibility of IVF but that was prohibitively expensive and could lead to some hard choices, and continuing with our current course of action of pumping her (my wife) full of hormones to try and increase her fertility wasnt an option. The hormones that could have caused the cancer in the first place, so we decided to stop all treatments and start the adoption process (it is not the genetics that make the family it is the love, affection, and attention given by each member of the family). The adoption process would take a minimum of 1.5 years before we would be receiving a child into our home.
This fall was when we received the news and began looking into the adoption process. At this point the hunting dog wasn't even a thought; it was tucked away in our brains for the "right" time. This fall my best bud introduced me to a family friend of his. This friend had a 2 year old Deutsch - Drahthaar. Coincidence as this was the breed of dog that my wife and I had chosen as the “right dog for the right time". I wanted this breed of dog because it retrieves ducks and geese just as well as a lab and points just as well as a setter, and I wanted a versatile dog that could do both to maximise my time a field. I went home and told the wife that I got to hunt over my dream dog and it was amazing. That first day we downed some geese and he retrieved them perfectly; one of the shot birds flew 5o yards or so into a neighbouring grass field and we had trouble locating it but the dog was searching and pointed on it. That day confirmed my desire for this breed as I got to see both sides of it in action.
So on a lark, not really thinking anything of it I decided I would look on the breed website for Canada and what did I find.....the breed warden for Canada who was located in Kingston, NS had a litter that was going to be whelped that weekend. Against my better judgment (the idea of getting another dog was slowly moving to the forefront of our brains but was still lurking in the shadows) I made contact with George just to inquire about the pups. At the time all the pups were spoken for....that sealed it no new dog. I left it at that, but not even a day or so later I received an e-mail from George stating that there were 11 pups born and he had 8 committed buyers so there were 3 available if I was interested.
It was if the universe had spoken, my wife and I couldn't expand our human family for another 1.5 years at least; I randomly was able to hunt over my breed of choice which got me thinking about a dog again. I looked at the website and it happened that the Breed Warden for Canada located 1.5 hours from my house was having a litter. The pups were spoken for but miraculously she had extra. It was if the universe was telling my wife and I that now was the time to get the dog before we had tiny humans to look after.
My wife and I went to see the 2 day old pups and the moment we walked through the door I knew one was coming home.
Throughout the last couple of months the wife and I have gone to visit the litter and I have had my eye on a particular male. The last visit I expressed my desire for him and George the breeder told me not to do that to myself as I had the 2nd last pick of the males and he may be gone by the time I got to pick. On Sunday we went to pick-out our pup and low and behold guess who was still unclaimed. So again the universe was in our corner. We committed to our guy and he comes home on Monday Dec 14th 2015. The next couple of days are going to be the longest wait of my life.
So here is my first gun dog ever:
Quake Vom Dan-Son