Power Forward, our 3 year old multiple winner, died November 7, 2020. “Abby” was a favorite of our kennel who earned her place in our string with her strong bird dog instincts which were harnessed to make her a formidable competitor by Thor Kain.
Abby came into this world by accident. In 50 years of bird dogs Bob and DIck never had an unplanned litter until the late summer of 2017. Straight Forward, who we never could get mated naturally had earlier in the year given birth to a frozen semen litter sired by Pennstar. That summer “Cracker” was on vacation at Bob’s where she enjoyed running in the dog pasture she shared with 3x Ch. Blast Zone. Since she had an erratic menstrual pattern and refused to stand still for a natural mating throughout her life, we never gave any thought to her mating naturally and unplanned with “Strike”. We were roading her and the other competition dogs regularly thoughout the summer. Late one Sunday evening after returning from roading, “Cracker” looked a little heavy around her flanks. Upon closer inspection, her teats seemed swollen and even a bit of milk could be extracted! A quick trip to the Emergency Vet confirmed that she was pregnant and was carrying two pups. Bob went directly from the Emergency Vet to the whelper helper we have used for several years and two days later the two pups were on the ground. That’s how “Abby” got her start.
Both of “Abby’s” parents had won the prestigious Purina Cover Dog-of-the-Year Award. We had high hopes for the pups and “Abby” did not let us down. What we liked best about her was her ability to find birds and get them pointed. In sight or out of sight, she then would stand on point until you found her and flushed. She was like this at less than a year of age. This trait made finishing her training and getting her to be steady-to-wing-and shot a relatively easy job for Thor Kain.
While “Abby” had wins as a puppy, derby and shooting dog with her last placement just weeks before her death (attributed to a sepsis infection of her uterus), we remember the win that got away from her. At the Pennsylvania Grouse Championship “Abby” was braced with her kennelmate, Deciding Point. Deciding Point was handled by Dave Hughes and Thor Kain had “Abby”. Grouse finds were scarce, as usual. Both dogs gave a championship effort on the ground. At 35, “Abby” pointed and “Bek” (Deciding Point) backed. A postcard picture with both intense and stylish. Bob has this photo in his living room. Thor flushed for “Abby” and way out front a grouse lifted low getting away unseen by the judiciary. This happens in wild bird trials.
There are lots of heartaches and heartbreaks in bird dogs. “Abby’s” early death is certain one of these heartbreaking events that we have learned to absorb, deal with, and then move on to work and love other good bird dogs we are fortunate to won.
Super Storm Liz finished the fall 2020 campaign the way she started by earning 1st in the Amateur Derby at the USCSDA Northeast Region event held November 1, 2020. The Flaherty Field Trial Association grounds, in East Windsor, CT, are an historic venue where bird dogs need to reach for objectives if they are going to be efficient in their hunting. Liz did just that right from the start. Her first find was 175 yards to the front. The succeeding finds were also well ahead and in each instance Liz stood until her handler, Thor Kain, arrived and dispatched the birds. At the flush Liz stayed high and tight and displayed shooting dog manners in each find.
This is Liz’s fifth 1st place derby win this fall. We don’t recall owning a dog who recorded five 1st place wins in one season.
Super Storm, Ch. Pennstar ex Ch. Straight Forward, won his 4th shooting dog placement of the fall season by earning second in the Amateur Shooting Dog stake at the Mountain View Bird Dog Club trial, October 10, 2020. “Fed”, running in the heat of the day, powered his way through the rather heavy cover of the Murphy Farm in a forward searching effort. Plenty of goldenrod and weedy cover is found in some of the fields. Other fields feature switchgrass, corn and other grain feed plots/strips. To hold wild pheasants and covies of prereleased quail, it takes cover and feed. The Murphy Farm is managed successfully in this regard. A dog needs to be one that attacks the cover to win here. You have to get into the hedgerows and woods edges in search of game. “Fed” did just that and located quail twice. On both finds “Fed” showed his first class style and intensity on point. He’s got a perfectly straight, short tail when posed on point. His intensity holds throughout the flush and shot. His first find was on the woods edge at the half way mark with bracemate backing and then across the dirt road he registered his last find in the closing minutes of the 30-minute stake. He finished ahead deep in a island of cover.
Super Storm Liz, with Thor Kain at the controls, added to her more than impressive list of wins this fall as she outpaced the field to win the Amateur Derby at the Mountain View Bird Dog Club, October 10, 2020. The Mountain View venue is the grounds of the Murphy Farm near Lake Ariel, PA. Developed specifically for bird dog training and trialing by now-deceased Dave Murphy, a pharmacist by training, the grounds feature fields and woods edges lined by hedgerows with rock walls, fields of switchgrass, corn and small grains. A pond is found on the back half of the course. On this day, “Liz” did her thing by moving with speed and style over the ground. Especially light on her feet, yet strongly built, “Liz” charged ahead examining the fencerows thoroughly. “Flashy” describes the impression “Liz” makes in action. She put two finds in the books this day, both handled with steady-to-wing and shot manners to earn her top placement.
Super Storm Cliff, our 2020 pup sired by Blast Zone, won the Amateur Puppy stake at the inaugural Moutain View Bird Dog Club event. Held on October 10, 2020 at the Murphy Farm, the 10 dog stake featured several competitors who’ve recorded wins this fall. “Cliff”, handled by Bob Watts, showed his continued development as he hunted with serious application from start to finish. There’s plenty of thick, heavy cover to challenge and any dog, much less a pup. “Cliff” ran the edges and then ducked into the fencerows and woods edges when there was a chance. Forward throughout, he handled easily and at the halfway mark he feathered into point just inside the woods. He stood tall and with his arresting 12 o’clock tail, he was a picture. As handler went to him a woodcock got up with the gallery calling the flush. This was the second trial in a row where “Cliff” found game that was not released for the trial-a rarity. This encounter with game created more enthusiasm and “Cliff” finished strong, going away.
Power Forward got her fall campaign off and running with a fine effort at the Northern Bucks FTC event held October 3, 2020 at Clear Springs, MD. “Abby” had been on injured reserve status with a deep juncture wound in her paw. She’s recovered after weeks of not being able to train or trial. At Northern Bucks, “Abby” racked up 3 quail finds to go along with a sharp stop-to-flush on a covey and 2 backs of her bracemate. The 20-dog stake was loaded with quality contenders and “Abby’s” 3rd place win was well earned. It’s good to have her back in action as she’s been running hard and fast and showing a lot of desire since returning from her injury.
Super Storm Liz continued her remarkable string of first place derby wins at the Northern Bucks FTC, held at Clear Springs, MD, October 3, 2020. The Amateur Derby was not a big stake but “Liz” put on a show that those who saw it will long remember. She hunted the 30 minute course with drive and a clear desire to find game. She was found standing, sometimes hundreds of yards ahead, in fencerows with quail accurately located. Four times Thor declared that he could no longer hear “Liz’s” bell and that she must be on point. Four times his or scouts search was rewarded finding her buried in cover. On each occasion “Liz” demonstrated shooting dog manners as birds were produced. She finished going away. Some who had ridden all the stakes, including the horseback open stakes the previous day, remarked that hers was the finest performance they’d witnessed in the entire trial.
No Limit, Thor’s setter female, got herself rolling in the Amateur Shooting Dog stake at the Sandy Valley FTC Amateur Shooting Dog stake, Falls, PA, September 26, 2020 placing 3rd. “Zoey” had herself a hayday over the well-maintained grounds at DeCoverly Kennels. Flying from one objective to another the classy girl found birds on five occasions. Her 3 stand tall finds were mixed in with a stop to flush on a running pheasant and a stop-on-the-dime stf on a large quail covey that got up on their own as “Zoey” screeched to a halt. Speedy, flashy and hard driving “Zoey” kept Thor busy fully engaged up with her and going to her birdwork. From here “Zoey’ headed home to her other and most favorite job as babysitter for Thor’s 1 year old son, Jackson.
Super Storm, Thor and Bob’s male setter, continued his Fall ’20 win streak at the Sandy Valley Field Trial Club Shooting Dog stake, September 26, 2020. The event was held on a cloudy, drizzly day at the headquarters of DeCoverly Kennels, Falls, PA. Thor handled “Fed” who fired over the course, driving hard from one objective to another. At 12 “Fed’s” bell stopped on a fencerow 75 yards ahead. As Thor went to him his bell started up briefly and then stopped. A running covey was now pinned in the fencerow–a masterful job. On across the open fields and through the woods section of the course, “Fed” could be seen ahead, flashing the running style he’s become known for. Another sharp find on the back course was followed by a ‘going away’ finish which propelled him to 2nd place in the 20 dog stake. It’s “Fed’s” third win this fall.
Super Storm Cliff , Bob and Thor’s young son of Blast Zone ex Gold Rush, scored 2nd at the Sandy Valley FTC Amateur Puppy, September 26, 2020. “Cliff”, handled by Bob, found the grounds at the famed DeCoverly Kennels, Falls, PA to his liking. Open fields, switchgrass rows and thick, woody fencerows are identifying features of this northeastern Pennsylvania bird dog training and hunting facility. “Cliff” capped his solid hunting effort with a find at time where he stopped 100+ yards ahead in a bottom. “Cliff’s” bell had gone dead just moments before time was called. He was found standing tall and intense and credited with a find on a chukar that survived from previous hunts.