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.