As a follow up to my last post, I wanted to give you an update on my search for a puppy. I decided early on that I wanted to get another Epagneul Breton (French Brittany), which was Sunny Girl’s breed. In short, I want a dog that hunts like a demon in the field and acts like an angel at home.
Starting off, my quest felt like finding the proverbial needle in a hay stack. I really had no idea where to look or whether I could afford a pup from this breed. Notwithstanding my doubts, I began the search.
I know that social networking sites such as Facebook and Instagram can be a waste of time, but I have met some great people through these sites with whom I have shared some outdoor adventures. So there have been a lot of positives too.
On Instagram, I follow @losthighwaygundogs, which is run by Charles G. Guyer (“Grayson”). Grayson trains hunting dogs in North Carolina and posts some great photos. On March 21st, he posted a picture of a really good looking tri-color French Brittany.
On a whim, I commented, “I’m looking for a French Brittany pup right now.” Grayson responded, “If I’m not mistaken you’re in Idaho. Lynda Kieres of TopperLyn Kennels in the Missoula area has some of the very best in the U.S. My ‘once in a lifetime’ bird dog is from there. I’m pretty sure she has a pup or two right now. Tell her Grayson sent you.”
In the meantime, a great friend of mine, Troy Justensen, offered that if I could find a good female pup, he would pay half if he could breed her with his French Brittany male. This was an offer I could not refuse and made obtaining an excellent puppy possible.
I followed Grayson’s suggestion and immediately looked into TopperLyn Kennels and everything that I read was positive. I found out that the kennel was expecting a litter on April 15th, which timing was workable.
I liked the looks of the parents and was intrigued by the possibility of a tricolor pup from the litter. I contacted Lynda by email and by phone to see if any pups were available and she said that they were not all spoken for. I asked about her dogs’ temperament and Lynda responded:
As for temperaments – that’s one area I pride myself on – producing excellent temperaments. These puppies should be no exception. Fanny’s last litter had an 11 month old pup limiting out on Huns 3 days in a row opening weekend. So intelligence as well. That person sent his ex to get another pup (from my last litter – Falon and Ithaca). So I think they like my dogs. <grin>
With such reports, it didn’t take long for me to commit to a female from the litter.
I asked Lynda to let me know when the puppies were born. On Thursday, April 13, while at work, I got the awaited email that Fanny’s litter was born and doing well, two males and five females. The good news brought tears to my eyes as I contemplated that my future bird dog was alive and well.
Each week since their birth, Lynda has posted numerous photos on Facebook of the puppies, which my family and I have eagerly poured over. While they are all adorable, one pup in particular caught my eye from the start, the pup with the aqua collar, which Lynda called “Aqua.”
Lynda had mentioned that one of the puppies was roan and I really had no idea which one it was. After I expressed an interest in Aqua, she told me that this was the only roan puppy, which piqued my interest even more.
When Lynda posted Aqua’s picture at four weeks, I was totally smitten and wrote in the comments under her picture, “This little girl is stealing my heart. I can already see the intelligence in her eyes.” Of course, I was dropping hints that I wanted this pup, but wasn’t sure if this was going to happen. So I tried not to get my hopes up.
And then, on Mother’s Day, May 13th, I got the best news. Lynda wrote me in an email: “Aqua it is for you if you want her. She’s super sweet and loves to be loved and cuddled. She is usually the first to come to me. . . . So time to think of a name.” I responded excitedly, “I accept with all my heart! I’ve had my eye on her from the beginning. . . . I am a happy camper!”
Under TopperLyn’s system, they name each respective litter after a letter in the alphabet and this was the “R” litter. I decided to name her “Rainey Creek Ruff,” or Rainey for short, after a beloved fishing creek and my favorite game bird, the ruffed grouse.
We get to bring Rainey home sometime in June and my whole family is excited. Like the Brittanys who came before her, Sunny and Misty, I plan to make her into a grouse dog and a fishing companion. What adventures we will have! Of course, I will share our adventures with you as things progress.