Following the piece in the first issue on how far we drive to collect our new puppies, Peter Curran reports on a 1,000-mile plus adventure to collect a new pointer.
We enjoyed the article on puppy collection in Issue 1 of Gundog Journal and thought other readers might like to hear about my long journey to collect two pointer puppies in October 2014.
Being a keen pointer and setter field trials competitor, I wanted to obtain another full working dog with similar good blood lines as one of my current pointers. Having found the breeder and line I wanted, it was just a case of arranging the finer details for a long trip to Scotland.
Cotswolds to Caithness
I set off from home near Broadway in the Vale of Evesham to Hawes in the North Yorkshire Dales, where I stayed overnight, and set off the following morning with a good friend of mine to share the driving. It was an early, foggy start and I remember reaching Inverness and falling into the trap of thinking ‘it’s not far now...’. But it was another two hours to our destination of Halkirk in Caithness! We arrived just after lunchtime and stayed for about an hour before heading back south with two fantastic working pointer puppies (Ed. We don’t hang around when collecting new pups, do we?).
Creatures of the night
I had pre-booked a hotel for that night in Nethy Bridge near Aviemore. We got a funny look from the young girls on reception when we checked in – two grown men turning up with two eight-week-old puppies (Logan and Hamish), requesting a twin room for the night. We settled in to our room, and after a couple of drinks and an evening meal we decided to have an early night – it was going to be a long trip back to Hawes the following morning.
I crated the puppies for the night and, in case of accidents, I laid a cheap shower curtain on the floor for the crate to sit on. At about 4am I was awakened by the puppies making some noise, so I got out of bed to investigate. Meanwhile my friend was happily snoring his head off, lucky bloke.
I let the puppies out of the crate onto some paper in case they wanted to relieve themselves. One decided to make a run for it to the rear of the crate and immediately sank his teeth into the shower curtain I had laid earlier, leaving shredded bits all over the floor. ‘Oh no’, I thought, so I immediatetely went to the rear of the crate to pick him up and bring him back to the front. Meanwhile, inevitably, the other puppy clearly thought this seemed like fun, so he ran around the back and started to do the same. Anybody who has tried to manage two puppies simultaneously in an unfamiliar space will understand just how challenging this attempt was.
When nature calls
This went on for about 10 minutes, back and forth, but it seemed like hours. I thought to myself ‘I could do without this, especially at four in the morning’; and all the while my friend was totally out of it and still snoring.
Once the two puppies were finally back in their crate, I thought it best if I flushed the puppy waste and tissue down the loo. And yes, I blocked it. I tried to find a plunger with which to unblock it. I searched most of the hotel toilets on all floors and found nothing except the nightwatchman on the ground floor, who looked at me very strangely. I finally went back to bed and woke up about 6.30am. The first thing my friend wanted when he woke up, totally unaware of the night’s antics, was the toilet. “You can’t use that,” I said, “it’s blocked!” So he disappeared out of the room in a flash in his underwear. I thought ‘that will teach him, keeping me awake most of the night with his snoring’.
Worth every mile
We set off that morning with a brief stop at House of Bruar, finally arriving back at my friend’s house in Hawes later that afternoon. It was time to split the puppies up and hand over one of them (Hamish) to a friend who had arrived earlier in the day to collect him. All was well until they went their separate ways, which was when my pup (Logan) decided to scream the house down. And I mean scream. I don’t blame him, but it didn’t make the job any easier.
After a round trip of approximately 1,150 miles, Logan and I finally arrived back home in Worcestershire the following day, where he was introduced to our other two pointers. When I look back it was such an enjoyable and amusing trip, and I honestly would not hesitate to do it all again – it would have made a great comedy sketch. Logan is now four-years-old and has won numerous awards at pointer and setter field trials.
What are your experiences of collecting your new gundog pup? Has anyone driven further than a 1,150-mile round-trip? We’d love to hear your stories about collecting a new gundog. Please email: email@example.com