Today is John's 81st Birthday and I thought it would be interesting and fun to look back at the 81st year of his life. Last year I blogged very little, and many of these events have never been written up.
The picture below shows how John spent April 7, 2015. Paul, his son, and Marilyn came to have a birthday lunch with us, and they put some serious work into cutting down the tree that got damaged due to ice accumulation during previous winter.
Last year we had two litters of puppies, our W litter and X litter. The W pups (Woody, Waldi, Willette, Wiki, and Willow were born on March 9, and in the picture taken on his birthday, John is holding one of them. The X litter was born on July 26 and produced Xander, Xenos, Xakary, Ximo, Xavier, Xoe, Xola and Xena. This was a lot of work... and fun... and satisfaction.
On April 24 John gave a talk at the Annual meeting of the NADKC (North American Deutsch Kurzhaar Club) in Cobleskill, NY. Dick Aronica thanked him: "Your presentation on the actual practical side of deer recovery was perfect."
One of the highlights of John's year was participation in the Annual Workshop (Formation) given by ACCSQ on May 2-3 in St-Apolllinaire, Quebec. The ACCSQ is Association des Conducteurs de Chiens de Sang, which could be translated as Association of Handlers of Blood Tracking Dogs. John gave a talk at this extremely well organized and attended workshop on creating a tracking dog/handler team.
On May 8-9 John was at the QDMA (Quality Deer Management Association) National Convention at Louisville, KT, where he gave a well received presentation on blood tracking.
This lead to an article written by Kip Adams, the QDMA Director of Education and Outreach, for Quality Whitetails. Kip said "Thanks for giving such a great presentation at convention. I took a page of notes so I’d remember your advice and realized I needed to share them with others. That’s where the article came from and I hope it can help others this fall and beyond."
In July John and Andy Bensing traveled to Ontario, Canada, where they conducted "An Introductory Seminar and Field Workshop about Using Trained Tracking Dogs to Find Wounded Big Game". This was in support of Big Game Blood Trackers of Ontario (BGBTO).
During the summer John spent many hours in his garden (this is something he can't live without)...
... on training dogs...
...spending time with friends...
... and working on our grounds (thank you Larry and Cheri!)
We went to some concerts to socialize pups...
and attended Dan and Faith Hardin's wedding.
In July John was interviewed for the Hunting Dog Podcast and this interview "Blood Tracking Big Game with Little Dogs" can accessed HERE.
In September, there was another presentation in Ontario:
When a hunting/tracking season arrived, I had my serious doubts whether John would be able to track. He has been battling multiple health issues over the years, but the Old Man proved me wrong again. He found 6 deer for other hunters and he shot a doe to provide meat for this human and canine family.
This past winter John gave more talks at local churches, which serve "wild game dinners" accompanied by informative presentations on topics related to hunting. His last one was at Bethlehem Community Church in Delmar, NY on March 5, 2016. Four days later he was in the hospital and had a pacemaker inserted.
Nobody ever knows what next year will bring, but it looks like being inactive while getting older is not an option for John. His tracking days are over, and now he admits it himself. I am sure that he will find a way to stay engaged in the field of tracking dogs and will continue to share his knowledge through articles and books. Happy Birthday My Love!