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Tuesday, July 5, 2022

John Jeanneney – A Visionary Leader Driven by His Passion


by Jolanta Jeanneney

Dachshund Club of America Newsletter, Summer 2022 

On July 5, 2021 my heart was broken when John Jeanneney, my husband of 26 years passed. He was 86. It was not unexpected; his death followed a long decline. His world was gradually shrinking due to his advanced age. I can still recall his last field trial that he attended, his last attempt of tracking wounded deer, and his last training line. I even have a picture when he held a puppy for the last time. There were so many “lasts”, and with many of them we were not aware of their finality. With some we knew. As a spouse and a solo caregiver, even though I knew what was coming, I was not prepared for the aftermath. So many emotions, so many tears and so much sadness.

John has left an amazing legacy behind, which involves establishing the standard dachshund as a true working dog in North America. Very few people know how his love for dachshunds started.

It all goes back to 1960s. In his private autobiography written for his family John said:

“As a graduate student at Columbia University I applied for a Fulbright Grant, which would subsidize a year of research abroad. Amazingly, I was accepted to do work in the archives of the France National Forestry School (Ecole Nationale Forestière) at Nancy in eastern France. At the forestry school I had all the privileges of an exchange student. The Forestry School had hunting privileges in a nearby National Forest. I enjoyed being a beater driving out deer and wild boar to the guns of my fellow students. It was on these hunts that I first saw the use of tracking dogs. The French were just beginning to use tracking dogs to find wounded big game. At the time the Germans were much more advanced in this art.  A German student friend invited me to spend a vacation break in Germany, and I learned more about this use of leashed tracking dogs. One of the breeds used was the small hunting Teckel, a European alternative to the longer, heavier, more extreme American/English Dachshund.

I had to have one of these Teckels. Mary Lou (John’s first wife) and I would be living in a 9th floor city apartment when we returned to New York New York. A twenty pound Teckel was the one hunting dog that would fit into this environment as I finished my Ph.D. dissertation.

I bought my first Teckel, Carla vom Rode in 1966, and she came back to the States with us. When I could get away on weekends to my parents' country places upstate, Carla hunted rabbits, pheasants, and raccoons at night. She was the versatile dog that the German breed standard called for. I did not track wounded deer with Carla because this was strictly forbidden in the northern United States.”

With his Ph.D. completed John started to teach history at Hofstra University on Long Island, NY. He moved to Wantagh, where he lived for five years. He wrote:

“The five years in Wantagh were not all bad. There was undeveloped State Park Land, and it was there that I took my Teckel, Carla, to run rabbits. Dachshund field trials began to be offered in New Jersey. Carla rapidly became an AKC Field Champion.

In 1982 work was started on a greatly expanded version of the original “Dachshund Field Trial Rules”. Gordon Heldebrant, President of the North California Dachshund Club, took the initiative in getting the project moving. I worked closely with Gordon from the East where the majority of dachshund field trialers were located at the time. Our more precise rules adapted from the AKC Brace Trial rules for beagles were accepted by the AKC and The Dachshund Club of America. They are essentially the official dachshund field trial rules in use in the USA today.”

John has always been an avid hunter, and he wanted to move into a more rural setting.

“It was in the 1970s, while living at Clinton Corners, that my fascination with tracking dogs for finding wounded deer burst forth. I was hunting on an estate in southern Dutchess County, New York, when I took, what I thought was a careful shot at a big doe. A twig, which I could not see at 50 yards, deflected the 12 gauge shotgun slug so it did not hit the deer where I had aimed. There was no blood trail after the beginning, and though I searched all day, I never could find the deer. Two weeks later, some hunters mentioned that they had found a big dead doe in a swale a half mile from where I had shot. This was very upsetting, even more so because I had learned about leashed tracking dogs in Germany. That doe could have been readily found with a trained tracking dog, but this was highly illegal, not only in New York State, but throughout the northern part of the USA.

I thought a lot about the incident and a year later had the opportunity to try an experiment.  A Department of Environmental Conservation employee, who had law enforcement credentials, asked me to find a gut shot deer for him. His credentials made a tracking dog legal in his case. I took Clary von Moosbach, my tracking wirehaired dachshund at that time, to the one visible spot of blood, and she started out on a short, six foot leash. After about a quarter mile I happened to notice a smear of blood on a sapling. Clary continued to track, no checks or hesitations, and in another quarter mile there lay the dead deer. Finding deer was easy, or so it seemed at the time. 

Some of the next steps toward the legalization of leashed tracking dogs were a lot more difficult than finding my first wounded deer. It began pleasantly, with another trip to France where I met Hubert Stoquert, who was a regional wildlife manager in eastern France. Stoquert gave me the same introduction to tracking wounded deer that we have given so many times since.  He worked a young wirehaired dachshund on a training bloodline, showing me how to train a dog.   Then we went back to his house, looked at dogs, saw slides and talked long into the evening. He generously shared his time and knowledge even though his wife was going into the hospital for surgery the next morning. Stoquert was in the final stages of setting up a tracking dog network in eastern France. When I got home I had a clear idea of what I wanted to do. For many  reasons the French and German blood tracking procedures couldn't be directly imitated in  the United  States, but  the general  philosophy, if  not the details, of  clean,  responsible hunting  and good  sportsmanship were the same.

The details of convincing New York's Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to permit a research project are too lengthy and complex to describe here. The positive recommendations by Bill Wadsworth, patron of bowhunting, certainly played an important role in the granting of that research permit in 1976. Clary did outstanding work, and local, public acceptance of the "wild, radical idea" of leashed tracking dogs was favorable. Cautiously, the DEC added more handlers to my permit and expanded the area within New York State where the experimental use of leashed tracking dogs was permitted.  In 1978 the individuals on the tracking permit formed the promotional and educational association, Deer Search Inc., which was eventually to become a state-wide organization, divided into chapters. Deer Search’s system of tracking dog testing was similar to the German prototype.”

The Deer Search concept spread through national publications, and finally legalization of leashed tracking dogs in New York took place in 1986, largely through John's efforts. John has always considered this legalization as one of the most important accomplishments of his life.

John and I have met for the first time in the early 1990s. At the time I worked as a canola breeder and research station manager for Pioneer Hi-Bred in Edmonton, Alberta. I was married to my first husband Chris, and I was just starting as a breeder of wirehaired dachshunds. John was based in Clinton Corners, NY, but he taught history at Hofstra University on Long Island. He was married too. Of course we met because of our love for working dachshunds, and at the time we both had French imports. I imported from France FC Fausto de la Grande Futaie, he had FC Sheriff du Bellerstein aka Max. Back then people used to write letters, and we exchanged a lot of them, mainly about dachshunds and their pedigrees. I still have the letters – one of mine was eight pages long. At the time breeders associated with Deer Search had several litters of dachshunds out of imported stock that showed a genetic defect, which later was diagnosed as osteogenesis imperfecta. John appreciated my help with trying to solve the issue of this mysterious disease.

After having divorced our spouses, we were married on December 29, 1995. I quit my job and moved to Clinton Corners. And as they say… the rest is history.

John bred his first litter in 1968, and he followed the German system of naming puppies according to alphabet. He bred under “von Moosbach” kennel name, which in German means “Mossy Brook”. His last “von Moosbach” litter was an “R” litter. When we combined our breeding programs we started to use the name “von Moosbach-Zuzelek”, and our first litter bred together, the “S” litter was born in February 1994. I don’t know how many Field Champions we have bred because it was never a priority for us, especially for John. Above all he valued usefulness of deer tracking dachshunds and thought that they have to prove themselves in the field, on a real job.

In 1999 we moved to a rural Berne in Albany County. Our 34 acre farm property is ideal for breeding and training tracking/hunting wirehaired dachshunds. Once John retired in 2000 he finally could focus exclusively on his passion full time – tracking wounded deer for hunters, promoting the idea on a national scale through writing and workshops, and breeding Teckels according to the German standard for tracking/hunting purposes.

John and I co-founded the North American Teckel Club (NATC) in 2000 and the United Blood Trackers in 2005. John spent 41 years tracking wounded deer and bear for hunters. In most cases when he did not recover the deer, he was able to establish that this animal was not mortally wounded and would survive.

In the 2000s, the publication and strong sales of John's self-published books, Tracking Dogs for Finding Wounded Deer and Dead On! played a large role in the expansion of the use of tracking dogs across the United States. As of 2022 it is legal to use tracking dogs in recovery of wounded big game in 44 states. His adaptation and development of the European tradition of finding wounded game with dogs was the accomplishment John was most proud of over the course of his "long and very good life", as he described it.

Last spring, while John’s 86th Birthday was approaching I asked our Facebook friends to send him a birthday card for the occasion. More than 100 cards came. These are some quotes from them:

“I want to thank you in so many ways… You have touched so many lives… including mine with kindness and help. You are truly a legend when it comes to tracking dogs and have helped so many hunters and others across this country to do exactly what you have done for so many years. You started something that continues to grow to this day”.

“Your passion for tracking and the breed has really rubbed off on me and I am very grateful”,

“The mark you have on all of us will be one that will never be topped”,

“Thanks for all your contributions and sacrifices to deer hunters, trackers and dog owners all over the globe”,

“Thank you for not only sharing your skills but also building a community and friendships that will last a lifetime”. 

There has been an incredible outpouring of love for him on social media following the announcement of his death. A friend said “John was a man with a passion. He lived his passion, and shared his passion, and ignited the passion in others”. And another quote: “The positive domino effect continues as more areas legislate wounded game tracking.  He has impacted countless dogs, handlers, States, Provinces, and communities.  He has directly or indirectly helped thousands of big game animals be found for hunters.  And, he has inspired the tracking organizations that lead all over North America.”

In 2017 United Blood Trackers hosted their annual event in Berne, NY. During the banquet John gave a short speech and said: “The relationship between a tracker and their dog is special, it is not one of command and obey. The dog is neither tool nor toy, you are partners giving each other advice. Each brings something to the work that the other doesn’t have and cannot do alone.” It sums up well John’s stand on partnership of a handler and his tracking dog, based on their relationship.

His outstanding contributions to the sport of hunting and conservation led to John's 1994 induction into the Sports Museum of Dutchess County and his 2012 induction into the New York State Outdoorsmen Hall of Fame.

He is sorely missed by so many.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

In Memory of John Jeanneney (1935-2021)

by Jolanta Jeanneney

It has been 4.5 months since John Jeanneney passed on July 5, 2021. It is still hard to think and write about it, but it is also a right thing to do. You can read John's obituary HERE.

Recently my friend Kelley Doolin had to write a class assignment about a visionary leader. I was touched that she wrote about John in her article. Thank you Kelley!

“When reading about visionary leaders in Shashkin's article, John Jeanneney came to my mind. He was an avid hunter, and after losing a wounded deer, he applied for and received a research license from New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation to investigate if it was possible to use leashed tracking dogs to find wounded game. He went on to co-found an organization called Deer Search Inc. to expand the research across the state. Ten years later, after a lot of hard work and dedication, the use of leashed tracking dogs was legalized in New York. John co-founded an organization called United Blood Trackers which has become a great resource to hunters and aspiring or current trackers. As part of their mission, United Blood Trackers hopes to promote legalization of tracking dogs in all 50 states and, as of now, most states have legalized tracking wounded game. One of the books that John wrote, Tracking Dogs for Finding Wounded Deer, has become known as the “tracker’s bible” and outlines blood tracking dogs, dog selection, training and use.

John exhibited traits of a visionary leader, he had the vision of using dogs to help track wounded animals. He got the support of governmental officials to conduct research throughout the state. He worked with others to help teach them how to train their dogs and track game. John found a solution to allow hunters to have better luck finding the animals they had wounded and lost”.

Every year I produce a calendar with our teckels. This year several of my friends suggested that John should be in the calendar. So to honor his memory I designed the calendar with John’s pictures showing him with his dogs. The calendar can be ordered HERE. These are the pictures:

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Born-to-track Teckels Calendar 2019

I hope that you are going to enjoy the calendar as much as I did while I was working on it. I have done calendars with wirehaired dachshunds in 2013-16. Last year I ran out of time, and I know that I left some people disappointed. I am trying to redeem myself this winter. The calendar is available through cafepress: click here. It is "printed on demand" - you order it from them, they print it and ship it to you directly while I get a small commission.   
I have been asked to identify dogs in the pictures so here we go.

We didn't have any puppies in 2018 so for puppy pictures I had to go back to 2017. The cover shows two pups out of Tommy and Tuesday, our A-litter. From the left: Andi von Moosbach-Zuzelek lives now with Jerry Gregston in Oklahoma. Artie von Moosbach-Zuzelek, called Enzo, is a tracking partner of Blair Smyth in Virginia. These pups were born on April 9, 2017.

January picture, which is one of my all-time favorites, shows Bernie (FC Darin von Moosbach-Zuzelek), Kunox (FC Kunox von der Dohlmühle) and Mielikki (FC Mielikki Raptor). This picture was taken in February 2014, and when I look at it, it stirs my soul. These were happy times, especially for these three dogs. Since then Bernie has passed (I miss him dearly), and Kunox and Mielikki are in their new homes (I miss them too). Being a breeder leaves you with a heavy heart on so many occasions. You have to make hard decisions - your heart screams "enjoy the dogs you have and don't add any new ones to the pack", but then you have to consider your future breeding plans. Often dogs who are retired from breeding (like Mielikki after 2 C-sections) are better off in a new home, where they are a part of a much smaller pack. Anyway, Mielikki enjoys very much her new life in Maine, and Kunox tracks for Rom Rausch in northern NY. Both decisions to rehome these dogs were heart breaking for me but very good for the dogs.

February picture shows Willow (FC Willow von Moosbach-Zuzelek), a lovely daughter of Kunox and Tuesday. Willow was born on March 9, 2015, and we hope to breed her in 2019. She combines the best features of her two parents.

March picture shows again Artie (Enzo) and Andi.

April picture goes back several years. It is a very young Mossy Brooke (Viola von Moosbach-Zuzelek), a super tracking dog owned by Judy Catrett from Georgia. By now Mossy Brooke has recovered over 100 deer, and we are very proud of her. She is a daughter of Tommy and Tuesday, a full sister to Andi and Artie. For more on Mossy Brooke see the November picture.

May picture is of Z-puppies, which were born on March 26, 2017. This litter was co-bred with Cheri Faust, who is an owner of the dam FC Uta von Moosbach-Zuzelek. Puppies were whelped and raised in Wisconsin, and then they came here for four weeks. Cheri kept two pups for herself, Zeus and Zenyatta, who became Field Champions quickly. Zale (Aldo), Zorro, Zack (Cooper) and Zander von Moosbach-Zuzelek are trackers of wounded game in Maine, Michigan, North Carolina and Virginia, respectively. BTW, Aldo (Zale von Moosbach-Zuzelek) owned by Lindsay Ware from Maine participated in 103 tracks and recovered 34 animals (6 bears and 28 deer)!

June picture shows Odin von der Dohlmühle, who was born on August 9, 2017, and was bred by Annelie Grauer from Germany. Odin is handsome, talented dog with a super nice head and soulful eyes. He always has his nose to the ground, and loves to track and hunt.

This is a picture of FC Keena von Moosbach-Zuzelek, who turned 13 years old on April 7, 2018. Keena used to be a tracking partner of our friend Dan until he moved to Texas this summer. She is doing OK in her old age, but her arthritis and heart problems have started to interfere a little bit with her quality of life. She is still full of piss and vinegar though!

August picture shows FC Joeri vom Nonnenschlag, who is going to turn 11 this coming February. Joeri loves to swim and retrieve from our pond. Joeri and John are inseparable. He is a dog of many talents, with a lot of soul and heart.

FC Tom vom Linteler-Forst is still our top tracking dog. He is going to turn 11 this coming March, but he is still very much a puppy - can be very playful and and just plain silly. This year Tommy was tracking for our friends. Actually anybody who sees him tracking says what an amazing dog he is. He turned out to be a great producer as well.

Odette von der Dohlmühle, a sister of Odin, born August 9, 2017, is a small mischievous 16-lb female full of fire. This summer she showed how much she loves to swim and retrieve from the pond. She loves to track, go to the ground and chase rabbits while opening on them. A truly versatile teckel.

This picture was taken by Judy Catrett and shows Mossy Brooke (Viola von Moosbach-Zuzelek) with a young hunter Jake. In Judy's own words:
Jolanta, you ACED it when you chose Viola to be our puppy. If everything you have done in life has been this accurate, I would consider you to be most astute at your endeavors. I wanted a pup who could/would communicate with me. This little girl has graduated from Communication 200. When we track Mossy Brooke communicates to me that the deer is within 10-30 yards in front of us alive. This has proven to be one of her most helpful traits in our tracking. Gives us a quick moment to look for the deer and hopefully get a killing shot off. Mossy Brooke’s vocabulary continues to grow. She loves to lay next to me on my pillow after tracking and we talk about the tracks we have done that day. She whimpers, wags tail as I talk and then uses her front paw to remind me to keep talking if I stop. She eventually falls to sleep and before long, her little feet are running and she is quietly barking as I am sure she is dreaming about her days work. She dearly loves to track. Thanks again Jolanta and John for my little soul mate.

December picture was taken last winter and shows our inquisitive Xena von Moosbach-Zuzelek, who was born on July 26, 2015. Xena is a daughter of Dachs von Tierspur (Billy's son) and FC Mielikki Raptor. She is a high energy hunting dog who never quits. We hope to breed her in 2019.