Almost 12 months since a blog post, there is a lot to cover in the past year. I will share some highlights and some low points. Life is truly a rollercoaster.
On June 8 of 2022, we lost a great friend of the kennel, Robert Sauer-Jones. Bob led an amazing life, teaching himself to fish, hunt and trap in the Catskill Mountains in his youth. He joined the Army during the Vietnam War and was a highly decorated soldier, including 2 Purple Hearts, 2 Silver Stars & 2 Bronze Stars. His obituary briefly describes some of his heroism (click here for Obit).
After serving his country, Bob returned to NY and fulfilled his dream of living the outdoor life. He founded Outback Guide Service and shared his knowledge of fly fishing and hunting with numerous life-long friends. Many trout expeditions and hare hunts in the Adirondacks were guided by Bob as well as big game hunts. Bob ran a pack of Patch Hounds in the Great North Woods for a number of years. The last hound Bob got from me, Jasper, was a hare hunting machine. Bob took Mike out in his truck to listen to the hounds when Mike was nearing the end, and for this, I am very grateful.
Bob and his wife Donna opened their beautiful home up to me and were the most gracious hosts. The lodge Bob built was outstanding and truly fitting in their valley in the Adirondacks (including the screened in hot tub and hare within feet of their back door). Bob and I spent many hours talking about the hounds, politics and life in general. I am truly blessed to have known him.
On March 2, 2022, we lost Cymbrian Elsie. Elsie and her littermate sister, Annaka, were 2 foundation bitches of the kennel. Elsie was a sweet hound, sired by Kennedy Mt Pete out of Eunice, she was a solid member of the pack for many years. She was also a very good mother and producer. Early in her life, I had a young Elsie out with the pack. She was less than a year old if I remember correctly, and a big doe jumped up in front of her. Off Elsie went (no shock collar on her, my bad) for 200 yards or so across a wide open stretch so I could see it all, yelling my head off. At about the 200 yard mark, she stopped and realized that no other hound was with her. She came back to where the rest of the hounds were and never took another deer the rest of her life. She was a tireless worker and excellent searcher. Her voice, even as a young hound, was very clear and smooth, although not extremely loud. She was excellent in the whelping box also and gave us some very nice hounds, including Jasper above. Elsie was never an issue in the kennel as she got along with all the other hounds and was very quiet in the kennel. She was just a joy to own. When winter 2022 rolled around, I could see her fading fast and we didn’t hunt her much in the cold. She earned the right to stay cozy in the kennel. March 2nd was a very hard day.
Fast forward to November 29, 2022, Annaka Patch passed. This one hurt even harder than Elsie as Annaka was the last hound of Mike’s that I had. As puppies, Mike and I split the 2 bitches, with him taking Annaka, she was slightly bigger, and I kept Elsie. Mike brought Annie in the house and he told me she would jump up on the back of the couch and watch. I can still hear Mike say how beautiful a hound she was and indeed, she was a beautiful hound. She had a personality that was unmatched and she was a very smart hound. After the hounds came here, Annie quickly became the Alpha female of the kennel. She was not the least bit aggressive but commanded the respect of all the other bitches without a growl or snap. She also had the clear, smooth voice and transitioned to cottontail here very easily although she worked a cottontail check the same way she worked a hare check that she started on. Annie was an excellent mother and she never lost a pup in 3 breedings. A very easy whelper, I went out one morning about 4 AM to check on her as she was due and she had 3 pups cleaned up and nursing. I closed the lid and by 6 AM had 2 more and was ready for her breakfast when I went out. If someone saw her that morning, they would have never guessed she had just delivered 5 pups in the last couple hours. A very cautious mother, you could tell she was always very proud of her puppies. In the winter of 2021, Annie developed a tumor on her rear leg and we had it removed. She spent a couple months in our house and never messed once. She jumped up on the recliner and was perfectly at home. She had absolutely no issues despite her spending almost her entire life prior in the kennel (other than the huge amounts of white hair that drove my wife crazy). As fall 2022 approached, the writing was on the wall. I buried my sweet Annaka, wrapped in one of my favorite flannel shirts next to her sister and mother as my tears fell in the Pennsylvania clay. It’s the worst part of having hounds.
As the circle of life goes on in the kennel, we were fortunate enough to get some young hounds started on their journey. Simon, Sierra and Ciquala all opened on scent and are well on their way. Simon is a full 15” hound and at times can still be a little clumsy when it comes to quick moves but when he stretches it out, it is a thing of beauty. His littermate sister Sierra, is as agile and cat-like as they come. She can corner like a sports car and can leap and bound like very few we’ve seen. Ciquala, or Sig (Siggy) is also very agile. Sig has that quick, machine gun chop, with a head down style and can really go. He has a great personality and can be quite comical at times. Sharp as can be, I think he understands every word I say. A huge plus are his kennel manners; Cleanest, quietest hound in the kennel.
As many know, my life has also had its ups and downs recently. In December, I became a new grandpap and I’m determined to make little Luke a houndsman. In March, my other son John was in a motorcycle accident in North Carolina so to say the past couple months have been hectic is an enormous understatement.