One winter afternoon, I had a date with two Vizslas named Midget and Mimosa. They were both young, energetic dogs owned by a fabulous trainer in my hometown of Chatham. I had never spent any time with Vizslas. I only knew they were wonderful hunting dogs who were recognized for retrieving upland game.
I set up my tripod amidst a lovely wooded lot with a fresh coating of snow. The trainer had explained how she trains the dogs with birds beginning at an early age.The birds used for hunting practice are closely monitored and protected by the individual towns. I was anxious to see how the bird training was executed. I heard the trainer say, “Are you ready?” I exclaimed, “Yes!” What happened next was a blur. All I recall were the alert expressions on the faces of Midget and Mimosa. Their bodies were in a pointing position, apparently preparing to do something great. Seconds later my focus went completely awry. I heard a furious flapping of wings, two dogs sprinting in the air, and a pit in my stomach, front and center. I had no idea what happened until I saw Mimosa running back with a bird in her mouth, alive! I asked the trainer how it was possible that this dog retrieved a bird without killing it. She told me, in a very matter of fact way, how they are soft-mouthed hunting dogs who are always on the lookout for bird scent. Their intention is only to retrieve, not to kill.
It took me a few minutes to gain my composure before I could start photographing. It had been a magnificent moment. These dogs were amazing!
Since that experience, I have met many Vizslas. I have the utmost respect for their many talents and their affection and loyalty to their families.