In the final days of her pregnancy, Jerry and I knew that Vixen was very big but had no idea what we all were in store for.
Beginning at about noon on Saturday, May 21, and finally finishing up about 12 hours later, Vixen whelped 11 puppies. Even thought the count was high and the time was long, Vixen never seemed to struggle or tire.
The breakdown is eight males—four black & white, two liver & white, two orange & white—and three females—one of each color. Nature has a way, perhaps, of evening the score. Vixen’s first two litters were heavily weighted in favor of females—14—to only six males.
This is Vixen’s second litter by CH Elhew G Force. Jerry and I kept four of our own from that litter to raise and train—and kept in touch with or trained the other five. We knew we had an exceptional cross and decided to repeat it.
We are happy and fortunate to report that Vixen and all her puppies are healthy and vigorous.
Two male puppies are available for sale.
Ben is primarily a grouse and woodcock hunter so he and Franny spent their memorable days in aspen cuts and alder thickets.
Franny taught me more about dogs than I care to admit. She was a thinker. She was different. This is what made her special.
~ Ben McKean
It’s always heartbreaking when a treasured dog dies. But especially awful is when a bird dog dies terribly in the prime of her life.
On what started out as another beautiful Saturday morning in Georgia, I left the house early and headed to the kennel to do my morning chores. Immediately, I noticed Franny, a normally lively five-year-old setter female, in an odd hunched position in her run. Her body was bloated, too, and fearing a twisted stomach, Betsy and I rushed her to our vet. Despite an heroic, two-hour emergency surgery, Franny died.
Franny was owned by Ben and Maureen McKean, long-time clients and friends, of Minnesota. Franny was whelped in March 2010, the last litter from Paul Hauge’s multiple grouse champion Houston’s Belle by Northwoods Blue Ox. Franny was a big, powerful female like her blue-ribbon dam; she inherited the grit and endurance of Ox.
Sometimes it’s hard to remember when a robust bird dog was a cuddly puppy…but not Maureen.
Ben and Maureen entrusted Franny to us for her training and Franny, in turn, excelled. She achieved the highest level of training for a pointing dog—steady to wing, shot and fall. Franny also spent every winter with us, gaining invaluable experience with hours on bobwhite quail. She became the star on our Georgia quail guiding string. The weather didn’t deter and it didn’t matter whether we hunted from foot, jeep or horseback or if we were out one or three hours, Franny loved to hunt and always found birds. And when she pointed, the birds were precisely where she indicated.
The shadows were long when I found Franny on point—strong, staunch and stylish on a large covey of quail—at the end of what was to be her last hunt.
Ben hunted Franny extensively on grouse and woodcock and her last fall had been her best.
“Last year, Franny and I had better numbers together than any of my other dogs. She handled at a more manageable range in the thick cover and provided better opportunities than the others. I know she had her strongest talent in the south on quail. I am glad that she was able to put grins on the faces people that she was able to hunt with, including mine. She was an entertainer, a true bird dog and a great friend. She will be missed.”
~ Ben McKean
Betsy and I agree. Franny was a special dog and we were very proud of her. And yes, she put a smile on my face, too, every time I hunted her.