In the rodeo world they say that every contestant is entitled to one good horse, if you are extremely fortunate you may even have a great horse.
Well I guess the DK world is similar. We have been very fortunate – we have had eleven KS dogs and each has been very special in their own way. However, as Mr. Bommers said the night before we brought Atlanta home from Germany for the last time; she made a total of seven trans-Atlantic flights,
“Frank you will have many good dogs but you will never have another Atlanta.”
We first saw Atlanta at Bommers in late June of 2005. We were there to pick her up at nine weeks of age. She wasn’t the best looking pup in the litter but we were the stupid Americans and everyone else getting a pup from that litter was either a Hege-Haus family member or had been getting dogs from Hege-Haus for years. We were just happy that Christian Plange, Frau Stramann’s son who was operating the HH Zwinger under the name Hege-Hof, had decided to let us have a pup. Besides, Mrs Bommers, who had whelped the litter, said that Atlanta was her favorite.
When we returned home with Atlanta and Ussa vom Osterberg, a beautiful pup from Dr. Lemmer, it didn’t take long to realize what we had. In the fall we were hunting with the young dogs and very surprised how good they were at such a young age. I liked to kid Mr. Bommers that my early training is what made Atlanta. By November I had reported to Marianne that I could train the brown pup (Ussa) but Atlanta was a problem. Every time I went to show her something she already knew it. I told Marianne that if she was ever going to be the dog she could be she need to go back to Germany for her education. After having it explained to me that if my dog was going back to Germany for training so was hers (Ussa).
Arrangements were made and in January both dogs went back to Mr. Bommers for their education. Little did we know that an adventure we never imaged was just beginning.
Atlanta’s testing career is legendary in Rheinland and throughout Germany. With Mr. Bommers as her leader Atlanta completed the Derby Prize1, Solms Prize 1, VGP Prize1 (334 pts and Search winner at Club Rheinland), 2007 IKP Prize 1 (Claus Kiefer Award Winner for being the top dog out of the 191 entered), and KS at the 2008 Kleemann. In all of her test career she received perfect scores in all but the VGP where she received her only 3 for shaking the duck once returning from her feathered drag. During her career she received eleven 4h’s including three at each of her Solms and IKP.
When her testing career was finished she came home and raised some great pups including Bessi KS vom Trocken Bach and Indy KS vom Trocken Bach. Bessi was 10 Ten at the 2012 Kleemann in the Zuchtschau. Indy was Top Ten at the Kleemann Zuchtschau and one of the Top Ten Overall Hündin at the 2014 Kleemann.
More importantly she was my girl and favorite hunting dog. We had many wonderful days in the field and around the house. My biggest regret is that for all of the 2015 hunting season and much of 2016 I was unable to hunt like we enjoyed so many times before. This year I am finally able to hunt like I want and it’s too late. Until the day before she left us she acted like she was three and was as athletic as any dog you ever saw.
Monday following the fall test in Walla Walla I took Atlanta and Darwin to the field for their morning run. Hubertus Krieger was with me and to my amazement Atlanta didn’t run, she was twelve and a half and didn’t run like she once did but she always ran. I knew something was not right. That evening she was in the house with us and wasn’t breathing right. I kept her head in my lap that night so she could breathe better and in the morning we went to the vet. Following the exam, x-ray, and MRI I received the call, it was what we had feared. The vet could not believe how happy and enthusiastic she acted as sick as she was. She said this dog has to be “unbelievably tough”.
I told the clinic I needed a couple hours and I would be there. Hubertus and I gathered up the materials and made a coffin and headed to the clinic. The vet and her assistant brought Atlanta out to the grassy area in the back and she acted like nothing was wrong and she was so happy to see me. I can’t explain the empty feeling I had at that moment. For over twelve years she was my girl and we hunted together every chance I had. She spent the night in the house with us and traveled with me on business trips when it was possible. I knew this would be the last time we were together. It didn’t seem fair I get sick and come out of it she gets sick and there is no way back.
We buried Atlanta at the Buckley Ranch in Lowden where she hunted so many days and her early training took place. She will rest next to her mother Rosemarie KS vom Hege-Haus and Deacon my old GSP who was the “King of Dry Creek”.
I know she had go, it was her time, but it still does not seem fair, I make it and she doesn’t, she never hurt anyone and gave it her all with everything she did.
I was at a funeral one time for a young cowboy who died in a plane crash. The Priest said that no one can understand these things but he recalled when he was little going to his mother’s quilting club and crawling on the floor hearing the ladies saying how pretty the quilt was but from down on the floor looking up it didn’t look that good. The Priest said that is why we don’t understand God’s plan we are looking from the bottom up and he is looking from the top down.
I have to hope that she is in a better place. Hunting for Mr. Bommers and acting like she is three again. With that beautiful search, fantastic nose, an intense point like no other, and relentless retrieves – God what a dog.
Hopefully, they will invite me to join them someday for a special hunt, one more time.