It may seem strange that one of my current dogs should be in this section but although it is intended to breed Roxy her progeny haven’t entered the line….yet. I was sitting in the back of Heather & Nigel Smith’s 4 X 4 and was listening to their plans to take their bitch to Denmark to be mated. I asked for and was shown a pedigree of the intended pups and almost immediately asked to put my name on a bitch pup. The whole adventure of the trip to Denmark took place and some time later my friend Shaun picked up a pup for me and kept it until I arrived in England for the trial circuit.
Roxy was a character from the start and there was a learning curve for me in that she was of a timid nature. What I didn’t realise at the time was that this timid nature hid an iron will and a tenacity that has never come to me, put together quite this way, in the form of a dog before.
I couldn’t get the handle attached at all. Roxy spent one night on the Mud Flats at the head of Strangford Lough. Ross and I walked the shore for hours but it was the high tide the next afternoon before she deigned to set foot on dry land. She needed birds that I didn’t have, but Tony, Tony Kieran had all sorts of pigeons and quail so she went off to Ballina.
Tony doesn’t reckon he did anything special but the head banger that was Roxy was second in the Northern Ireland P.C’s breed stake one September qualifying her for open stakes. I think that was all Tony managed with her but he has now decided to retire from pointer & setter trialling to concentrate on the woodcock shooting he both loves and excels at. Not having seen that much of her I had asked Tony what she was like on game ” A real nailer” was his reply, and he wasn’t wrong. Roxy therefore came back home to Bangor.
My first major campaign with Roxy, spring trials in Scotland in 2007, was a total unmitigated disaster from start to finish. Not Roxy’s fault , mine. This gave me some food for thought and I have spent some time working on Roxy. She really is a strange mixture. Lift your hand too quickly to scratch your nose and she howls like a soul demented. Try and get her to stop as she whizzes past at full pelt and you might as well be a tree. Give her the deepest, most uneven heather, gale force winds, horizontal rain and she will still find you birds as she demonstrated in August 2007 to win the English Setter Club of Ireland’s Open Stake. It puts me in bad form to even think about it but she should have won the Irish Pointer Club’s Breed stake a fortnight later as well but at least under the I.K.C.’s points system it wasn’t a totally wasted day getting second place.
Then there is another string to Roxy’s repertoire, shooting. Not waltzing about in short heather in the August sunshine in Scotland. Working bloody hard in heavy heather and heathland, silver birch plantings and blackthorn liberally interspersed with brambles to produce mature and wiley pheasants in County Tyrone. This wee dog, she isn’t that wee really, is the whole ball of wax. She is everything you could want for in a pointer, and then a bit more, but she really is a fifty sixer in a kid glove. Step aside, Roxy coming through!
At nine years old I have retired Roxy from competition and John Dixon is going to fix her up with a shooting home in Co Monaghan.