A HUNTER’S THANK YOU
By Ed Bailey Eden Mills, Ontario
In 1956, Bodo, at 30 years old, with help of his good friend, Doug Hume, translated the testing regulations of the Deutshes Jagdgebrauchshund Prufung, the German versatile hunting dog test, into English. I fell into a copy of the translation six years later, a gift from the secretary of the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Club of America. It had been sent it to every versatile dog club they could find. Mostly it fell on blind eyes and deaf ears because the concept of testing dogs was, for the first time ever, being introduced to North America. I had only seen this text in German. The only North American testing was the highly competitive Ameri-can Field pointer/setter trials and the retriever trials—high level competition games for professional trainers. There was no way for the on foot hunter to evaluate his dogs. Bodo and Doug Hume arranged a test and, though several people entered dogs, only Bodo’s dog, Komet could complete it. The testing movement was still-born. Dogs just couldn’t do all that stuff. I met Bodo in 1965, having just moved to Ontario with Griffons and a knowledge of the Ger-man tests, as well as a copy of the translated rules. Bodo had recently moved to North Orono, on a game farm owned by a Mr. Parker. Bodo had imported several Pudelpointers and had gathered a few of the owners of his pups, helping them train for the tests. Most were like Bodo, recent Ger-man immigrants. He was creating the nucleus of what was to become NAVHDA. A test, the second in North America, was set up and, typical of Bodo, we started with what later became the Utility Test. Bodo was to be senior judge. He asked me to be one of the other two judges. Most of the dogs entered were Bodo trained, but there was a reasonable turnout of local hunters with their not-so-well-schooled dogs as well. In one portion of the test, each dog was told to search tall, emergent vegetation for five minutes without a duck, then called back, and hidden from view while a dead duck was tossed into the reeds and the dog told to again search, find the duck and retrieve it. The first of the non-Bodo trained dogs splashed around in the reeds a bit and came out, refusing to search anymore. Bodo said, “Zero. Handler pick up your dog and go home. A Zero means your dog is disqualified.” And he called for the next dog. I quickly took Bodo aside and said, “I know what you did is the way it is done in Germany, but we are trying to get people interested in this form of testing, so can we bend the rules a little and let him finish the test so he doesn’t go away mad and never come back?” Bodo rubbed his chin a moment and said, “Ja, Ja. You are right,” went to the man, apologized for being too strict and let the man and his dog complete the test. I greatly admired this man who could bend his principles for what he saw was a greater good. This also became the over-riding philosophy of the whole NAVHDA movement, to teach the handler how to help his dog become everything he was bred to be. It is Bodo’s legacy, improve the training, improve the handling, and so improve the dog. It was always about the dogs, for the dogs. Bodo, you did good. Waidmannsdank. A hunter’s Thank You. I am proud to have worked with you.