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The second series proved to be brutal as scenting conditions remained very poor. Dogs were struggling to locate birds and, at one point, I sent a dog for what I felt was a fairly straight forward retrieve just thirty meters (eh) past the outside gun close to a small tree. The dog marked the fall and worked to the right of it. He moved farther right, as if making some kind of scent. Then it appeared he was looking elsewhere. We collected the dog and moved up half way. The dog was handled to the exact spot, but didnít indicate any presents of game, whatsoever. I conferred with the gunner and the handler. I walked to the fall, trying to find an excuse. I looked at the handler, apologized and instructed him to take up his dog. This game could be heart breaking at times. The heat continued to take its toll to the point that I directed the handlers to a small creek, just beyond the tree line, at the end of the course - where dogs could cool off.

At the conclusion of the second series, Jamie and I compared notes and decided which dogs would be called back. Jasper, dog 22, was the fist dog that Jamie mentioned saying that he had an A++ series under him in the first series. I was quick to match his score from the second series. We decided on eighteen dogs to be called back to the third series. I felt that this was an awfully large number. But throughout the heat of the day where dogs ran hard and found pick-ups, birds that wouldnít fly, and were not given the opportunity to demonstrate their ability on a flushed bird due to shear exhaustion, these dogs were called back.

The puppy stake was held after the conclusion of the second series. I arranged for the two pups that I was running to be the two last dogs. The field was different, somewhat lighter, but the scenting was the same, at least on my two dogs. Smokie had a better find than Mac and Iím sure the judges saw it the same way I did.

"A good Spaniel will always make good of any tough situation."

As we began the third series, the wind picked up - giving us some relief. Scenting had improved substantially and dogs were getting into their zones. Dog 2, Duke, was really pushing and running hard with little whistle from his handler. He had a good find, winding the bird from a good distance and driving in on it forcing it into the air. A nice long retrieve and quick delivery provided us with lots of comments for our score sheet. His second bird was a pickup, but Duke demonstrated that birds canít hide from him.

Dog 10, Logan, also had a nice run showing a good, positive find on his first bird and making good on the retrieve. His second find was rather more exiting, taking a runner off the course and through some trees, forcing the cock pheasant out from a four-foot high grassy patch. Logan made the long retrieve look easy. And we wrote more notes.

When dog 22 was called up to the line, in our hearts, Jamie and I were rooting for him and hoped that he would have a good performance. As a judge, you canít alter what you see, but you know when things are clicking for a dog and handler on a given day and wish the best for them. Jasper was cast off. He ran hard making the heavy cover a non-issue. An abrupt change in his pattern indicated the presence of bird in the shrubs ahead of him. Shifting into high gear, he moved in quickly, trapping the bird and returning it to hand. We asked for a second bird and Jasper was more than accommodating. He covered the ground efficiently. Again, he made the quick change into a higher gear - but this time the bird moved off itís nest and headed right into one of the raspberry bushes. We could see branches

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