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Whoever Heard Of A Hungarian Called Murphy ?

2016/5/3 14:05:23
Chat to any doggy person and they'll sing the praises of these awesome animals. Totally devoted to their owner, they demand so little and yet offer so much. I could write pages propounding the good points of the humble canine, I could explain why a heap of people choose the companionship of a dog rather than another member of the human race or how a dog can replace a lost loved one. But I'm not going to, instead I'm going to tell you about one very special dog, my dog, Murphy.

We've had pet dogs in the family just about all of my life. There have been Greyhounds (Blackie and Bill Teal), a Bassett Hound (Bertie of course), a Great Dane (Toddy) and a Springer Spaniel (Bill). Each one left a massive void at the time of their departing and on each occasion we vowed never to have another one, it was just too traumatic to say goodbye.

The year was 1993, the pain of Bill Springer's death some 12 months previously had eased and the subject of looking for a new puppy was raised amongst the family. Of course everyone was in agreement, who can resist a puppy dog ?. My sister had a copy of a magazine detailing just about every type of dog available, their temperament, their traits and habits etc plus a list of breeders. Even before looking through the book I had some strong feelings about what type of dog I was looking for. Not too small but not too big. Short haired, I had neither the time nor the inclination to groom my dog for an hour each day. Perhaps a gundog, not that I'm into hunting but I definitely prefer that style of dog to the terrier or herding type and I'm absolutely not into the "my dog's harder than your dog" breeds such as Rottweilers or Staffies, so beloved by certain sections of our society. Browsing through the publication I noticed this amazing chestnut coloured breed that caught my eye. I'd never heard of the Hungarian Vizsla and wasn't aware if that the breed could be found here in the UK. I phoned one of the breeders listed in the book and had an extended chat, learning about the suitability of the breed as a family pet and their general characteristics. The breeder confirmed that they made excellent pets and mentioned that I might like to go along to a huge dog show taking place in Windsor in a couple of weeks time. It was a wonderful show with dogs of all shapes and sizes and there was a class just for Vizsla's. The rest, as they say, is history. I fell in love with the Hungarian Vizsla breed and wanted one !!.

Wanting one was entirely different to actually being able to find one for sale. There was but a handful of breeders in the UK, the web and email were only just being talked about, so it was all down to snail mail or the telephone. All existing litters had been sold and several of the breeders seemed unwilling to sell a puppy as simply a pet dog. They were looking for people who wanted to compete in working dog trials or dog shows with their puppies. I presume that they were trying to build a reputation for the dogs they had at stud and selling pet dogs wasn't on the agenda. The long wait began. There were plenty of Labradors, Spaniels and German Shepherds but my choice was made, and my next dog was to be a Hungarian Vizsla.

The breeder that I had originally contacted and had then met at the Windsor dog show was Peter Harper and his "Pitswarren" Vizslas had an enviable reputation in the show ring. His champion dog, Pitswarren Levi, had won more awards than any other Vizsla had ever won in this country. On one of my regular calls to Peter, he mentioned that he and his wife had kept a bitch and a dog from the last litter for showing. These pups were now 4 months old they had decided to keep only one, so would I be interested in a 4 month old boy dog. I was in Andover as fast as 4 wheels could carry me. I was introduced to "Pitswarren Murphy Himself" and naturally he was lovely and wonderful and sweet and soft and everything else that a puppy should be. It's a fairly standard practice for the breeder to tell you to come back in a weeks time and I could pick him up. In the following week the Harper's phoned twice and there were another couple of silent calls. I'm convinced that each time it was just the breeders checking to make sure that we were who we said we were, and that their precious puppy wasn't going to be left on his own all day in an empty house. We must have passed that examination because exactly one week later we were able to pick up Murphy, our very own Vizsla puppy.

He's now 14 years old, and sadly he's coming to the end of his life on Earth. He is, and has been, the best dog in the World. He is my very best friend and has been my constant companion and I pray that we've given him as much love and affection as he has so willingly given to us.