I flew out to the U.P. of Michigan to find my first llewellin setter that would hopefully start my gun dog family. This trip was my most exciting trip of my life!! I knew it was time for this step in my dog career… what I didn’t know was what an amazing place the U.P. was going to be!! I arrived in the area where Laurel Mountain Llewellins are a bit ahead of schedule so I drove down a road, got out, looked down and saw a bunch of grouse feathers— hmmmm— I continued to walk down the logging road where I parked and I heard several grouse take off in the first few minutes of my walk. My hmm turned into a WOW!! I have my secret spots back home in the Catskills but from all the stories I’ve heard over the years about the U.P. from people who have visited and all my PDJ (Pointing Dog Journal) stories over the years everything suddenly came together in that instant!!
The breeder of the breed that I have come to view as the only dog to hunt grouse with, the Llewellin setter, lives here in the U.P. of Michigan—After having had Rogue for the past 9 hunting seasons in the challenging shrinking grouse habitat that New York has to offer—And I’m here to start my own gun dog family— I knew after that one short walk and having not even met the pups or the breeder that owning land in the U.P. was a must!!
I arrived at Laurel Mountain Llewellins homestead and I was in heaven! Llewellins running all over a large fenced in yard in total bliss!! Around 8 of them jumped up on the gate to greet me…. than ran back to studying the pigeons flying around the barn in true Llewellin fashion! I met Michelle, the owner, it was clear from looking at her dogs for just 5 seconds that she was the real deal and exactly the person that I was hoping to find in all my Llewellin research— dedicated, knowledgeable, experienced and has the eye for a super gun dog! Being around a lot of dogs (working dogs specifically) every day all day long my own and thousands of others it often takes seconds to know if a dog has “it” or not. Well I was hard pressed to find a single dog that did not have “it” on that property!! That level of consistency is what every breeder should be striving for it shows that the person is doing what they are doing for the breed first and foremost.
When I went into the house and met the pups!! These pups were out of Tori by Count, litter theme—The Spices. Once I sat down on the floor and looked at all 6 females, it took all of 2 minutes for me to make up my mind. The pup litter named Ginger was the pup that almost at first glance had “it.” I had spent the night and was leaving the next day to head home. At the time of this trip the pups were only 6 weeks old. My obsessive mind was hard at work for a name because all the ones I liked just didn’t fit this pup…. So in my dreams I was writing on a chalk board in a classroom and I wrote down the word Widget. I woke up and that was it! This name likely came to me because Michelle is a web designer, so it seemed very appropriate. Of course, I had both Michelle and me stressed out big time because I wasn’t first pick!! I was third pick!! So sweating bullets we waited for the other two people to make their choices and thank goodness Widget was still available!! Phew!!
My flight home was one of my most content moments in my life. It’s all coming together…..