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The author's German wirehaired pointer, Remington, retrieves a chukar during the search portion of the NAVHDA Natural Ability test Saturday in Leonard, N.D. Photo by Fetch Photography.

Open season: Pooches, points and pictures aplenty

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Last weekend, a local group of trainers and hunters got together to test their dogs in Leonard, N.D.

The Red River Valley chapter of the North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association (NAVHDA) hosted a spring Natural Ability test, geared toward dogs 16 months and younger.

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I was fortunate to run my German wirehaired pointer, Remington, at the trials, and am happy to report that he far and away exceeded my expectations.

But aside from the test itself - designed to evaluate the engrained abilities of a hunting dog, thus "natural ability" - the day was filled with fun and camaraderie. People from across the region participated, and even one of the judges (there were three) came from as far away as Iowa.

What struck me the most, however, was the sheer friendliness and fellowship by everyone present. There was no pretentiousness; no aloofness. We were on a level playing field, for the most part, and folks were more than happy to share information when asked, or give encouragement when needed.

The fine folks at Fetch Photography also were on hand to document the occasion. The Cochrans, Maureen and Kevin, of West Fargo, took pictures of every dog throughout the day, and offered CD's containing more than 100 pictures for the modest price of $20.

Mine should be in the mail, shortly.

For more information on the Red River Valley NAVHDA chapter, visit www.rrvnavhda.org. To contact the Cochrans and Fetch Photography, send an e-mail to maureenchochran@hotmail.com, or check them out on Facebook (search for Fetch Photography/Life's Moments Photography). Maureen also can be reached by phone at 701-361-9051.

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