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Darlinhart Helter Skelter (Schroeder) - Best Friend of Al, Jo & Ruby from Brisbane

"'Schroeder', our Darlinhart German Shorthaired Pointer" kindly penned by Al & Jo

We purchased our very first German Shorthaired Pointer, 'Schroeder' from Tanya Fraser last Easter 2009. The primary reason was for him to be a companion for us and also a suitable gentle companion for our 3 year old English Cocker Spaniel, Ruby. The secondary reason was as a field companion, so it was important for us to find a breeder that did not breed for 'show' only. After researching and talking to all the major GSP breeders in SE QLD, we struck gold when we found Tanya Fraser, who was clearly interested in maintaining the breeds hunting and 'birdy' instincts.

If anyone is considering a GSP as a companion, we do not hesitate in highly recommending Tanya and Matt. The experience will be a pleasure - Tanya will be there with you every step of the way. On first meeting Tanya, we were extremely impressed with her passionate and enthusiastic approach. She was always keen to impart her knowledge to us, offer advice and support, both face to face and via numerous emails and phone calls. This communication via email was constant before, during and after the purchase of our dear boy. The facilities at Darlinhart were extremely clean and hygienic and it was great to meet the family of our 'soon to-be' puppy. Tanya introduced us to the local Redlands Dog Obedience club where Schroeder was top of the class within 2 weeks as well as recommending natural raw dietary advice. Her commitment to the welfare of her puppies and to the GSP breed, as well as to the education and support of the purchasers is absolutely outstanding. We collected Schroeder and we left with a micro chipped, vaccinated and healthy 10 week old puppy, complete with Vaccination record, information sheets and a little age-appropriate brisket bone. We were also safe in the knowledge that we had full support and could call or email the minute we had a question or concern.

It was Tanya's highest priority to meet and get to know us and our situation before committing to the sale. She asked a lot of questions and listened carefully to our answers. It was obvious to us that she was not just about selling the pup, but more about ensuring that 'we' were suitable GSP owners for one of her beloved pups. Our ability to exercise, our fencing and our lifestyle in general was discussed. Tanya suggested we take our Cocker Spaniel with us when we first met, once before the birth and once when Schroeder was in the whelping box with his 11 brothers and sisters. Being new to the GSP breed, this helped us to see how Schroeder's family interacted with our Cocker and we were delighted to see the wonderful nature of the breed. Tanya was highly focussed on the litter and our requirements, determining which solid male would be the gentlest addition to our family. We can't express enough how well she did with the choice - Schroeder is the most sensitive, protective and loving dog we have ever had the pleasure of knowing. His gentle and biddable nature is perfect for us and Ruby. Tanya also fulfilled our secondary requirement of having a strong hunting instinct.

In September 2010 when Schroeder was 18 months old, I was fallow deer hunting in SE QLD, Schroeder really displayed his true natural hunting instinct with no previous exposure to deer. After an early 4am start, I set off with my rifle and my good mate by my side. It wasn't long into the walk that Schroeder became extremely quiet, measured and focussed on my every move and command. The experience was a great opportunity for us to enjoy the bush together with all its magnificent views, smells and sounds - all great stimulation and bonding time for us, as well as vigorous exercise for one of us! After 5 & 1/2 hours I finally had my chance of a shot at my first fallow deer. Schroeder sat to heal on my command, both of us sitting on the ground. I assumed a steady position and fired. Schroeder was by my side, steady to the shot, until I commanded him to go forward to find. I saw the deer run a short distance but unfortunately the terrain was extremely thick & rugged and it slipped down a steep embankment, out of sight. I quickly offered him a bloody leaf and some blood on a rock. He eagerly licked the blood and quickly took to the scent, looking up at me with big round eyes as he had his first 'light bulb' moment. I commanded Schroeder to 'find' and he set off on the job following the scent along the game trail. After a short time, he wanted to turn off to the right down a steep gully and, against his better judgement, I ignored this, thinking his inexperience with deer had perhaps taken over & he had lost the scent. I made him follow me along the game trail straight ahead. We pursued this path for a further 20 mins and we found no more signs of blood or deer. I picked up on a slight hesitancy in Schroeder and each time we paused to ponder the situation he would turn back to the way we had come. I stood perplexed, wondering what had gone wrong and then the penny dropped that it was my inexperience that had caused us to lose the scent, not Schroeder's. I then quickly uttered words of encouragement and allowed control to pass back to my mate. We returned together to the point at which he wanted to turn right off the game trail and he took off keenly into the thick rugged undergrowth. I slid down the gully, scrambling over logs and under fallen trees (after heavy recent rain), clumsily following my focussed athletic companion.

It couldn't have been more than 10 minutes before Schroeder came across the fallen deer in thick long grass and I joined him as he was standing over the deer unfalteringly still, focussed intently on it, giving a deep rumbling growl from his chest. This being my first deer and my first real hunting experience with Schroeder, my first reaction was to be exuberant with praise and I lavished this upon him with all I had. This did not break his concentration for a second as he continued transfixed on the deer for 20 mins. I eventually called him away to a nearby dam for a rewarding swim and he was back to his calm and relaxed self.

It turns out that the fallen deer was not far from the point of shot, but because of the extremely rough terrain and my inexperience at recognising and trusting his ability and instincts, the search was almost unsuccessful. One things for certain, he has taught me to always trust his instincts.

I now have 20 kgs of prime venison in the freezer, of which you can be sure; Schroeder will be getting his share!!

It's difficult to describe how much Schroeder has enriched our lives. His versatility as an 'all-round' companion dog is remarkable and we feel privileged to have him in our lives. In one day, he can be instinctively hunting deer like a true 'pro' one minute and then be curled up in a cute ball on our laps as we watch TV, the next. His sensitivity extends across all his many facets. He is a loyal protector, a keen hunter, an astute watchdog, an impressive athlete, and all this along with the most affectionate nature. All in all, a great 'mate' to have around. He really is our 'best friend'.