National Geographic : 1951 Jun
832 Dog-tired near the End of the Big Day, Pals Slumber in a Baby Buggy Jostling crowds, yapping dogs, and clarion-voiced announcer failed to disturb silky-haired, 2-year-old Joanne Suchon, of Fredericksburg, and her 2-month-old cocker, Silver. "She was sleeping," said her mother, "and the little dog was tired, so I put him in the carriage and he went to sleep too." As in Indian days, this is still hunting country, and the hounds, setters, and pointers rank as the elite of the show. Old-timers in hunting caps looked a bit worried last year when a much barbered little powder-blue French poodle, owned by a woman, emerged as a strong contender for best in show. They relaxed when the be ribboned essence of canine elegance was beaten out for the blue ribbon by a big competent looking "blue tick" hound bitch named Tide water. Hunters hereabouts follow their foxhounds with automobiles. "We head them off with cars, then get as close as we can on foot," explained the mayor, C. M. Cowan. "Too many barbed wire fences for horses." Careening over country roads, autos do about everything but take fences. They enable these latter-day hunters to keep at least within hearing distance of the melodious chase. Not the Dollars but the Scents These Virginia hunters are great yarn spinners. "Once I had a bird dog that was jumpin' a fence when he caught the scent of a wild turkey," said a hunter from the Wilderness. "He came down astraddle the fence and hung there, pointin' that turkey." In the obedience trials some of the feats rivaled even such tall tales. Outstanding star was Stormy, one of two talented Weimaraners -a rare German breed-owned by Mr. and Mrs. Helms Crutchfield, of Richmond, Vir ginia (page 822). When paper money was spread on the grass and he was told to pick out the note that would buy him the most meat, he unerringly chose a $20 bill, disdain ing the ones. It wasn't the dollars; it was the scents. His nose knew the bill his mistress had touched. More people. than Fredericksburg's whole population-more than 12,000-usually turn out for this canine convention, held annually when autumn paints Virginia's woods and coverts. This year the big day is October 13, or a week later in case of rain. Outsiders are drawn both by the dogs and by the city's historic sites, including the old homes of Washington's mother and sister (pages 820 and 818); the law office of James Monroe (page 831); the house where John Paul Jones once lived with his brother, a Fredericksburg tailor; and scenes of some of the bloodiest battles between the Blue and the Gray.