Foreword by Retriever Journal editor-at-large E. Donnall Thomas Jr.:
"Wallace's scientific background is evident throughout Biography of a Bird Dog, in which he records with Proustian attention to detail the first half year in the life of Valley Girl, his female black Lab...the text is a celebration... Anyone...will understand and appreciate the care and insight Garry Wallace has brought to bear upon this heartfelt project."
~ E. Donnall Thomas Jr.
(to read more of the Foreword, please click here)
Author Garry Wallace tells of his experience training VG (Valley Girl) to be a bird dog. VG is an AKC registered female Labrador retriever, born May 10, 2003. For the next eight months, Wallace kept a daily journal he titled “Project VG,” in which he recorded the events that stuck in his mind: stages in the pup’s development; her harassment of the author’s faithful, nine-year-old retriever, Ebenezer; the pup’s successes and failures; the author’s satisfactions and frustrations with VG’s progress; and the sadness of Ebenezer’s slow decline. A day or two after each journal entry, Wallace hand-wrote the first, rough draft of what became Biography of a Bird Dog (A Labrador Retriever in Wyoming). To help facilitate his recollection of events and have a photo album of VG’s life, Wallace purchased a digital camera that captured still images and short movies of VG and Ebenezer, the author’s two Wyoming dogs.
As time went on and the manuscript grew to almost 1000 pages, Wallace began the mind-boggling process of cutting the story down to size. If he could not find an apt title for the chapter, he eliminated it from the book. As he fine-tuned the writing, the author—a student of philosophy and neuroscience—discovered that the story of VG’s early life was nothing less than a lesson in thought and mind, in both dogs and in people. Not only did Wallace find a way to express his philosophy of life as he told VG’s story, but he also learned why dogs are so important in people’s lives, as he writes in the book, “Dogs are man’s best friends for a reason.”
Biography of a Bird Dog is not a training manual, but it surely would be of interest to anyone preparing to train a dog for upland bird and waterfowl hunting. So, what is Biography of a Bird Dog? It is a nearly seamless story of a man’s attempt to help his pup achieve the potential of her breed, that is, to be an accomplished Labrador Retriever. That this story takes place in Wyoming is, well, icing on the cake. Wyoming is the kind of place where a dog can be a dog and a man can be a somewhat wild man.