For 30 years, Randy White’s wife and daughter chose the dogs who lived in their home. Their tastes ran to little dogs like Shih Tzus and Yorkies.
Last year, it was finally Randy’s turn. While he loved their previous dogs, he was ready for something different. He wanted a man’s dog, a hunting dog, a dog he could take to the fields, the woods, and the lake.
At the same time, with a family including multiple grandkids, he “wanted to find that unique balance between having a big dog, but that acts like a small dog when it’s in the house.”
Meet Gypsy, a 1-year old German Shorthaired Pointer (GSP):
“Gypsy will come in the house, plop down on the couch, or jump up and sit in your lap like a five-pound dog. But she’s a 45-pound dog.”
After his wife agreed he could pick the next dog, Randy (a PWA in Knoxville, TN) jumped into research and settled on the GSP breed. He found a breeder in Indiana and brought Gypsy home at 8 weeks old. She comes from a champion bloodline – her parents are both champion dogs with credentials in various hunting and dock diving competitions.
A year later, Gypsy is following in their footsteps. She recently came in Prize Two (second place) in a Mid-South competition (includes four states) focusing on aspects of hunting, including pointing, tracking, swimming and retrieving, and personal characteristics.
She’ll continue to compete as she gets older, increasing in competitive levels, adding different events and training throughout the year. Randy takes her out to the fields and wooded areas around their lake house to train, and he also gathers with other participants in the North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association to learn new skills. Gypsy has also earned basic and advanced obedience certification through Canine Off Leash training.
Randy chose his dog well. He’d always been drawn to working hunting dogs from trips he’d been on, but he also wanted a family dog.
“Versatility is critical,” he said. “She’s versatile as a pet to be with the grandkids or lay on the couch at the house and play out in the backyard with a ball. But then that seriousness to say, ‘Okay, we’re going to the field. It’s time to work. We’re going hunting.”
“And the dog loves it, and that’s amazing … just the happiness of the dog, their body language, their eyes, when they’re in their natural element, they’re just a joy to watch.”
He also spends 30 minutes to an hour with her every morning, taking her outside with a ball and a cup of coffee, walking around and playing. His wife has also fallen in love with Gypsy, and the grandkids adore her too. She even spends time at the office occasionally.
The name Gypsy means free-spirited and unique, and always moving. “These dogs (GSPs) are distinctly unique in their colorations, free-spirited in their actions, and always on the move, and believe me, the name fits!” Randy said.
So what’s Gypsy’s personality like?
“She is super sweet,” Randy said. “Her natural first reaction is to love up against people , rub up against them, and just let you pet her. She’s also rambunctious and has a lot of energy. She likes to run, but she’s happy. She’s standing around and she’s wiggling two or three ways at once. Her tail’s just going really fast.”
GSPs have endless energy, which Randy plans to put to good use now that Gypsy is a year old and has a more developed bone structure that can stand up to long distance running. Randy has run four half-marathons and is excited to train for the next one with Gypsy at his side.
Randy and Gypsy have a bond – a bond that he didn’t even know he needed.
A couple of years ago at an ICE event with D2, Randy filled out D2’s Life Balance Wheel Exercise and found several parts of his life that were unbalanced and that he was not happy about.
When their previous dog died last year, he hated to lose her, but it opened the opportunity to pursue Gypsy. And she has made all the difference.
“Here we are, two years from the time we lost our other dog,” Randy said, “and it’s proven that dogs are therapy. Dogs provide a positive benefit to your emotions. Dogs can help provide joy. She is helping bring a level of joy back into my life that I’ve not had in a long time. So there’s a lot of warm feel-good that I’ve received just in the last year in working with her.”