June 19, 2012
Bart is a handsome vizsla, red and sinewy with a proud carriage and docile eyes. He is much like any other pedigreed bird dog: his amiability becomes serious when he sees birds, he has a good nose that scouts out wings with fervor and he loves to please his owner and trainer, Darcy DuVal, an attorney who raised him as a puppy in Cummings, Ga.
But Bart stands out. At hunt tests, where the 7-year-old achieved his Master Hunter title, he is called everything from "a hunting machine" to "the dog with the most amazing prey drive ever seen." Gunners have approached DuVal to request Bart as their guide's dog for hunts; he was invited to the all-star review of the Nationals based on his high-achieving titles; and Bart is well on his way toward NAVHDA testing.
He's even begun to get therapy dog certification, and DuVal has plans to do hunts with the Wounded Warriors, a group that takes war veterans out in the field to hunt and watch dogs work.
Bart is simply a great gun dog, one whose love for birds is surpassed only by his love for DuVal, according to his breeder. Yet many of his admirers do not even notice that Bart is storming through the field on just three legs.
Do you have a dog who has beat improbable odds? Tell us about it in the comments below. For more on Bart's story, check out the August issue of Gun Dog, available on newsstands July 3!