Minsk, the 80th ... the beginning
1980, I am 16 years old, autumn ... My four-legged friend and I are standing near the building of the Republican club of service dog breeding DOSAAF in Minsk. With bated breath, I watch the training of service dogs. There are several breeds: German (East European) Shepherd Dogs, Scottish Sheepdogs, Airedale Terriers, Boxers.
How then was it interesting for me to look at them! I watched and sighed wistfully. I sighed because my dog, a dog of the "German Shepherd Dog" named Dick, was ordered to go to the club. I bought Dick for 25 rubles at Storozhevka (who remembers, there was such a famous “Bird” market of Minsk scale in Komsomolskoye Lake in Minsk).
The dog was sorely lacking in exterior growth, there was a white spot on his chest, naturally, without pedigree documents ... Club rules were very tough at that time, only owners of purebred dogs could be trained under the guidance of an instructor. What was left with Dick? Just stand, watch the actions of the instructor, his students, and memorize, memorize ...
Dick and I in the fall of 1980 in Minsk
Everything we saw was then repeated by us in a quiet wasteland. Over time, Dick became perfectly trained and disciplined, but ... the entrance to the club was still closed for us. Once during one of these "club trips" I heard a lively argument among trainers, in which the word "voenka" sounded several times.
So I learned about a new sport for myself with dogs - summer militarized all-around. But even there, Dick and I were closed the way, only service dogs with pedigrees had the right to participate in competitions.
Thanks to active athletics, my passion for "dog" sports is a little smoothed out. But dreams about him are deeply sunk into the soul.
Summer 1981 It is time to prepare for admission to college. Since my active athletics by this time totaled more than 5 years, the choice of the university was unequivocal.
After successfully passing the entrance exams, I was enrolled in the number of students of the Belarusian State Institute of Physical Culture. Began intense training, continued active training, participation in competitions, fees and constant traveling.
Dick grew up, continued to delight us with an excellent upbringing and lack of problems in the content, except for one thing - I did not have time to give him the load that he received before. Of course, in my frequent absence my parents regularly walked with him, he did not remain without attention, but it was all wrong.
In one of my short visits home, I met with my friend Anatoly Utkin, a dog handler of the Minsk district police station. The conversation was long, informative, a little sad for me. Anatoly knew the level of training my dog.
His service dog at that time was in old age and was no longer able to perform service and combat tasks qualitatively. The write-off of the dog in connection with the loss of working qualities steadily approached. In general, Anatoly convinced me, Dick left to serve with him ... It's a pity, of course it was to tears, but I comforted myself that Dick and Anatoly had known each other for a long time, and my dog treated him well.
So it turned out, their joint service "took place."
Pinsk, acquaintance with the Battle, Rada, Arta and Sergey ...
1985 came the year of graduation and an active sports career. I got married, was sent to work in the district department of public education of Pinsk (a small town in the Brest region, about 200 thousand people, the unofficial capital of the Belarusian Polesye). The work of the athletics coach and physical education teacher at the school began. I lived in the family of my spouse's parents, both of them were teachers "with a capital letter", therefore, on their timely and qualified advice, I, the young specialist teacher, did not refuse.
Until now, these beautiful lands stand before my eyes, the unforgettable atmosphere of Belarusian Polesye, the intimate stories of my father-in-law Valentin Nikolayevich about nature, hunting and fishing, and of course about hunting dogs. He himself was an avid hunter (candidate master of sports in bench shooting), a fisherman, and an expert judge on gun dogs.
Next to the house in the garden was an open-air cage in which his assistant and hunting partner lived - a magnificent beauty and working qualities of a kurtshaar (German smooth-haired pointer). They called this tall and muscular handsome Boy. Having got acquainted with this dog, I again felt that these beautiful animals are actively entering my life again, my heart began to beat excitedly, memories came flooding ... In one of the conversations, I asked my father-in-law: "Nikolayevich, why do you very rarely release Boya from an aviary for a walk, and if they do, it is only within the garden? "
The father-in-law replied thoughtfully to this question, slyly squinting his eyes: "This dog is not for the city and entertainment, but for serious work! There is nothing for him to be distracted by anything, let him sit at home, save his strength, he will have time to hunt off the hunt ...". But I did not give up and eventually begged him to allow me to take a walk with Boy in a quiet winter evening around the neighborhood, naturally, on a leash.
The first "walk" with Fight
Believe me, I have something to remember so far. Even fans of extreme sports, I would not want this. We were lucky that the time was later and the city was almost empty. The one who did not meet us on the way during this glorious "walk" was very lucky ... Immediately after going out of the gate, the Boy jerked forward with such force that I instantly had a numb hand squeezing the leash, and we "jumped." Fences, gates, houses, parked cars rushed past at a tremendous speed ... (lovers of modern canicross, never ran so fast). After a while, we literally flew into the park. Here, my pet's fervor subsided somewhat, soon it almost calmed down.
I received a “well-deserved reward” in the amount of a few minutes to think about my slipping shoes, while the “hunter” sniffed something in the snowdrifts and occasionally with some special dog “chic” alternately raised his hind legs upwards. I was frankly sorry for the fight, he wanted to sniff around and “tag” everything, so I had to repeat his entire “walking” route, slipping behind him on a leash, sometimes laughing, sometimes really angry, accompanying the process with expressions of bright profanity.
No matter how long this “walking” lasted, nobody knows, since the Battle simply ignored all the commands I gave, its power was incredible. I fluttered behind him like a moth around a light bulb, hoping only that the dog would get a little tired, my strength was already running out. Soon there was hope that the Battle finally satisfied all of its gambling needs that had accumulated during its long captive imprisonment.
My head already had thoughts about how using the leash to somehow adjust the route of the “intelligent hunting dog” (by the way, the Kurzhaar is characterized in many literary sources) towards the house, but ... in the distance on the park's avenue the silhouette of a man with two large dogs on leashes. I hoped to the last that the Fight would not notice them (the father-in-law warned that all other dogs, regardless of gender, fight very aggressively).
Alas, this evening was definitely not mine! The fight threw up its huge brown head, with a taste pulled its strong frosty air, looked back at me with an obviously mocking expression of "face", as if asking a dumb question: "Well, brother, let's jump?" But I was ready !!! Not far from us is located a popular children's wooden entertainment building called "The Hut on Chicken Legs", with a porch and seemingly strong railings.
To this life-saving railing, I quickly “grounded” Boy, quickly wrapping a leash around them for several turns. The jerk of my “intellectual” towards a peaceful passer-by and his dogs was truly monstrous, there was a loud crash, it seemed to me that the leash was torn, but the Soviet-made strong equipment survived.
Unfortunately, the railings "could not resist" ... Thanks to the efforts of the "German intellectual", the railings slowly but surely broke away from the porch and were ready to go on the road for the "hunter", but suddenly the cheerful destructive process instantly ceased. Those very two dogs, who accompanied the lonely passer-by, ran up to Boy. They were very beautiful German (East European) shepherd dogs of about the same age of one year, with black and zona-red color. I got ready for the worst, but Boy sniffed and whistled with his short tail at breakneck speed.
The owner of the dogs approached us and, having greeted him, kindly inquired about what we were doing here. An imperceptibly conversation ensued, during which the dogs behaved very affably, my “naughty” miraculously turned out of its collar and began to dance, enjoying the company of really “intelligent Germans-orientalists”, the black-colored “Girl” was called Arta, and she was zoned-red — Rada , their owner called himself Sergey. At that time, I still could not assume that all my canine events in Pinsk would certainly be connected with this wonderful person, practically of my age, and later on as an indispensable helper and like-minded person.
It was Sergey who spoke about the Pinsk Service Dog Club, where classes are held in various types of training and militarized all-around with service dogs. My heart began to beat again: "here it is!". I did not think that I didn’t have a service dog, that it would take time to train her, most importantly, I was ready!
Sergey Kriminsky with Arta, Pinsk, 1986
When he learned that Boy was not my dog, but I was only trying to “walk” him, Sergey suggested: “Take Rada from me and start training, a dog is capable, everything will work out ...”. As it turned out, Sergey's mother worked in the protection of a large base, for the protection of which German (East European) shepherd dogs were used. The management decided to reduce the number of dogs. On the eve of our acquaintance, Sergey brought Rada home, intending to determine her further fate with the help of the head of the club, Grigory Kopeles.
Sergey physically could not keep two dogs in his one-room apartment (in September 1985 he bought a German Shepherd puppy, Arta, in the club, which I mentioned above). I promised to think about his proposal and go to the club together. By the way, on that memorable January evening of 1986, I was once again lucky: Sergei generously agreed to take me home. We got to the cherished gate surprisingly calmly, the Battle did not depart from two "friends", constantly flirting with them.