In the early 1990’s Joan Fetty stumbled on an HRC Magazine
and realized this program would be a valuable experience for
hunt test enthusiast in the Pacific Northwest. So Joan and her
husband Bob contacted UKC to find out how to apply for starting
a club. They were told nothing could be done. To keep in contact
with HRC Joan and Bob joined the nation HRC so they could learn
more by getting the magazine regularly. They continued to try
other approached but to no avail. Finally, a new letter Joan
and Bob sent to HRC caught the attention of Rod Smith who was
HRC National’s Membership Chairman in 1998.
and our club was born. In January 1999, Joan and Bob invited
ten people to come to a meeting to see if they would help start
the club. People agreed we elected officers and voted on a name
proposed by Joan: Whistling Wings. The people present were Joan
and Bob Fetty (Bob became the first President), Dale Worthington
(Dale became the first Treasurer), Kate and Bob Mearns (Bob
became the first Secretary), Debbie and Boyd Ulsh (Debbie became
the Vice President), Elizabeth and Daniel Cousineau, Peter Colley,
Kate and Peter Szilard.
HRC sent the required information
to apply for membership and promised to send us some national
officers to help us with our inaugural hunt as there were no
clubs near us to help. The officers who came to judge and guide
us were Pete Stritzinger HRC President, Glen Stelly HRC Vice-President,
Claudine Cooper HRC Secretary, and Tim Gibson National Field
Bob and Joan bargained with the Puget
Sound Labrador Retriever Club to borrow their hunt test equipment
in trade for the Fetty’s helping their club start a tracking
program. So the club had equipment for the test. For the first
test, land was rented from the Washington State Game Department.
The second test was held at Greenleaf farms and Dr. Greenleaf
donated the land to the club to run the second test.
Judges to be grandfathered in were selected base on
past experiences with NAHRA, AKC or CKC hunt tests. The judges
were from Canada, Washington State and Oregon since the goal
was to draw more interest to start more clubs on the West Coast.
The new Whistling Wings Club set January each year as the annual
meeting which was held in Joan’s Dog Training School Building,
a pot luck, Elections and silent auctions helped the club to
grow in membership, financial strength and HRC education. The
second HRC Club in the region was Salt Chuck on Vancouver Island
and for many years Whistling Wings and Salt Chuck were the only
Each year the lonely West Coast HRC groups
went through growing pains, learning experiences, and always
glad when an experienced HRC Judge would help at Hunt Tests.
By year five, Whistling Wings had begun to be accepted by local
Hunt Test participants and membership grew. Today the club boasts
regular training days, two Hunt Tests a year, special events,
dogs that have or are competing at the national level and a
whole lot of great hunting dogs.
New clubs continue
to spring up on the west coast and the dream that Bob and Joan
had when they started this in 1990 has come true!!
In 2011 Bob and Joan were awarded lifetime memberships in Whistling Wings. Andy Fontenot presented them with the award at the February 2011 annual meeting.