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Dani's VST/CT Tracking Test
August 2, 2009

Dani, Belgian Tervuren, owned by Deb Eldredge

The draw was 4:45 am, just light, cool, foggy but vision was no problem, quiet. Oooh, what was really cool was that with the low cloud cover/fog you could hear cheers of successful endings across the campus. This was my first time ever on the campus & it was nice.

Dani was track 5 & went off at 7:30 am. She started in an athletic field -probably the shortest, most trampled grass on campus but still green & somewhat lush. There had been a soccer camp training on this field all week.

She started well (always makes your heart rate slow a bit!). Our first turn was to the left up a small bank & then into a large multi hoop basketball area. Dani's "moment of truth" turn was in the center & we went right. Her metal article was near the end of the court area right by the grass (not visible from the turn). I was thrilled she indicated it as metal is her least favorite and with it cool, the metal doesn't seem to hold scent as well.

We then went into the grassy area & up to a LARGE brick bldg. Turned left & then things got a bit tricky. Our track went along the front of this bldg. Along the way were various stairwells down into the bldg which drew scent, a funky metal sculpture & a larger than life size bronze of the Colby College mascot - supposedly a mule (but I swear it was a Prezwalski horse - no long ears, etc). Dani sized that baby up & since she does herd, was trying to decide if she needed to deal with this animal on our way by. Luckily she did work past it.

Our leather article was near the end of the bldg. All along that area we were on sidewalk with patches of grass, paved stone, etc. Something like 30 changes of surface.

At the end of the building things got tougher. To our left was a road & across it a paved sidewalk area & grass, then a stadium. On our right was a grass area, then a driveway leading into a small parking lot, then another grass area, then a bldg. I was figuring we now had 3 of the articles so the end couldnt' be too far away.

Suddenly, straight ahead of us about 60 ft, a squirrel ran across the sidewalk & into some bushes. Dani has serious prey drive & she desperately wanted the squirrel. I told her to "leave it" which she reluctantly did & then took me across the road on the crosswalk. Once we got over there (had to dodge a couple of cars on what was a quiet road until we went to cross of course!). Dani quickly decided this was wrong. I think the wind between the buildings & the cars drew her there.

Back to the other side of the road & then she checked out all possible permutations to going down the driveway into the small parking lot on the right-one grass side, the middle of the asphalt area, the other grass side. Again, in retrospect I think wind & the end of the bldg pushed her there.

After all her brief forays, she then decided straight ahead, on sidewalk. This was towards the squirrel sighting so I was being cautious. A woman came up then, a bit worried at first (large Terv) but we chatted & then she went on. Dani continued on straight, then turned right & pulled HARD on the final leg to her final (plastic) article!

Victory!

I think that was it - hard to remember everything as I was concentrating so hard. Not nearly as hot or chaotic as my daughter's CT track with her Corgi last month! Judges were Mary Thompson & Ed Presnall. I believe Mary may take up drugs or drinking after the many "crisis" moments we all had. I honestly think the high pass rate was due to two things: the almost perfect conditions & the fact that most of the entries were people who have been training & working hard on VST for years. As the training gets better & we all work harder, the pass rate should improve.

Many, many thanks to Ed P for the generous sharing of his expertise at camp & making me believe we could do this & to Diane & Dutch Schultz for breeding Dani & entrusting her to me :))

Other passes: Sara & her lovely Dal, Michelle Gillette & her 10 yr old Corgi, Truffles & Peter Rich & his cute Eng Cocker.

Deb Eldredge

Photos by Ed Presnell ©2009

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