Olive was first certified by Joyce Klamut of Dover, Ohio, in the spring of 2007. I entered her in two fall ’07 tracking tests and she was down the page on the alternate lists for both. I intended to enter her next in the Dachshund Club of America tracking test at the Nationals in Texas in January '08 but in December I determined that I couldn’t go. (Olive’s sister Ochre and brother Oslo were big winners at the National field trial and I would love to have been there for that if nothing else!) Work and field trials took up most of my weekends this spring and then Olive’s tracking certification expired.
Lois Ballard of Stratford, Wisconsin graciously made the time and effort to recertify Olive in Roscoe, Illinois in mid-May when we were both there for field trials. Summer and fall came and went in a blur and next thing I knew I was looking at a premium list for Perryville, Kentucky on December 7. Nothing like putting all of your annual tracking eggs into one tracking basket! I entered four year old Olive, who had become a Field Champion in Kentucky in October, in the four limit TD test. I also entered her brother Owl in the four limit TDX test. It would be the first tests for both of them if they made it in.
Of eight TD entries, Olive was drawn Alternate 1. Of 13 TDX entries, Owl was drawn Alternate 3. As it happened, this worked out for me. Olive came in heat 10 days before the test and I wasn’t faced with a difficult decision about who to leave home. Though I would love to have tracked Owl in the X test at Perryville, he stayed home while Olive and I traveled south.
Saturday’s weather forecast for central Ohio said snow beginning in the evening. I’d planned to leave around noon on Saturday to make the five to six hour trip before it snowed.
It began snowing at home about 10am. Darn it! By the time I left at 1230, roads were a mess. Winding my way southwest on back roads and picking up I-71 about an hour north of Cincinnati is my usual route to Kentucky. I decided to take the longer ‘safer’ route and go north to I-70 to Columbus, then south on I-71 to Cincinnati.
I’d already seen a few cars off in ditches when I was stopped three vehicles back from a four car wreckage on I-70 just east of the Lancaster exit. Police were already there and emergency staff and equipment arrived on the scene as snow continued to fall. I told someone on my mobile phone that I felt like a fool for being on the road. Traffic varied from stop to slow but I figured that if I could get further south and into the latter part of the afternoon, conditions would improve. This turned out to be true but it took nine hours to go from east central Ohio to south central Kentucky!
I heard on the news in the hotel room in Danville that there had been over 200 weather-related motor vehicle accidents earlier in the day in nearby Fayette County(Lexington). I hoped that all those who wanted to be at the tracking tests would be there.
Sunday morning dawned clear and cold. It was only 16 miles to the tracking site but I was uncommonly thrilled that the roads were dry! I stopped and got two breakfast sandwiches for Olive and me to have together after she earned her T. I didn’t want anything to eat until after we tracked, breakfast was a HOT cappuccino!
So as not to cause a hint of distraction for any male dog at the tracking site, I stopped in Perryville to walk Olive before going on to the park.
I’ve said it before but the Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site is a wonderful place. It is an expansive, beautiful area with wide open, rolling fields that say “Tracking” with a capital T!
It is also a poignant place with markers, diagrams and stories of the Civil War battle fought there; a testament of the hundreds of men who died there. It was one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. One young person at the tracking test said it was a place where he could actually picture and imagine something of the battle. I know what he meant. For the first TD track of the day, spectators were asked to stay in a small grassy parking area on a hillside across the creek from where the track had been laid. Our view of the tracking field was very good. While we waited a few minutes for Kim Kearfott and her five year old Basset bitch Sallie Numbertoo to begin the track, I walked over to the informational plaque and read about what had happened there.
There had been a long drought and the Union army was thirsty. They came to the creek in front of us, Doctor’s Creek, and followed the nearly dry creek bed to the foot of the cliffs on the left. There were some pools of water in the creek below the cliffs and the men became engaged in drinking and collecting water. Suddenly, they were surprised by Confederates who had been waiting above the cliffs. The Union men were trapped in the creek bed below. There was no way out of the line of fire. The men who were not shot in the creek were shot as they tried to run up and over the hill (where we spectators stood). I looked out over the peaceful scenery and imagined this situation unfolding. How noisy, frantic, and gruesome this place must have been on that day.
All of the TD tracks were between 455 and 470 yards long, had a cloth to start, a glove at the finish, and four turns in between.
Temperature for the first four tracks was 20 degrees which was the low temperature for the day. For the last TD track, it was 22 degrees, on the way to an eventual high of 27. We went from overcast early to fair skies later on. The ground was frozen and the day began with 10mph winds that gradually subsided to no wind.
Kim and Sallie began well, stayed well, and ended well. Their first leg was along Doctor’s Creek on the other side, and then they turned away from us and kept going away on a stair step track. But from our perch on the hillside we had no difficulty seeing Sallie stop or seeing Kim pick up the glove. Then we heard many happy exclamations from Kim! This was Kim’s first tracking test! Congratulations!
Kim told me that Sallie had been certified by Maureen Foley, their tracking instructor, after just six weeks of lessons. They had come to the test from Ann Arbor, Michigan on Maureen’s advice and encouragement. Kim said she arrived in Kentucky on Friday so Sallie could run a practice track Saturday on ground without snow. I say she was smart to travel on Friday on roads without snow!
Track 2 and an 18 month old miniature wirehaired dachshund bitch was up. She started off smartly, made the first turn, got hung up a bit near the second turn, then went on and made the second turn. Unfortunately, she did not make the third turn but tracked straight off the corner toward the tree line where the team heard the whistle. Good luck at your next test!
Track 3 was run by June Johnston from Ashland, Tennessee and her five year old Pointer bitch CH Eclipse Wicked Premonition JH, certified by Jeff Whitsett. We stood on the porch of an historic home for better visibility of their track on the hill in front of us. (The house also helped cut the cold wind). Wow! Talk about enthusiasm! The Pointer kept throwing her front end up in the air and jumping against the harness. She was bucking so much, I thought she was a puppy! She bucked and jumped her way around the track to the glove and to her new title. Congratulations!
Track 4 was automatically given to Olive because she was in heat. (She’d managed to 'shed' her Alternate status when catalog TD2, a team from Indiana, withdrew.) I put Olive in harness at the car, snapped the long line onto her collar, and walked off with the judges down the hill toward the start flag. Olive likes to track and she lit up when we came to the start article. I moved the line from collar to harness and picked up the article to talk about it for a moment. Olive did not want to talk. She wanted to go. I stood up, let the lead play out, followed as she tracked the hillsides like something close to perfect, and began looking for the article when I thought we were getting close. Olive’s article indication is normally very clear and it was very clear on this track. She turned around to face me and wagged her whole body. I praised her as I walked up, and she whined with pleasure. I picked up the glove and waved it and FC Autumn Olive von Dorndorf had her TD. Great job, Olive!
The third leg of our track went along the phone poles in the distance.
This was Olive's track. You can see "tire tracks" before the 2nd turn, "doub elect" poles along the 3rd leg, "path" near the 3rd /open-angle turn, that we crossed the tire tracks again just after the 4th turn, and that the last leg was the longest leg.
Judge Ken Barna, Burton, OH: “Congratulations to you and your dog! That kind of work makes it all worthwhile!”
Judge Jeanene Tessari, Lexington, KY: “I was behind Ken and I’m a little shorter than he is. On parts of the track, all I saw was your head moving along the track, no hesitation, and I just followed. You were both in view for the last turn and last leg! She did an excellent job!”
Tracklayer Mary Mackin, Pleasureville, KY (Mary owns a CT dachshund): “That was so nice to see! She did a very good job!”
A successful track is highly satisfying and Olive and I both thought the sun shone brighter. We posed for pictures, then went back to the car and ate our sandwiches.
Tracklayer started: 0847
Olive’s starting time: 1017
Olive’s ending time: 1026
Track’s total yards: 465
Wind: Variable 1-10
Dew point: 12
Barometric pressure: 30.35 and at the height of a long steady rise from 29.89 at 4pm the day before. In the next hour, BP began falling again, a fall that lasted into Tuesday.
Track 5, the extra track put in by the judges, was run by Alternate 2, an eight months old 13” Beagle dog. The dog seemed to get hung up on the long first leg about where the cover changed from taller weeds to shorter grass. He took a long, long time to get past this point. Once he got going again, he tracked right on, made the second turn, and tracked strongly up to the third turn. The third turn found him trying every possible point on the compass but not committing to any of them. This youngster went back and forth, hither and yon, around and around, up and down until painfully, finally, at long last, he stopped working altogether, got happy, and wanted to visit with the judges. Good luck at your next test!
The first two TDX dogs, a two year old Pointer bitch and a two year old Giant Schnauzer dog, had already run when the TD people joined them. We were told that these dogs had not passed. I was sorry to hear this for, while watching the Beagle, I’d been able to see a small part of the Schnauzer’s work on his track off in the distance. He’d looked like he was tracking great guns. They said he did track great guns after an early whistle when he wanted to turn and his handler said I don’t think so.
TDX 3 was started well by a four year old mini wire Dachshund bitch. She nicely made the first two turns. Very soon after the second turn however, she stopped, then went left down the hill and back around to her handler. She made the second turn again. She stopped again. She swept left again and went back to her handler. Persistence personified, this little girl made very similar variations of this pattern seven times before she – finally – went on past this point. Unfortunately, instead of going on up the hill, she went on around the hill and there went the whistle.
TDX 4 was a two year old Pointer dog (littermate of TDX 1) who set off with great tracking determination and verve. We stood on the gravel road and watched and admired him as he went over the hill. I thought he might come back into view further on in the same field. When that didn’t happen I walked up the road to see what I could see. When I reached the crest of the hill, I looked around and didn’t see a soul. Just then, unfortunately, I heard the blast of a whistle from somewhere out there.
The extra TDX track went to Alternate 1, a three year old Bloodhound with a great Bloodhound name. Buford appeared to meander right off of the start flag then drifted left to the track and once he hit it, he meant business. The dog did the first leg, first turn and some of the second leg in picture-perfect manner. At the edge of some trees, there was some apparent confusion of direction, and then the dog turned right. He seemed to track with surety away from that point but we really didn’t think the track came back in our direction like that. We were right. Unfortunately, we heard the whistle.
Good luck to all the TDXers at your next tests!
We went back to the shelter building for a HOT lunch and awards, and then headed for home.
Thanks to the Central Kentucky Herding Group Club, judges, tracklayers, and participants, on another top-notch day in Perryville! Special thanks to Chairman & Secretary Monika Lynn Hole. I hope to be back next year.
Patricia Nance – Dorndorf