|Barked: Mon Dec 7, '09 7:45am PST |
|December 5 2009
It's a beautiful thing When a trained dog does exactly what it is expected to do.
I remember in the early stages of training, when I knew my dog could track, and would track, but sometimes, got this feeling of unrest. Is he doing HIS thing? Or mine?
Questions arise, Will I ever be able to trust this dog without a doubt? Will I be able to look someone in the eye, who is telling me my dog is wrong, and the track didn't go there, and I can answer back with certainty, that they are wrong, and the track DID go that way... because MY DOG SAID SO. .. And know deep in your heart without question, this is so.
Last night, a hunter did not return home. Word of mouth from a successful search a month ago, had my phone ringing early this morning. Would I please bring my dog?
I scented my dog at the hunter's truck. My dog was softly whining (squeaking actually) as he pulled in harness and was eager to go. He hit the track with confidence, pulling me strongly through multiflora roses. I felt like a sled behind a tractor. I had difficulty keeping up. I was constantly entangled, snagged and dragged. In no time at all, I was at the base of a tree at a ladder stand. I looked up, and there was a hunter hanging from his safety harness after apparently falling from his stand. He was unconscious. Later examination revealed His arm broken, His ribs broken. What had happened here, I did not know, and because of HEPA laws, may never know. His hunter orange folded neatly on his seat with the black liner side out. . Searchers had been through the area, but they had called him and looked on the ground, and were looking for hunter orange.
For all of the buildup to the search, it was culminated faster than the briefing took. Extricating him from the tree (not my job thankfully) took a lot longer.
As I left the woods hot, sweaty, (it's 24 degrees) and bleeding, I just felt overwhelmed with gratitude. I thought of the years of training to get from those early tentative times to the present day decisive tracking dog. I had no doubt in my mind, when my dog took the scent from the hunter's truck, that we were going to find him. I never had a flickering doubt. I have to say, I'm so proud of Tuck (my dog) and the journey we took to get there. I think back of all the training and expense. I'm thinking, No body is ever going to call and need us. almost 4 years of training verified this to me. But it was an activity we did together. Whether it was ever used or not, really didn't matter. It was all about our journey together.
Twice now, he has had two activation deployments. Twice now, he's found his victim within 30 minutes of being sent on the search. On neither mission, were there niggling doubts. I KNEW he was on, and I knew he was going to make a find. No doubt in my mind. The questions I had in his early training, and my doubts have been answered. It's a beautiful thing.
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