Well - I know I'M certifiably crazy... but that isn't what I'm talkin' bout.
When I played hooky from work on Tuesday, I carpooled with Jolynn to Chatfield State Park in Denver. It was a gorgeous day. A beautiful, beautiful Colorado day with blue skies, sun and no wind. (no wind in Denver anyway - at our place - close to the WY border it was quite windy!)
I wore a long sleeve t-shirt, a heavy sweater and a coat but walking in the sunny fields at Chatfield, I was hot and stripped down to my t-shirt. It was heavenly... clean air, blue skies, birds singing, warm temperatures...
There were 8 or so people who meet up regularly on Tuesdays for dog tracking with dogs of all shapes and breeds... golden retrievers, belgian sheep dogs, corgis, labs, clumber spaniels, other english cockers. Everyone was very nice and people were busy putting tracks in for dogs around the various fields, letting the tracks age from 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on the dog's level of tracking. Teams of dogs with their handlers would strike out to a field for tracking.
The dogs follow the human scent with 90 degree turns in unmarked fields up to 400 yards to find the article at the end of the track - a glove, a sock, a leather baby shoe etc. It's really all about the dogs using their noses and very much about the humans staying out of the dog's way on the end of the tracking line.
Little did I know, Jolynn's Mom who is an AKC tracking judge, put in an unmarked track for me and Toe to get us certified. (you have to be certified - proving you and your dog are ready to track - before entering an official AKC tracking test)
I looked at Jolynn and she said, "I know - I didn't tell you. I didn't want you to be nervous!"
Toe followed his track, made his turns, was off course at one point, backtracked to find the scent again and went on his way... he found his glove and we passed our certification!
This means we'll be able to enter a TD tracking test in April.
It was a wonderful day... I put in a track for one of Jolynn's dogs and I was able to follow along with other handler/dog teams to see the different ways dogs worked to find scent and follow a trail.
A perfect way to play hooky... nice people, lovely dogs on a beautiful, sunny, Colorado day!