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  • suzjennifer62

Critter highway

"I've seen every Highway...., and they all look alike to me."--Loretta Lynn

In March, Winnie and I participated in an ACK trial at Dream Big Dog Training Center in Lodi, Ca. that spanned the weekend. Dream Big is a great facility for Scent Work and the owners and clubs who host the events do an amazing job making competitors, both canine and human, feel relaxed and comfortable. On Saturday the first Trial of the weekend was hosted by NorCal Golden Retriever Club, Inc. and Sunday's event was put on by San Joaquin Dog Training Club. In the rolling oak studded hills North East of Lodi, there is nothing but wide open space where birds sing and critters roam.

The events begin early in the morning and many of us have driven a while so getting our dogs out to stretch their legs is a welcome opportunity and at Dream Big, we can walk up their long driveway and even into the relatively quiet dead end street they are located on to potty and refresh our dogs. Winnie and I love to walk as far as time will permit whenever we get a chance, before we search or in between. On day two of the trial while once again exploring the sights and smells, Winnie wanted to run and leap and bounce from one side of the driveway to the other. We had been there the day before and in my eyes nothing had changed but to Winnie it was a completely new environment. Watching Winnie as she took extra time in some of the same spots which had shown to be interesting the day before, I wondered what had changed. Along the base of the fencing that lines the drive where there's a slight depression in the ground, Winnie ran her nose along the bottom wire. She probably recognized the smell of skunks or raccoons or even coyotes that had slunk down low to slip under the fence and pass thru during the night. She scoured the shoulders of the driveway where the gravel diminishes and the weeds begin. By the time we walked the length of the driveway Winnie knew the story of each traveler who had used it.

To my delight, watching Winnie #NoseWithFeet that morning excitedly sniffing and exploring everything on the path we walked was a part of the day that gave me pleasure equal to the searching. We did well that weekend, or at least I think we did, trials start to blend together from one to the next. The reason for us being there that day seems less important, now. The memory of Winnie tearing into what seemed to me like yesterday's "news" to find fresh headlines and stories written by those who belong to the night will stick with me always.

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