The boys (Dundee and Granger) and I went down to Turner on Friday for the OTEEC earthdog weekend. The girls (Stella and Echo) came down with Peggy early Saturday morning.
After arriving Friday and getting the RV set up, the dogs watered, the dens inspected and the tables set out for the secretary, the raffle, and the potluck, we had an hour or two to sit and enjoy the quiet afternoon before folks started rolling in.
I took Dundee for a potty walk around the small orchard by the house and even though D wasn't entered in anything this weekend he demonstrated that he knew what digging was all about.
All sound and fury, but no result other than a slightly wider, deeper hole. This in contrast to Echo, who showed how prey-driven foraging is done on a walk past the dahlia field Saturday afternoon.
Echo and Stella suddenly dived for some grass stubble and were squabbling over something. Then sickening *crunch* and *crackle crackle* sounds gave away that the girls had probably found a field mouse. Echo's subsequent prance and swagger revealed that it was she who had scored this win. Down the hatch, I guess.
To erase that thought, enjoy a cute Cairn, Billy, in the corn stubble (photo by his breeder, I believe).
Not just another pretty face, Billy also earned his Junior Earthdog title. Here he poses with his beaming breeder Vicki H. and super-nice judge Steve S. after one of his legs.
Echo the mouse muncher was our house's only entry for the weekend. Peggy ran Echo in the first Master brace of the day on Saturday morning. Echo is already a Master Earthdog so it's all for fun at this point. And at 13+ we only enter her once or twice a year. We will probably continue to do so until she is too blind, deaf, or arthritic to safely run. Haggis in his dotage told his he was done when he could no longer stoop into crouch necessary to enter and navigate the tunnels. Someday Echo will tell us she's done too.
As of this weekend however she is still active, healthy, and having a blast. She hunts with the delicious intensity of a dog doing something it loves. Peggy was even able to do the extraction after the working portion of the test within the 15 second limit (a common fail point for Echo, who likes to back away from the extraction point in order to continue working). However she did not qualify because she apparently stopped for a donut or something on her way to rats within the tunnel, reaching them at two minutes rather than within the 90 seconds allotted. Echo's bracemate was Kona, a stone-reliable Cairn who notched his 55th qualifying run at the master level.
Here is Kona on the right, with Happy, another master earthdog Cairn on the left. if ever a dog was aptly named, it's Happy.
While they waited their turn, they took exception to a hot air balloon that passed over the field â€” occasionally blasting its furnace as it slowed its descent for a landing just over the tree-line about a mile away. Good job lads, you warned it off
Now lest you think *only* Cairns participate in this area, here are some off-brand dogs
Just kidding guys! We love you too! On the left is Forrest, about to earn his first master leg (if I recall correctly); on the right is Tally. Tally is an earthdog machine, approaching 60 qualifying legs in master. She is a small packet of wonder.
Meanwhile, back at Intro, dogs new to earthdog are getting introduced to quarry. A sociable Cairn spectator new to to earthdog wants to make a new friend while Ryan waits to unleash a young but gifted K.C. on the unsuspecting quarry. K.C. turned out to be the the only Intro qualifier for Sunday. Great start for this little dog.
As one of several folks intimately involved with the den setup I'm often running back and forth to the senior/master den (the most complicated setup), with the judges, the rat steward, supplies, exhibitors, etc. In order to keep the running order going smoothly there is A LOT of back and forth. Our workhorses for all this running around are a couple of "Mules" (Kawasaki's version of Dempsey's John Deere Gator) owned by the Beldens, our hosts.
The orange fencing below marks the Intro den, but the master/senior den is about a half mile down the road below, and then another half mile to the left, way out of the photo frame. Depending on the state of the fields â€” and the weather â€” mules and passengers alike will end up either muddy or dusty. This weekend was all about the dust.
After only a few trips back and forth in the back of the mule, here is friend and club member Betsy modeling the Worst Fake Tan Product Ever:
It was a fun weekend with excellent weather, lots of great dogs, and great people. This is often my favorite earthdog test of the year. in addition to all the doggy activities I enjoy the fresh-picked corn and the beauty of 200 varieties of dahlias in full bloom literally across the street. If you ever find yourself in the Northwest in the Fall, this might be a test to put on your calendar.