Back in 2009 I was wandering around the web and came across a video of dogs doing a new sport called “nosework”. I was fascinated. I looked for more info and discovered that there would be a seminar held in WA state in January 2010. I contacted the host and asked if a “5 month old puppy would be allowed”. The answer was yes so I registered for the seminar and made my way south to Woodinville WA.
This seminar was led by Ron Gaunt with whom I later spent many seminars…. learning and questioning and hearing “it depends”.
I spent 4 years taking classes in WA state and when a trial was offered within a day’s drive, I entered. This first trial required that I take an Odour Recognition Test which I found in Lake Oswego, OR. It was a 7 hr drive for a 01:27 min test after which we happily jumped in the car and drove another 7 hour trip home.
I invested in a Nexus pass so border crossing was more efficient and quickly learned that I was noted in their computer…. sometimes crossing quickly with “on your way” and other times, being questioned about dogs, dog food, equipment and length of stays. A favourite crossing was when Ron Gaunt was in the passenger seat. Not knowing of his high level of “security clearance” I was slack-jawed as I witnessed salutes, heel clicks, “sir, yes SIR!” on that trip. For a year afterwards I quickly crossed the border with nods.
The first trial is a bit of a blur except to say it was held at an armoury where dogs and handlers wove in between military parades, the arrival of the general by helicopter and lawn ornaments of life-like coyotes. At the awards ceremony they called my name over and over to come get speed ribbons and our title ribbon. What a “piece of cake!” I thought. Future trials were never that easy as the searches were more complex and a challenge of nature.
What fun it was to accompany friends to trials. Volunteering and competing, the awards ceremonies were a special time to cheer each other on. Until the stats were tallied, we didn’t know who would win the ribbons or take home the coveted title ribbons. It was a time of excitement and cheering while friends retrieved their ribbons and had their pictures taken. Nosework friends came together to practice, to travel to events and learn from detection experts.
Now years later and a good amount of whining about NOT getting into trials, we struck gold and found ourselves in three consecutive competitions. Familiar faces of friends with their wonderful seasoned companions or new, spunky canines excited to find “stink” and we delighted ourselves in sharing stories and encouragement in the parking lots.
The Stats (minimum)
35 trials ($127 USD avg = $4445 USD)
15425km (9584 m) and approx 260 driving hrs.
31930km (19840m) over 4 yrs. $1200 USD
4464km (2773m) minimum $2700 USD
I dedicate the ELT-CH title to my dog Edge! who is the best partner and teacher. Side by side. PRICELESS!
And to Ron Gaunt… with deepest affection and respect!