Saturday, March 31, 2007

Real Earthdog!

Today a cold front is swept through Missouri. It pushed a squall line before it. A series of small but very intense storms. At 3:00, when I was supposed to be practicing Earthdog at Jenn's house on her above-ground tunnels it was pouring rain. Training cancelled.

By 5:30, the storms had dissolved to high scudding clouds and the dogs and I headed to Bradford. Being several hundred acres of very gently rolling open ground, Bradford tends to be a wind and weather attractor. I got out of the car into straight-line winds of 35-40 mph. The grass was tipped in silver as it bent to the gusts, rippling stiffly, an almost undiscernable hiss below the full-throated roar in my ears. Our way out, we were pushed by the pressure out of the Southwest, the dogs springing up dashes of water as they ran.

I headed straight north, then East on one of the farm roads. Zipper, in front of me, nosed, stopped dead, and jumped back a foot, then ran forward again. He'd found a mostly-dead vole. He dispatched it then took off with it. He wasn't quite sure what to do with it though. He dropped it in a nearby field then stood over it. I praised him highly and picked him up with it in his mouth. Fortunately he dropped it soon after. We turned and came back. Walking west into the wind meant leaning forward and gasping a bit. I turned the corner South and Zipper was off again, this time at a field edge. He hunted then started digging--a mouse nest!

So though Zipper may never get an AKC Earthdog title, he's proven he can hunt vermin, even in a roaring gale. He can dig out mice nests too. He was very proud of himself!

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