|Go Find, Flash!
By Kate Eldredge
Hello, my name is Kate Eldredge and I am 14 years old. I have two dogs, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi and an Australian Shepherd. This year my Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Culdi’s Hearts On Fire CD TD NA HSAs CGC (a.k.a. Flash), turned 7 years old. We’ve had a great year, and one of the highpoints was when Flash got her Tracking Dog title this spring at the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America (PWCCA) national specialty tracking test.
Tracking is like search and rescue, but a little lower key. For one thing, the food is always great. In the northeast, there’s no such thing as a tracking test without food. Tracking Dog (TD) is the first level of tracking and consists of a track that’s 30 minutes to 2 hours old, with 3 to 5 turns. Each leg of the track has to be at least 50 yards long (roughly 50 paces). To qualify, your dog has to follow the tracklayer’s scent and clearly indicate the article at the end of the track. The article is usually a glove. The two higher levels of tracking are Tracking Dog Excellent (TDX) and Variable Surface Tracking (VST), both of which are progressively longer and more challenging.
On June 5th, 2004, my mother, Flash, Susan (Flash’s mother) and I drove to Springfield, Massachusetts after spending the day at my school’s first marching band competition. We spent the night in Springfield, and drove to Gardener, Massachusetts the following morning. We were greeted by fellow Corgi and tracking enthusiasts and before long it was time to draw tracks. The drawing of tracks (choosing the order in which you will run) can be as simple and ordinary as picking a number out of a hat or very creative. At one test, each exhibitor got to choose a box of chocolate with a number on the bottom! For this test, 4 gloves were placed on the ground, each one with a number inside it. I chose the glove that had number 1.
I was led down to the start of my track by one of the judges, Arthur Twiss, while the other judge, Suzanne White, and the tracklayer followed behind us. At the start flag I told Flash to, “Go find!” and we were off. My track covered two fields of tall grass. Luckily, the grass was fairly thin and Flash plowed through easily, sniffing all the way. There were 5 turns, and Flash didn’t have trouble with any of them. Not long after the 5th turn, Flash picked up a glove and shook it. Knowing she had found the article, I picked it up and waved at the judges. From the top of a nearby hill, I could hear my mother and all the other spectators cheering. Flash knew she had done a good job, and was running circles around me, barking all the way.
After I gave Flash treats and water, I headed out to watch the other tracks. Unfortunately, one of the TD dogs didn’t pass. However, three of us did. After all the TDs had been run, we took a lunch break, feasting on subs and baked goods. Like I said, the food’s great! Afterwards, qualifying ribbons and pewter plates with the PWCCA logo were given out to the three qualifiers. The three TDX tracks were run after that, two of which qualified.
All in all, a good day.