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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So my free blog host is no longer offering free, so I have to move all my posts to a new site which I haven't found, yet... but I thought I might post a few of my retellings here as I had not read them for years..

SLIPPITY DOO DA

It has been an odd winter where I live this year. Extreme cold but not moisture, then tons of moisture but warmer temps. I prefer snow. It balances things and is the least messy of the wintery mixes that can be offered. So when we finally got the right temps with moisture for a good snowstorm, AND the offer to lay trail from some family members who never want to, I was excited. I think my dogs knew something was up and if I thought they were my shadows before, I had a new experience to go by. Every movement had a furry body glued to it, so much so that a hospital visit seemed inevitable. For every turn was a near trip to the floor. When finally I ushered them outside it was met with leaps of joy and doggie jujitsu - a favorite for both dogs. I let them play the explosive part of their energy out before loading them up into the car. I would know the PLS and the end destination; we would have lunch afterwards, other than that it would be blind.

Snow had begun a few hours earlier and was now intensifying; something I enjoy immensely, but my tracklayers aren't to thrilled with. Still, they bundle up and show a determination I both admire and appreciate. Scent articles are left with me and I give them a dog treat each; I am not sure which dog I will start with or on whose trail. Once they are both in place I will be called and I can start a dog. I try to act nonchalant in the car while waiting, anything I can do to throw the dogs off and make them think I am just running chores. Unfortunately, I am not to good at this and the whining and pacing intensify as the hour creeps by. Finally I receive the phone call (an hour later) and I have decided to throw my usual routine away and pull my girl out first. Usually I do my boy for his exhuberance is over the top and I am worried it might turn into the 'car munchies' and destruction of my beloved automobile. This change in routine throws both dogs, but I can see my girl feels honored she is chosen and presents her head for harnessing. I kiss my boys nose and let hin know that he will have his turn, and while this does not pacify him, it placates him enough I can finish harnessing my girl without barks of frustration in my ear.

Once unloaded I can see my girls nose twitching as she tries to guess which odor she will be asked to follow and I find myself smiling - I do so enjoy this partnership with my dogs, and I know they do too. I offer the scent article to my girl and quickly throw it in the car and lock it, run to snap the line to her harness and leave the barking ensemble my boy is performing. DOT is quickly gotten and my girl is moving at a steady jog. The snow is blinding and occassional snowflakes get sucked down my windpipe causing me to cough. Any footprints left have been erased by the cars and heavy snow falling. Unfortunately, this wonderful white stuff is also doing a phenomenal job of covering the slippery stuff: ICE. As I jog behind my girl at a steady clip, random steps make contact with ice patches and I slip across like a reindeer doing the Charleston after too many eggnogs. Once my balance is resumed I beg my girl to slow down and give me a heads up before I reach those ice patches, but she is in her zone and following odor.

We reach the hospital and I figure now would be the perfect time to do the face plant I know is in my future, but my girl turns to the left and drags me down the next street with relative safety- I am still on my feet. In between my ice skating performances, I marvel at the beauty and silence the snow provides. The trees are magically adorned with white globs of snow ornaments and the unsightly cracks in the road now create beautiful formations of snow columns. My girl is working beautifully and the dampening of sound, the hallowed muting that a good snowing brings sets my senses on high. God is so good!

It isn't but the next block where my girls nose guides her to the left but then she stops and circles, doubles back up then back down the side street. I can see there is some puzzlement to direction of travel for the track, but as to why I can only assume. Perhaps a car rolled over it, backed out of their driveway and up the road a bit as they turned, then forward - causing the snow to layer itself with fresh and old odor...who knows? Either way, my girl makes a decision to continue on the original street we were going down before the turn. I jog behind her a bit puzzled and wondering if we are on track or 'fringe' odor. Several areas of craftily concealed ice bring my Dumbo on ice routine out in the open; one of the few times my draft horse pulling dog is of great asset for her forward pull helps stabilize me enough to keep me on my feet, albeit in an embarrassing way. A head pop to her right and I know we are about to cross the street towards the town park, and the street made just for ice capades.

My girl is working well, I can feel the strength and determination verberate through the line; this is what I love! The communion between two animals toward a common goal, subtle unspoken signals flow constantly between the leather umbilical that connects us. As I revel in the moment my girl veers to the right and snow embankment bordering the park. My first thought is that it odd my subject would make life more difficult for herself and cross through the park in the deeper snow; although in some ways, it was safer due to the icy road. About the time I commit to trekking into the large snow bank, my girl aborts her plan and returns to the road, this action by naturec, causes me to course correct... onto the wonderfully laid ice patch. It is always amazing to me how many thoughts and observations can take place in a split second. Noticing the squirrel perched on the tree limb watching me and my girl, the snow in pellet form, cascading in column fashion, trees drooping from their white burden; thoughts of how many people will see me do a frantic dance before a face plant, how bad this will hurt, will anyone notice to call 911, should I have a will? These considerations funneled through my mind as my foot hit the ice, I knew I had no purchase and so, instinctually, placed my other foot forward in hopes that traction would be found - to no avail. My ice capades dance was now in full swing (cue music), each attempt to find grip and balance was followed by a marionette on meth performance, complete with swinging arms, and perfect prisyadka (russian dance move where the knees are bent deep and they kick out) in an all out attempt to stay vertical. This whole scenario is of course being played out while moving forward, being drug by a dog which normally would end a disasterous heap, however, in this chapter, her propulsion while adding to the animated antics and new dance moves, also took me out of the (large) ice patch onto some ground where cohesion would take place. The applause from the squirrel were not lost on me...

The thing with trailing is, you go where your dog goes, so I barely have time to catch my breath and praise God for averting a crash when I am placed into a new situation, almost identical to the last, but with a street thrown in. Thankfully, I had enough time to leap to the snow barrier (which was not soft and fluffy as one might imagine) and escape an encore performance. My girl is hot on the trail, and thus pretty much immune to my pleas to slow down, the jerking on the line from my rebalancing attempts are ignored; she knows her job and nothing is going to stop her. She swings to the right and heads towards the highway (great...not). I manage to gasp out, "Slow down baby, or you are finishing this on your own," and to my surprise, she downshifts a gear or two and I am able to walk, grab a few icy breaths of much needed oxygen, do a quick physical check (yup, chiropractor will be needed) and nod to my girl; we are ready to go. I choke up on the line as we jog parallel to the busy road. When she takes me to the intersection and pulls hard, I know we need to cross. I quickly look for all black ice looking areas, and when the coast is clear, we jog across, my heart in my throat. I am praying my subject had compassion and decided not to continue next to the hwy, which thankfully, she did.

My girl heads up and into the residential side of the town and away from the hwy. Her pace has quickened and I know we are having proximity alerts. Periods of traction loss keep me from fully focusing on her, for I am often sliding and wonderf if I should have just attached ski's to my feet instead. We do a couple more turns before heading back towards our end destination: Subway. Through the car wash parking lot (complete with ice), and around the building of the food establishment. My subject sees us from the window and comes out to reward my girl who truly did a remarkable job. I am thrilled with her performance, and that I am alive and whole. Notes are compared and my girl was on top of the track except in two places. One was where she acted like it was a backtrack and opted to continue on the same street (the subject had walked down the alleyway, about a 50ft difference but parallel). And the ending, she did an extra block over before cutting back towards the end spot. I am exhausted from trying to stay on my feet, but I have my boy to run; thankfully, he doesn't pull as hard and moves a bit slower :) A hot bath and some pain meds will by my afternoon treat
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
oh I do hope you find a good home for it. I enjoy your posts so much.
aww, thank you ❤... I'm looking... hard to find free sites.. I will probably post a couple of old ones here on occasion until I find a home, then the new ones will be up front and the older ones below
 

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It is becoming like photo sites, where it seemed like we had all the storage space we wanted (talking to you Google) and now they are telling us to shell out money. Guess ad revenue isn't enough anymore. I don't mind paying a small fee for MeWe since they don't run ads, but no one could read your blog there without being a member.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It is becoming like photo sites, where it seemed like we had all the storage space we wanted (talking to you Google) and now they are telling us to shell out money. Guess ad revenue isn't enough anymore. I don't mind paying a small fee for MeWe since they don't run ads, but no one could read your blog there without being a member.
Yeah, like all things money talks.. My old blog site had over 14k visits, which is alot considering it is SAR trailing and not promoted... But not enough to drive revenue to the host site, although they are stopping free altogether..

Here is another oldie but goodie

Indestructibly...distructable...
When you do SAR or any other type of activity that puts you out in the elements, you try to use items that are durable and have redundant systems to lighten the load... My smartphone is one of those items... GPS, maps, light, communication and so much more, it is a valued item - so I protect it with the toughest of cases... A recent upgrade got me a phone touted to be pretty much indistructable..YAY!.. I even put a tough as nails case on top of it to insure that the time I dropped/sat/crushed/pinned or any other random clumsy or gravity motivated event happened, it would remain in great shape....mm hmm..

During a wonderfully cooler than normal summer day I was working my girl on a suburban trail... It was a single blind aged trail (single blind being that some component of the trail was known to me; in this case beginning direction of travel).. The start was from my house which presented a host of layered smells of cross traffic of various ages from her subject and all occupants of the house... A very realistic scenario and one I try to present to my dogs often... My girl in great form worked throught the cacophony of noise odor and found the exit trail and started on the trail... She has a cute way of bouncing with her hind end when she is working a trail of someone she loves and for her, her tail is the 'window to her soul'... She jogged (I jogged/ran ) along reading the natural clues of an odor trail left behind... At the road she swung north and headed up the street.... The wind was blowing about 10mph from the northeast and the temps were in the low 70's as opposed to 90's, so she and I were thoroughly enjoying the day and chance to hone our skills... As we neared a pasture, I mentally checked the pressure points each item in my pockets made: radio in upper left pant leg, check... knife in right upper pocket, check.... cell phone in back pants pocket, check... My girl hung a right into a pasture and crossed the land bridge over the river... Her pace didn't slag but the now uneven terrain was making me look like a newborn foal trying to find its footing... I quickly asked (begged) my girl to 'SLOW UP' and set my weight against the line a bit to enforce the request... A disgusted look from my girl followed, but she obliged for about ten paces (gee thanks)....

As she guided me to some tall reeds (my first clue missed that things were going to go downhill fast) I noticed she stopped (I gasped for air) and air scented a bit.. I interpreted it as the tall reeds blocking the scent trail or inhibiting the naural flow of air that was coming from the open pasture.... She dropped her nose again and did a side to side movement before disappearing into the reeds....Now, to those in the know, the change from hay pasture to reeds shouts a change in water supply or ground texture... I knew this and my only defense is I was oxygen deprived from the long jog over uneven terrain... That is my story and I am sticking to it... I followed my girl who had disappeared in the 6ft tall blind and as I walked I heard the tell tale 'squish' that told me I was close to the creek... I quickly looked down and saw what looked like a two foot wide flow of running water..."Ahh, no problem," I thought, "I will just hop over this and be on my way..." Famous last words...

What my wonderfully athletic girl had neglected to telegraph through the line was that the two foot long creek was actually just a small stream and once my agile body bounded across onto solid land, the next step was going to be a nice 6ft deep descent into COLD fetid water.... I instinctively put my arm out and stopped my descent.. gasping for air because that water was cold cold... My mind quickly processed the scenario and I could hardly believe I had stepped into such a deep creek that was only about a FOOT wide!! I felt the tug of the line which my hand hadn't let go of and knew my girl had (safely) passed the swamp and had found odor she wanted to follow.. The next thought was about the electronics in my pockets getting wet... I managed to pull my soggy body out and instinctively looked around to see what audience I had... Nobody but a crow coughing out its laughter at a stupid human not watching her step... I pulled out my cell phone and checked to see if it was still alive.. It was!! I pulled out the radio and checked in with my subject - one to see if the radio worked, and two to see if my dog was playing a practical joke on me and lured me into this trap as payback for some unknown trespass... It wasn't a joke, my subject had, thoughtfully and carefully I might add, crossed through the tall reeds, jumped the two foot creek (and landed a thigh and leg in it) and avoided the cavernous but narrow underworld of cold water... I shivered as the once friendly wind sliced through my body....

Have you ever noticed that waterproof boots become swimming pools for your feet when they fill with water? No? Well they do!! I slogged/squished with each step which of course was a stumbling type jog as my girl continued on with her job... I was a little disgruntled that she didn't even come to check on her mama, after all, if she had fallen in I would have ...ok, laghed, but after I stopped I would have checked to be sure she was alright... I was proud that she could work through the noise of my chattering teeth and stay focused on her job.... We were surrounded by tall reeds and every squishy step had me paranoid I was going to fall through the ground into my soggy grave, but my girl lead me deftly through the path and into a tree line... that was surrounded by that wonderful creek...that expanded to about 20ft wide and probably a hundred feet deep (not really but I wasn't going to test that theory)... I could see she could air scent her subject and was giving me proximity alerts... She danced at the bank and looked for a safe way to cross.... There wasn't...

Just like my subject had to do, we backtracked a ways to a place where probably a herd of deer had bedded down allowing for a clearer view of where the water traps were at... My subject had dunked the other leg in going back over, but I had her beat as I had gone neck deep already, so I cleared this round of creek hoppping with just a little toe dip....Once again, my girl cleared it with no problem.. A U turn at the tree line and a weave through branches and tree limbs had us face to face with a grinning subject... My girl got her treats and my subject a good laugh... I pulled my phone out of my saturated pocket to compare trails, and sure enough, my indistructable phone had an achilles heel...water... Ggrrreeeaatt... I tell you, it is very costly trying to save a persons life for free!!

On the way back, my girl was loose and bounding through the fields, I was enjoying her grace when suddenly her front end disappeared...HAHAHAHA!! Ooops, yeah, I quickly rushed to her aid, laughing so hard it stopped my teeth from chattering and warmed me up (so she did care about me after all).... She managed to extrecate herself from the watery hole and shook...Unfortunaely, we both needed a serious bath because that water, while clear, stank! Me? I had to buy a new stupid smartphone... A costly mistake I hope I remedied by buying one that is 'waterproof' has a 'lifeproof' case on and goes in a zip lock baggie when running where water has even the potential of showing up..which is everywhere!
 
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