Mr. Black Nose Earns a “T”

by Joanne MacKinnon


BIT O’ SKYE’S DIAMOND CHIP, a Golden Retriever owned and bred by Joanne MacKinnon, earned his Tracking Title at the Burlington County Kennel Club test held on Sunday, November 26, 1995.

Chipper ran a near perfect track in a chickweed-covered field next to a busy highway while small airplanes were flying low over his head. His start was a little slower and more hesitant than usual (this gave me heart failure right off the start). He finally sorted through the scents to identify the one to follow. Once he made his decision he never doubted himself and I never doubted him. Our only slight confusion came when he overran a turn by a few feet and had to work himself back to find the next leg (in the course of it all he got the tracking line caught under one leg and I had to untangle it - will I lever learn good lead handling?) One more turn and we were on our way to the glove. The thrill of seeing THE GLOVE “smack dab” in front of us was wonderful. Chip picked it up, and I jumped up and down making a noise somewhat like an Indian war whoop! Even though this is my third dog to earn a Tracking Title, the thrill gets better each time. The very best part of the whole tracking experience is the partnership you form with your dog, putting your trust in him, having him succeed and celebrating together! I WAS SO PROUD OF MY CHIPPER!

My partnership with Chip began the moment he was born. Pat Etchells, who was lending a much-needed hand during the whelping, named him Mr. Black Nose because his nose was black when he was born, not pink like his litter mates. During the wait at the Vet’s office while mom Ruby was being checked out for a possible problem, Mr. Black Nose proceeded to nuzzle Pat and managed to find the warmth under her sweatshirt. Little did we realize what a wonderful nose he had! Once home again as mom and puppies settled in, I soon realized that Mr. Black Nose was having a problem suckling. He would have nothing to do with bottle feeding, so several times a day I would hold him in place so he could get nourishment form Ruby. Once he was strong enough, he would push the big guys out of the way to get to the best spigots. He had to do it HIS WAY!

I was so pleased that Pat was able to be on hand to see Chipper earn his “T” since she is his chief tracklayer and certainly deserves to share in his success., You certainly appreciate a friend like Pat who is always there to lend support, whether helping to whelp a litter, laying track or just listening as you gripe about this or that. Thanks Pat!!

I also want to thank Lenape Tracking Club for its support through the years. It is great to be part of a group of “fellow trackers.” Whether getting together to share ideas, trade tracking tales or helping newcomers get the right start, Lenape members are great.

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