Mace Goes to Maryland

by Teryl Lebkuecher


When it comes to tracking, I am very lucky. I have entered Mace in three TDX trials and I have gotten in each one. What are the chances of that? Sunday, March 27, off we go to the Oriole Dog Club Tracking Test. Bev Olsen was in the co-pilot seat with her dog Rain who was running in the TD test. The weather was cloudy and cool…perfect. The drive was easy and the site was just fit for tracking. My draw was at 9:30 which was just about the time that Bev was to run her track. Since we traveled together, I had to drive Bev to a field near to her track and race off to make my draw. I felt terrible leaving Bev and Rain standing alone in a cold field. This was a six TDX track test. I drew the first track. There is my luck again. Track one…could not ask for better.

The judges were ready, I was ready, Mace was ready and there was the start flag. Mace walked around a bit at the flag but soon took off straight ahead. At this point in Mace’s tracking life, I just follow him where ever he takes me. He knows if he is right, he gets a big reward. If he is wrong, he gets nothing. Mace wants the reward. Certainly, I was going to follow him now; there was no other choice. First turn seemed to come quickly. I was very pleased to get past the first turn. Now I would be happy as hell to get to the first article. On a very bare stretch of the track I spotted a very brightly colored article. I wasn’t sure what it was, too far away to tell. Mace goes right up to it and sits. It was a handmade mitten with every color yarn you could think of. Nice choice for an article! Mace continued on. A turn or two…I was not counting. The track went down a hill and up the other side. Mace was heading toward some sort of horse panels. The track goes through these things? Again I see a very bright orange and grey thing lying in amongst the panels. Mace sits. It is a hunting sock. On we go. I was sure we should go to the left…seemed logical but Mace was going right. I was going with him. If he was wrong at this point, I would still have been very happy. He was working very hard and had come a long way. Mace goes straight toward a couple of large piles of stone. What was this? The dog was climbing over the piles. At one point he walked up a ramp that was near the stones. I was waiting to hear the whistle. No whistle. I thought I would just let Mace work it out. He circled around a bit. I backed up a couple of yards and off he went. Thank goodness, I really wanted to get away from those stones. At this point, I thought the end of the track was near…it had to be…the dog was running out of handler. I kept looking for the glove as we came down a hill through the trees. What I thought was the glove turned out to be a chunk of bark. Mace did check this out but continued on.

We were now close to a walking path. As I saw the glove ahead of us, two men were walking on the path. It was so quiet that the men’s voices carried through the woods. Mace stopped and stared at them. “Look at that dog. Those ears are so big it looks like a rabbit. He’s a funny looking dog!” Mace was within 50 yards of the glove. I was worried that the man’s comments would hurt Mace’s feelings and he would quit. The men passed by and Mace went happily to the glove and sat. I guess Mace is used to being called a funny looking dog! The only thing that could have made this a better day would have been if Bev had been watching. She would have seen that all of the work she put into both Mace and I paid off. Once again, thank you, Bev. We couldn't have done it without you.

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