New TDX!

by Joan Luckhardt


Traeloch’s Touched by the Sun RN, CD, TDX (aka Phlaire, which rhymes with Claire) earned her TDX title at the Massachusetts Tracking Club trial in Gardner, MA, on the rolling and rocky hills of their wildlife management area. What made this TDX pass even more special for all of us is that Phlaire had been recovering from  four major surgeries in five months, with the last surgery being five months ago.

Phlaire had abscessing pancreatitis resulting from inflammation of an ulcerated stomach. In one operation, part of the pancreas and two cups of pus were removed. The stomach, which had a pinhole rupture from ingesting double the lethal dose of an arthritis medication (how she got to it remains a mysterious feat of climbing in itself), also caused a septic abdomen; the infections resulted in pyometra and a fourth operation. Compounding all of this, her weakened immune system couldn’t fight off a latent Lyme disease which erupted, and fluids leached from her veins into her tissues, swelling her eyes shut, and her limbs ballooned with fluid. Her life hung in the balance for days. While often sad, her dedication to tracking, we feel, kept her going during the months she spent in the hospital. Her tracking glove and her obedience dumbbell hung from her hospital crate to keep her spirits up. She was seen on her daily walks carrying her tracking glove in her mouth with four nurses in tow, each nurse carrying one of her monitors, and IV bags, with the IV lines taped to each of Phlaire’s legs. Known at the Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center in Langhorne, PA, as their medical miracle, Phlaire has bounced back, getting a clean bill of health with her final checkup before the TDX Trial.

As my arthritis kept me from handling her, her tracking coach, Teryl Lebkuecher, expertly handled her for the TDX. The track was arduous! Phlaire made a good beginning at the start article in a field of ankle-high grass, put her nose to the track, and down a slope she went. Then through high vegetation, she found the entry to the first woods scrambling up and over rocks, the first obstacle, and wove around trees. Phlaire made a right turn in the woods, went another 50 yards and made another right turn and then came out of the woods through dense vegetation, her second obstacle, into a field where she successfully tracked past the cross-tracks, noting them only with a head bob. She identified all articles. Phlaire later crossed a road for her third obstacle.

Overhead flew extremely loud model airplanes as a large model airplane club gathered for a rally. She ignored the planes flying over her field and their interruptions. Although, by this time she was very tired, Phlaire continued to work. She dove into the second woods and over rocks, her fourth obstacle, where after about 80 yards, she downed on the fourth and final article, a glove, successfully passing the TDX. We are all overjoyed at our plucky girl’s accomplishment. Thanks to the Massachusetts Tracking Club for holding the trial, the Judges Mr. Arthur L. Twiss and Michael A. Clemens, and the support and direction of Teryl Lebkuecher.

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