Robin's Track From Another Perspective

by Man
(as told to Pat Etchells)


My name is Man. I don't know why I got that handle, since I am a vinyl squeaky dog. But I spend my life in a tracking bag, and I own an obnoxious black and tan Cocker named Robin. I say own, because I have such power over her. Just mention my name and she starts shaking with excitement about tracking.

The car ride that morning seems like any other. Robin is a little messier than usual because the Lady put oil all over her coat, but otherwise there isn't anything too much out of the ordinary. We get to a building, and I hear a lot of strange dogs barking. That's not too abnormal, because in my life as a car toy, I get to go a lot of different places. Robin is sitting in her crate while the Lady gets her caffeine fix, but she watches as big flags are brought back and put by a car.

All of a sudden the Lady runs to the car and tells Robin she drew the first track, which Anna had laid over by the school. We quickly get over there and the Lady gets me out of the tracking bag and makes a big deal about handing me to Joanne. "Here we go again," I think. "Joanne is going to stick me in her glove and drop me down in a cold field for a while until that little monster comes to abuse me." (Sometimes I've been lucky in that the Lady carries me in her pocket and just tosses me down for those silly teeth to tear into once Robin has found the glove.) But today is different, because the Lady whispers to Joanne over Robin's head not to take me into the field.

So I watch from by the car as Robin and the Lady cross over the road and Robin gets into her harness. The Lady thinks it would be a good idea if they walked a straight line toward the two flags, but Robin wants to check for whatever varmints had been in the field. Finally they get to the first flag. The field smells are still enticing, but Robin also notices a constant heavier scent. It isn't Joanne, but sometimes tracks aren't. (Why, once she even got to track Dad). Robin has left the starting flag - sort of, but the Lady is standing still while Robin plays. Then the Lady reminds Robin about me and that she is supposed to be tracking. Finally they take off down the first leg, now that Robin has it through her head that she isn't trying to find rabbits or mice or squirrels. About 60 yards from the first flag, Robin runs out of scent straight ahead. She is sure the track makes an open angle toward the edge of the woods, but the Lady doesn't think so. So Robin checks around a little more then tells the Lady again that she's sure it goes that way. This time the Lady follows. We don't hear a whistle, so obviously Robin's nose is better than the Lady's brain.

They do several more turns, this time without so much doubt from the Lady. Then Robin runs out of scent again. There are trees ahead of her and trees to her left side, and she still hasn't found me, so the track has to be somewhere to the right. The Lady gets her to circle, but she's not picking up anything. Then the Lady remembers all those times Joanne had yelled at her to back up. She does, and Robin finds the leg. At this point I can sense the Lady saying, "Where's Man, Where's Man? Man has to be somewhere." All of a sudden Robin finds the glove and puts her nose in it to check for me. (But remember I'm still waiting in the gallery.) The Lady picks up the glove and waves it, and we hear a big cheer. Robin runs toward the parking lot, and there I am. She gives me What For for not being in the field, then starts telling me all about her great adventure. The Lady is hugging a lot of people, everyone is acting happy, and the judges are congratulating her. Robin isn't paying too much attention because she has me! But she says I must now give her some respect and call her Deerhill Rockin' Robin, CD, TD.

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