Champion-TD: The Second of Three Generations
Ceili won her first two points in August of 2002.
On February 25, 2007, my Ch. Sagebrush Ceili Music, TD MX MXJ, finally caught up with her mother.
She successfully completed a track at the Sacramento Dog Training Club Tracking Test to become the twenty-second
champion Sheltie to earn a TD title. Her dam, Ch. MACH Apple Acres Sagebrush Kerry, TD PT VCX, had finished her
championship and earned her TD within six days of each other in February 2004. I believe that Kerry and Ceili
are the first pair of parent-offspring Sheltie champions to both earn tracking titles.
Ceili (pronounced “Kaylee”) started tracking as a youngster, but her work was interrupted by
showing in the breed and agility rings, by motherhood, and by my pursuit of a MACH for Kerry. Ceili won her
first breed points in the summer of 2002, before she was two years old. Then she had a long run of reserves,
often to her mother. At Thanksgiving she won her first major, and her second major followed in January, in spite
of her being out of coat. She finished by going Winners Bitch at the Shetland Sheepdog Club of Northern
California Specialty in February 2003. All but her first two points were won from the Bred-By-Exhibitor class.
Ceili started showing in agility before she completed her championship. I ran her throughout
2003, and in 2004 she earned both her AX and AXJ. However, although she thoroughly enjoyed agility, she saw no
reason for the speed that would be needed for a MACH. I retired her after she earned her MXJ at the end of 2005,
a few months before Kerry finished her MACH.
Ceili demonstrates VST tracking at a 2005 workshop.
Meanwhile, we continued tracking on and off. She was near certification at the end of the
tracking season in 2005. But the following autumn the rain was late and the fields were full of foxtails and
thistles that kept us from tracking. She finally was certified on her second try at the end of March 2006, just
in time to not be drawn to run in the last two TD tests of the season.
Map of Ceili's successful TD track, February 5, 2007.
Oh well, certification is good for a year. We had some early rain in the fall of 2006 that made
the fields usable early. However, one of the first practice tracks she ran that fall was in the rain, and she
made it laughably obvious that she didn’t want to be out there at all. I entered her in all three of the
February tracking tests. She was the last alternate for the first. She ended up as the first alternate for the
second test, but she didn’t get to run. After the test, one of the exhibitors laid a short track for Ceili,
which she handled quite well.
But now we were under a time limit. She made the draw for the Sacramento Dog Training Club Test,
but if she didn’t pass, her certifications would expire, and she would have to be re-certified before entering
any further tests.
It rained the week before the test. On test day we got up at 4 am and drove to Sacramento in the
rain–it seems I’m always driving to Sacramento dog events in the dark and the rain. Knowing how she had worked
the last time it was raining, I worried about whether she would track at all. When we arrived at the test site,
the wind was very strong and I was shivering in spite of five layers of clothes.
Ceili drew the ninth track. The raining had stopped by the seventh track, but the wind continued
unabated. She was absolutely enthusiastic about tracking, and tried to pull herself to the start flag while I
was putting her harness on.
Ceili handled all the straight legs very well, but the wind didn’t help her at the turns. She
overshot the first turn, but after looking at me a couple of times with an “Aren’t we done?” look, she worked
her way back to the corner and made the turn to the right. The second turn was the only one where she really
seemed to lose the scent. She searched for a while around the area where I stood before picking up the scent
going off to the left about eight feet ahead of where I stood.
I followed her down the third leg until she lost the track in front of some big coyote brush.
What appeared to be a pair of wheel ruts diagonalled off to the left. The wind had apparently blown the scent
forward into the bushes, so Ceili worked her way up to them. She actually swung around behind one of the bushes
before she ran out of scent and her head came up abruptly.
Then she started working back towards me, and I backed up as she retreated as far as the wheel
ruts. After a bit of casting, she dropped her nose into the right hand rut and started pulling. It wasn’t a
rut after all–it was the fourth leg of her track.
When she got to the fourth turn, she overshot the corner in the wind, but immediately swung
around to the right and worked her way onto the last leg of the track. The last leg went on forever–185 yards
to be exact. I kept expecting another turn. Ceili briefly swung down to a gully full of muddy water, then came
back up to continue tracking in a straight line. She stopped to check out one good-sized burrow, then continued
on her way. Twenty or thirty yards past the burrow, she stopped and sniffed at the ground, then looked back at
me expectantly. “Did you find something?” I asked. She sat. I went up to her and picked up a large work glove.
Ceili had earned her TD.
Ceili and Alicia celebrate with the other successful
teams at the end of her successful TD test.