Finger Lakes Kennel Club

Finger Lakes Kennel Club Earthdog Tests
July 21-22, 2007 - Newark Valley, NY
By Barbara Teigen, AKC executive field representative

The Finger Lakes Kennel Club marked its 10th year of hosting Earthdog tests in Newark Valley in the beautiful Finger Lakes Region of western New York state last weekend. Held at the home of Judy Loeffler, earthdog aficionados couldn't have asked for a prettier or more pleasant place to enjoy a weekend of ratting with their small terriers and Dachshunds. There were permanent dens for each class and excellent food service from the grill. Even the weather cooperated.

Saturday's test started with a welcome from Test Chairman Marg Pough. Then the Master class was off and running. While none of the six entrants achieved a qualifying score, there were some good performances and one unfortunate bee sting. But, Valentine, a West Highland White Terrier, recovered quickly and came back to run again on Sunday. Duane Pulford of Minnesota was the judge for both Master and Senior on Saturday, and the Senior entrants didn't let him down with four of them passing that day. Four was the number of the day as there were also four qualifiers in Dawn Martin's Junior class as well as Maria Sacco's Intro class. After the conclusion of the test, committee members offered training help to those who wished to stay. Numerous dogs and handlers got assistance developing their earthdog skills.

Sunday saw the same six dogs attempting Master again on a completely different walk up from the day before. This one crossed a set of very infrequently used railroad tracks and offered a change from what dogs usually encounter. There was also the lure of the neighboring golf course, which a couple of the dogs had been drawn to over the weekend. The golfers seemed as interested in what was going on at the earthdog tests as the dogs were in the golf course. Despite those distractions, Judge Lou Herczeg saw three of the six qualify in Master.

Test Secretary Susan Deibert kept everything running smoothly with the tremendous help of the stewards, Marg, and everyone else who pitched in to help. Susan got her reward for a job well done on Sunday when her Welsh Terrier, Julie, completed her Senior Earthdog title after a five-year drought between legs two and three. Earthdog folks are persistent, and it often pays off.

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