Western Pennsylvania Earthdog Club
August 19-20, 2006 at Woodside, Champion, Pennsylvania

By Karla Deithorn, AKC subject matter expert*

The Western Pennsylvania Earthdog Club held its Earthdog tests Aug. 19-20 at Woodside in Champion, Penn. Club members were present in force! Bob Patterson, the club's recording secretary, zipped around the grounds preparing den areas and providing miscellaneous necessities. Cookie Nee, club vice president, and Marge Snyder, president, made sure exhibitors and judges had plenty to eat and drink. Bob Fensterer and his wife, Marsha, did a superb job at the secretary table taking entries and answering questions. And all the other club members made the exhibitors feel right at home.

Judge Brenda Weintraub started the events on Saturday morning with a Master class of three braces. Her walk-up through the lower hayfield included some natural dens that made it interesting for the dogs. Weintraub only had one qualifier, but Judge M.A. Klein had three qualifiers the second day. Scenting conditions on Sunday were better, which seemed to help the dogs on their walk up through the woods.

On Saturday, Randy Eltringham did a great job judging the Junior class. Klein and Eltringham judged the Senior classes on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Both days a few of the dogs passed, and others are sure to pass at upcoming trials.

On Sunday, after Hannelore Heller got a Senior leg on her standard Longhaired Dachshund, we were all treated to some birthday cake after we sang, "Happy Birthday" to Hannelore. We celebrated her 80th birthday one day early! It is such a joy to see someone of Hannelore's stature out competing with her show dogs in Earthdog tests.

Klein judged Introduction to Quarry (IQ) on Saturday. The exhibitors always enjoy her help regardless of whether they qualify. On Sunday, Brenda Weintraub, another judge well-loved by novices, judged IQ.

As usual for the Western Pennsylvania Earthdog tests, we were treated to the pyrotechnics of a summer mountain thunderstorm. Despite the thunder and lightning, the rain created the good scenting conditions for the Sunday Master class dogs to have more success in their quest for Master legs.

It has been a long time since I have been able to run my own dogs in Earthdog, and it was great to feel the thrill of earning a leg toward a title again!

If you can fit it into your 2007 schedule, watch the club's website for its spring training weekend and 2007 summer Earthdog tests.

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*Editor's note: AKC Subject Matter Expert Karla Deithorn attended this event as a participant. She has been participating in Earthdog Tests and Dachshund Field Trials for more than 20 years.