Scout has passed the first two of three tests he must complete before being mission ready. We have to prove that as a team we can conduct an area search of 80 acres within a four-hour period. Scout must find an unfamiliar person and come back to me to signal he has made the find. His signal is a spin. Then he must lead me to the "lost" person.
Searching poses a challenge not only for my dog but for me as well. In the process I have obtained a Ham radio license and passed tests regarding protection of a crime scene, a field certification test, and a course on the spread of infectious diseases. We were nearly there when the covid-19 hit. Our group practices have been cancelled and travel restricted. This has been a setback, but we are confident that when training resumes Scout will be brought quickly up to speed.
Stay safe, everyone!
Sandra and Scout
I had the opportunity to travel to Botswana during the dry season, early August 2019. We stayed at three camps, the first two being land based. The parks we visited included Nxai Pan and Moremi; then we traveled to Kasane and boarded the Pangolin Voyager that docked along the Chobe River that forms the boundary between Botswana and Namibia.
It was a fabulous trip; the accommodations were great and we got some great photos. Check out the Kenya and South Africa pages of my website.
Scout joined Sandia Search Dogs, a volunteer not-for-profit organization, last year September when he passed the test for prey and hunt drive with flying colors. Since then he has proven to be an enthusiastic team member. He passed his first test and is getting ready for his Basic II test, which challenges him to find a person hidden in a 20-acre area within an hour. He is being trained to detect human odor in the wind, so as the handler I am required to figure out where the wind is coming from so I can place him at the downwind side(s) of the area. He also needs to come when called, be able to heel off leash, and be friendly to people and other dogs. I am proud of his progress. Wish us luck in our upcoming test.
If you read this blog you'll read about my dog. Scout is a Belgian Malinois, born October 26, 2017. He has all the qualities of a Mal, good and, well, mal. I have raised two German Shepherds and this breed is NOT a smaller version, of GSDs, although many mistake him for one. Mals are smaller, lighter, and more streamlined. Also, they have been portrayed as GSDs on steroids. I would have to agree.
Mals need a job. The job I chose for him is to search for missing persons in the NM wilderness. It is a tall order--training takes up to two years. Scout and I will both be challenged. We joined the Sandia Search Dog team in ABQ last September and so far Scout is up to the task.
Future blogs will be a potpouri of dog stories and travel narratives. Thanks for joining us on our journeys.
BLOOMIN' FLOWERS: CALIFORNIA TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY
When my friend, Debbie, suggested we meet in Southern California last January I had no idea that we would be visiting a desert alive with blooms, resulting from the record rain this winter. We were lucky, and hadn't realized the timing of our visit would be so good.
We drove from San Diego to the Borrego State Park, where temperatures reach the 120s in the summer heat. In March the highs were in the 60's--perfect for hiking. See below for a few of my fav pix from the visit.
If you read my blog you will read about my dog. Scout was born on October 26, 2017; a Belgian Malanois. Scout is as Mal as they come. He insists on constant attention, loves being petted, and above all is a toy hound. His addiction to toys is known in the vernacular as "high drive." I have had the pleasure to raise two German Shepherd Dogs (GSD). Mals are not a smaller, lighter version of GSDs. They are more like GSDs on steroids! These dogs need a job and at least twice daily vigorous exercise.
My chosen job for Scout is searching. He joined the Sandia Search Dog team in ABQ last September and loves the hunt for "lost" (in training this means hidden) people. It seems simple: the subject walks off with a toy and when he finds the person, through sniffing the air for discarded skin cells, he is rewarded with a toy and lots of play. In fact, training is challenging, lengthy, and requires skill--which I hope I am developing. To become certified as a handler/dog duo takes a year and a half to two years. Lots of fun in store. In this blog I will continue updating you on Scout's progress and add some notes on my travels, some of which will include him. Thanks for coming along on this journey.
Galeria de Corrales
Spring Bouquet Reception
April 8th, 2018, 1:00 – 4:00 PM
Galeria de Corrales will have a reception Sunday, April 8th.
Come celebrate Spring with a bouquet of flower related art!
Galeria de Corrales is a cooperative art gallery tucked away in the rustic village of Corrales that has been in operation since 2009. It currently houses 14 artists exhibiting stunning works of art.
Reception 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
SUNDAY, April 8th, 2018
3923 CORRALES ROAD
CORRALES, NEW MEXICO
505 890 4929
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit Sequim (pronounced squim), Washington, with friends and to spend a few days surrounded by lavender fields.
The lavender festival was slated for the following weekend, but the early blooms were luscious and the aroma sweet and pervasive.
Noisy neighbors lived next door, however. The two peacocks and rooster started bellowing around 4 am. The sound was to say the least, piercing, unmuted by open windows, and each morning startled me awake.
Although I consider myself a "morning person" 4 am (3 am ABQ time) is a ridiculous hour for rising.
Nevertheless, the premature arousal gifted me with a begrudged opportunity to stroll the grounds at sunrise and take it all in, solo. I took a few pictures to remind me of the visit. Hope you like them.
As you can see I am experimenting with the "painterly look." The lavender seems to lend itself to a blurred mass of color. Do you agree?
A few more images can be viewed by clicking the button,
"This week's featured images."
Every time I get ready to go on a trip that requires air travel I worry about the gear. I don't trust checking luggage containing my camera gear. Too risky. That means I must carry it on. I have a large rolling bag that fits under the seat if not in the upper bins, but if I must put it there my knees are closer to my nose than the floor. On a recent trip to Chile I had to do this. Not on the Chilean Airline (Latam) mind you, but on the small United jet that carried me from Houston to ABQ.
This past Memorial Day weekend was memorable for us. We visited the Vietnam War Memorial and Eagle Nest and took Foxy on her first long trip. There were a number of firsts:
There were disappointments as well. We bought a hummingbird feeder and placed it on the window. We were hearing hummers everywhere. One buzzed the feeder but did not stop.
The previous day while hiking I was startled by a male broadtail hummingbird who flew almost into my face and hovered in striking distance of my right eye. He then flew at my head and I could feel his bill as he probed each of the three vent holes in my red cap. Then as quickly as he had joined us he flew away (presumably in disgust).
The other disappointment was the notably poor trail markings on the various hikes in Cimarron Canyon. There were signs that marked trailheads but no information about length, elevation gain, or anything else. We blundered onto a couple of trails but lost our way and had to turn back. Disappointing, especially since we were required to pay a $5 fee each day for the privilege.
Took the bikes on a nice trail along the lake, though, home to many prairie dogs who announced our presence in sequence as we rode along down the path.