What a good Christmas story. Griffin, a trained tracking dog belonging to North Vancouver dog trainer Maureen Fielding goes out to track Ellie Mae, another dog trained in tracking but having gone lost in our Northern woods. As Griffin gets the scent of Ellie Mae and flushes her out of the bushes, he himself goes lost. Griffin is a shy dog and while sighted many times, turns and runs into the perceived safety of the woods on multiple occasions. There are many signs that the large group of volunteers, out alone or with their dogs, are on the right track. A den, a bloody paw print, tracks in the mud. Griffin is lost for a full week and Maureen does not give up. There are many groups on the go in various locations of the North Shore, support teams that remain at the van where his owner had parked when they last took Griffin out to search for Ellie Mae. Others, who distributed flyers and spoke to residents for important clues.
Just before Christmas, they found evidence that Griffin had been hiding out in a backyard on the North Shore and luckily Griffin came back the next evening. Now much thinner and clearly hungry he was tempted by the dog of the owner of the house to come in and finally be brought back into safety as the owner was another friend of Maureen.
Maureen is owner and trainer of K9Leadership, a dog training facility specializing in obedience and tracking classes on the North Shore. I had photographed her and her work with two groups early 2012 on a very rainy day. See the blog posts to get inspired how tracking works with your dog's energy and how tracking helps build trust.
On this image you see Maureen to the right, following her student Anne with her boxer cross Gus on this rainy day on the North Shore during wilderness tracking class. Skills like the ones Gus learned here were helpful in returning Griffin and Ellie Mae home.
Read the full article as published in the Province to get a feel for Maureen's and Griffin's pre-Christmas drama.
I am glad, Maureen, that Griffin made it back home. Thanks for sharing your story with me and I am looking forward to taking some more tracking images for you in spring!