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Bassets! My friend from high school got involved in field trials with her third basset, Mick, so I went along as dog wrangler and possible Mick-retriever because he doesn't always stop at the end of the run. What I hadn't planned on was how physically demanding it would be for us humans. It is a day of continuous walking as the dogs, handlers and judges sweep the fields to flush bunnies (or in our case jack rabbits). The bunnies were not cooperating at all in all the nice flat areas (of course), and it was really windy. When a bunny is spotted the cry of "tally" or "tally ho" goes up and everybody stops and watches the rabbit run so they know the trail. Then they call the dogs in braces to track the scent. It's not about speed, it's about accuracy. The majority of the bunnies found were up in the hills, and there were some pretty steep climbs to find them. Mick finished his championship last year so this was his first time competing with the "big dogs" so to speak. He came in fourth out of eight or nine. On his first run the handlers literally had to slide down the hillside to get to the start of the trail and while the dogs were tracking they flushed a second bunny and the chase was on. Luckily the rabbit ran right back towards the gallery so the dogs were caught fairly easily. I had a very good time and the people involved were a really nice group - very devoted to the sport and their dogs.

Mick is going again today so I have his brother and sister at the house. Hopefully the bunnies will be more cooperative today!
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