Owner of the “Fastest Tongue in the West”

Before you start wondering, this is not a kinky post; it’s a dog post. Specifically, about my dog.

Today Key and I got up VERY early and headed over to Bend (yes, again) to attend a Barn Hunt. (No rats are harmed.) So early, in fact, did I get up, that I saw this sight as I headed over the pass to come down onto the high desert.


Now, I heard at least one painting friend groan, “Oh, Tara, not another hobby.” Yes, guilty. We’ve been struggling at our current NW3 level (nose work) and a friend suggested trying something else for a while to build our bond. Key loves to chase squirrels and the occasional cat; we won’t get into all the things he’s consumed in the rodent family. So, I thought barn hunt might be a nice thing for him.

Unfortunately, I was completely unable to locate any kind of practice in the local area. So, after watching a few videos and glancing over the rules, I decide to enter him in an instinct test ($10) and then volunteer for the rest of the day to see what it was all about.

Thus we packed up our gear and made the three-hour drive to Bend at 5 in the morning. (Yes, in case you are wondering, I AM questioning my sanity.)

Once we got there (and woke up Key behaved in an exemplary manner. While he did not pass, he definitely found the whole thing fun. The problem was that he was actively working to find clover, birch, and anise; the rats were FUN, but he thought he had a different goal. (Could it be possible I have trained this dog?) He was such a good dog that when he kissed up to the judge (literally) she gave him the epithet above. Now, remember, this is a dog that when I first got him would bark and lunge at everyone (particularly men); and today, kisses for all! I was so proud.

Key ended up playing three times, then practiced being a good car dog while I worked as a scribe in the more advanced levels. Each time class broke, Key got a nice long walk around the property (beautiful) and by the end of the day, both of us were visibly tired.

I have no pictures of our endeavors, but I did bring out my camera for the last class I scribed, which was a masters class.

Between 2-5 rats (and an equal number of blank containers) are hidden somewhere in here. You can see a canister with a rat in it on the first level of the far bales.

It was fun to watch, but it was the dogs that were the real fun. Dog people will know what I mean when I say it’s fun to watch a dog work.

This little gallery seems to be the pure bred dogs, but in the lower levels there was a wide array of mixed breed dogs. I think it’s just a coincidence that the ones I photographed were pure bred. But as far as working styles, each dog is an individual. Obviously, the terriers were bred to do this, but they showed their independent streak. Ciaran captured my heart when he cleared the area of rats, but would not go into the tunnel. And you could see it wasn’t because he was scared of it… he just didn’t want to! I think I might look good with a Glen of Imaal Terrier… Or a Border Terrier… Or…

Am I going to pursue this further? I don’t know. I hope to write tomorrow about some new art developments. And I’m really wondering if I want to put more time and attention into another hobby. On the other hand, Key had a good time!

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