Thursday, December 17, 2009

Hello World

Hello everyone and welcome to The Pawprint Chronicles! My name is Kate, and I have been an avid dog enthusiast since forever. I got my first dog, Flash, when I was 7 years old. As of now I am almost 19, and currently share my life with 12 year old Pembroke Welsh Corgi Flash, 6 year old Australian Shepherd Tia and 4 year old Belgian Tervuren Queezle. I compete in an assortment of dog sports and activities with all three dogs, including agility, tracking, conformation, rally, obedience, herding and musical freestyle. Flash and I were the first junior handler team to earn the American Kennel Club's Versatile Companion Dog 1 title, and this past summer at 11 1/2 Flash passed her Variable Surface Tracker test to earn her Champion Tracker!

The CT is considered the most difficult of all the dog championships, and requires your dog to earn her Tracking Dog, Tracking Dog Excellent and VST titles. In tracking, the basic idea is that your dog has to sniff and follow the path of a person she doesn't know, as well as finding anything the tracklayer left behind on the track. For TD and TDX you work in fields and woods, but for VST 1/2 to 2/3 of the track is on nonvegetated surfaces such as parking lots and sidewalks. There are only just a little over 200 CTs in the nation right now, and I am the youngest handler to ever do it. By far Flash's CT is my proudest accomplishment, as it is a lot of work, especially for the dog! Flash is a very neat dog, with tons of drive and a great personality.

Tia is more of a princess, and would like to be admired by everyone and not have to work. Though she isn't as fast as Flash or Queezle, she is a very reliable agility dog, and earned both of her Excellent level titles at full height and just finished one of them in the Preferred division. She is the most materialistic dog I have ever met, and loves large toys and gifts of any kind. Ironically, she also enjoys playing with (and eating) cardboard.

Queezle, the "baby," is my star showdog. She is from the reknowned Chateau Blanc kennel, and has done well in the conformation ring from the start. As of now, she has four Herding Group I awards, a Best In Specialty Show and numerous other Group placements. We were invited to the AKC Eukanuba National Championship two years in a row, and have also shown at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show. We took this year off for Queezle to have her first litter, which was born on February 25. Frankly I should have started a blog then, but alas, I did not think of it at the time. One of her daughters, Demi, has already finished her Championship, and the others are well on their way. Though I love Corgis and will always have one around, Tervs are the breed that I wish to be involved with as a breeder. Queezle is the foundation bitch (not a bad word in the dog world!) for Coyote Run Belgian Tervuren, run by myself and my mother, Deb Eldredge. Right now we are stud-hunting for the perfect sire for Queezle's next litter, which is a daunting task.

I just finished my first semester at Cornell University (woohoo!), where I am studying as an English major with a focus on creative writing. Writing has always been one of my passions, and I have had several columns for dog magazines. I also currently have two books out - Head of the Class, an all-round guide to dogs geared toward kids, and Amazing Pet Tricks, a trick book written with the ASPCA. I also have a rewrite of an Italian dog picture book in the works - I've sent in all the captions and it should be coming out in print sometime in 2010. My dream is to live off writing, which may or may not happen (Tia says if I write about her every book will be a bestseller!).

I am also a member of Cornell's Big Red Marching Band, which I absolutely love. I did 7 years of marching band with my high school, and definitely wanted to continue my involvement through college. Marching band is second only to dogs on my list of favorite things. I play the tenor sax in marching band, and also currently play the clarinet, my original instrument, in the Cornell Pep Band. Though I love marching band, my favorite sport to play for is hockey. Unfortunately marching on ice probably wouldn't work out too well.

The only thing I dislike about college is that I can't have dogs in the dorm (I do love my dorm though). Though I have adjusted well, it's hard not having my fourlegged friends around. However, I just put down a deposit on a dog-friendly apartment for next year!

That's enough for now, but stay tuned - and warm depending on where you live.

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