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What's befallen

Posted by Jean McCord on November 19, 2010 at 1:26 PM

Seasons have changed, from mild early summer through July's hot draught and August's perfect summer weather. A beautiful long autumn has now faded to an often grey, but mild, November. The wild turkeys are not in evidence; I wonder why? Deer and coywolves, however, are very much so. (More on coywolves later.)

The months have been full; lots of K9 guests (mercy, August was a tad chaotic!) and many wonderful long - albeit buggy - walks through the woods with the whippets. Mid summer saw me geared up in a wide brimmed hat with netting that covered my face and neck. People may have laughed at my appearance (also in muck boots, and wielding walking poles) but I was protected from the deer flies. Those of us who have lived in New England for decades are familiar with the warmer seasons: deer tick, black fly, followed by mosquito, then dog tick, deer fly, (continuing mosquito) and back to deer tick. I'm so thankful for the whippet's short coats; those deer ticks I don't see, I can comb away with a flea comb. I wish my self-search was as easy...

Over Labor Day, Tess and I traveled to Pennsylvania with Carolyn and Stieff for 5 days of K9 Nose Work Camp. Beautifully organized by Dana Crevling of Dogs Of Course, instructors included K9NW founders Jill-Marie O'Brien, Amy Herot and Ron Gaunt. It was so much fun, and we learned so much, that we plan to go back next year. In the mean time, Tess and I will leave for Columbia, MD on Dec. 2 for a weekend of nose work at the Coventry School for Dogs. I can't wait!!

Our nose work classes have been wonderful; my first (and continuing) Sunday evening class started out with four fabulous dogs and we are waiting to launch the second class as soon as it fills. Come on, folks - we're looking down the barrel of at least four months of cold, wet, short days - get out there with your dogs and have more fun than you could ever anticipate!!

Now, what was that earlier reference about coywolves?? Did you know that our "eastern coyote" is actually a hybrid of the western coyote and the eastern wolf? After the native red wolves were hunted to extinction in the wild (they have since been successfully reintroduced in the wilds of eastern North Carolina, in the 1980s) these eastern coyotes, or 'coywolves,' are our largest canid predators. They are fascinating creatures, whose ethereal nighttime howls and yips can now be heard in our woods with the coming cold weather. As happened last year, I am monitoring a deer kill along our walking trail; the whippets aren't sure weather to mark the carcass or snack on it ~ If you're interested in learning more about coywolves, and supporting the only research project that's studying them, please visit the website of Massachusetts native Jon Way, PhD: www.easterncoyoteresearch.com.

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