Manchester Veterinary Clinic

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Manchester, CT 06040


Confessions of a Tracking Dog

Publish Date: 6/28/2018 1:36 PM

 By Alexis Soutter, DVM

I'm Carlisle the fantastic tracking dog - Manchester Veterinary Clinic - CT

Hey. My name’s Carlisle, and I’m a Tracking Dog.  I live with two people.  The light-haired female is called Mom, the dark-haired male is Dad.  They give me belly rubs and feed me and don’t make me go to dog shows like I had to do with my last set of people, so I love them.  Well, Mom clips my nails and cleans my ears and brushes me, so I don’t love her as much as Dad who mostly just does fun things and gives me snacks.  I also live with a kid dog they call Fizzy.  He’s pretty cool, even if he steals my rubber bones and bounces on my face sometimes.  If he gets too obnoxious I can just squash him flat and that’s amusing.  There’s also a mysterious creature in the house that they call The Cat.  The Cat walks on four feet like a dog but he’s allowed on the furniture and smells weird.  I’m not allowed to eat him, though I’m not totally sure why because he’s quite a snackable size.  People have strange rules sometimes


Carlisle enjoying the woods - Manchester Veterinary Clinic - CT

I am so excited about my TD ribbon - Manchester Veterinary Clinic - CT

Most of the time I sleep on comfy beds and chew on things and lick my feet and get loved on by people and sometimes The Cat. But some days, I get to go Track.  Dad puts me and the kid dog in the big metal box that moves and makes noise, and I fall asleep, and when I wake up I’m at the woods or a field or somewhere like that.  Then he puts the harness on me and sometimes on the kid dog and we go to work.  When it’s just me, I have to follow a nice stinky human trail and find their gloves and socks and things.  Most of the time the gloves and socks come with snacks, so that’s really cool.  Dad gets really happy when I find gloves and socks.  One time, I even got a big ribbon and a fancy certificate for finding all the gloves and socks.  People cheered for me because I was so awesome.  I used to only have to Track in the grass, but now I’m learning how to Track on pavement and in the woods too.  The woods are easy but pavement is hard.  Once there was a flat squirrel on the pavement right next to the scent trail, and even though there wasn’t a glove with it I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t allowed to enjoy such a tasty snack.  Oh well.


Other times, the kid dog and I go out together in the woods. There usually aren’t gloves and socks and treats when we go out together, but there are lots of people scent trails to follow.  The kid dog doesn’t understand why these scent trails are so interesting.  He Tracks in the grass sometimes for gloves and stuff, but to him it’s just a game.  That kid just doesn’t realize what serious business it is!  The best is when I find a scent trail and follow it in the woods, and eventually find the people who left the trail.  I don’t expect to, so it’s always a bit of a surprise, but it usually results in them petting me and telling me how handsome I am.  I know I’m handsome, but it’s nice to hear all the same.

Carlisle and Fizzgig in the woods - Manchester Veterinary Clinic - CT


Carlisle and Rosie on the beach - Manchester Veterinary Clinic - CT

Carlisle and Rosie in the snow - Manchester Veterinary Clinic - CT

A while back, before the kid dog came home, a different very furry and bossy dog they called Rosie lived with us. She and I were out on a mountain with our Dad, and I got on the smell of this guy.  He smelled like weird chemicals which was different from what I was used to but pretty interesting.  Dad didn’t realize I was onto something – human noses are totally useless.  Heck, he didn’t even realize when I took him right past the turnoff to the place we left the metal box we came in!  We came around a turn and the chemical smelling guy was there with a different guy, and they really quickly shoved the chemicals into backpacks and took off running.  That time the people didn’t give me pets or compliments, but that’s okay.  Dad laughed like crazy and told me I broke up a drug deal.  I don’t know what that means, but he seemed pretty happy about it.  Rosie was just kind of annoyed about the whole thing, I think because she didn’t get pets or compliments either.  Or maybe because I made her go through a river after the guys

One of my favorite things to do when hanging out at home is chew on things. My people provide me with a wide variety of chewy objects.  It’s fun to time myself to see how quickly I can destroy a new toy.  The ones labelled “Indestructible” or “Extra Tough” I take as a personal challenge.  They never last longer than a day, and once I de-stuffed one of those in under five minutes!  Mom was less than thrilled with me, but I don’t see why.  She should be proud to have a dog that can accomplish what others can’t.   I also like to help the environment by getting into the cardboard recycling and pre-shredding it.  Sometimes I pick a chewable object for myself off a table or chair.   This never goes over well.  I particularly like to steal books, gloves and other things that smell like Mom.  Every time I do it she asks me why I only steal her stuff.  I won’t tell her, but the truth is her reactions are a lot funnier than Dad’s.  The one thing I stole that smelled like Dad was a board game that his sister gave him.  It was called Candyland but it didn’t taste anything like candy.  This was very disappointing.  Dad was really mad at me that time for some reason.  I mean, why would he have something labelled Candy if I wasn’t supposed to eat it?  Putting it up on the table just made it a more enticing challenge.  Oh well.  The kid dog never steals stuff from the humans.  He’ll help destroy stuff I grab, but he never gets in trouble for it.  Brat

Carlisle taking a break - Manchester Veterinary Clinic - CT

Carlisle having fun in the snow - Manchester Veterinary Clinic - CT

Carlisle waiting for his next adventure - Manchester Veterinary Clinic - CT

Still, overall my life is pretty good. The worst is when we run into other dogs in the woods.  The kid dog likes the other dogs for some reason, so I let him do all the greeting.  That way when the other dog shows its true colors and turns into a mean jerk, the kid will bear the brunt of it.  But for some reason the other dogs always like him.  He’s just a naïve little fool, maybe that’s why.  The people always like me better though, so I get all the good rubs and compliments.  I accept them with great grace and dignity as I know what an honor it is for them to meet a Real Tracking Dog.  Maybe someday, I’ll track you down in the woods, and you can be honored too

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