March 2, 2019

A Bloodhound Nose ??

2019 Mar 02

Basset Hounds are bred to flush rabbits out and into thick brush, the woods, a field or a backyard. To do that Heidi would have to get out of bed first and it's almost 11am. I have seen a Basset Hound in action though and Sadie (the WA Basset Hound) did just that, flush a rabbit into the thick brush where the rabbit stops in panic. The shoulders of the Basset Hound is made specifically to charge through brush so thick you cannot even walk through it.


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The Bloodhound has the better nose though and is bred to track deer whether they are walking through a field or woods and after a hunter has shot them. A few years ago Sadie and Stella would sprint after deer they would see in the field but I haven't seen a deer in this field since November 2017.

From the pictures I take of Stella everyday you would think that she has a great Bloodhound nose but I have two pictures today, really just one picture but two stories, to prove she either doesn't have a great nose, or maybe she lost focus or maybe since it wasn't deer scent she didn't care. Yet we all know how she loves deer scat. Her nose story continues.

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As I walked over to get a better view of this tree limb, I practically stepped on a rabbit hiding in the brush. It was not more than a foot away from me when it took off sprinting toward the gully. Heidi has a great nose for tracking rabbits and no doubt would have been baying and chasing that rabbit as fast as she could. I've seen her do it in this field but not today, she was still in bed.

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Stella had walked right past the rabbit no further away than the distance from the path on the left to the edge of the brush on the right. What, maybe 10' away? She is well past the place I almost stepped on the rabbit so she is not even close. Don't let that picture throw you off.

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Now Stella does not have the worst nose in Bloodhound history because she does show signs of tracking deer scent or deer trails just like this morning. There were a million signs that deer had been running through this field a few hours before we made our appearance. I don't think you would want to see a million pictures of a deer hoof print in the soft ground so I have included just one of those pictures further down the blog post.

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Sadie was 'the tracker' ... strong strong desire to track scent. Stella has a more relaxed approach to her tracking. I have no doubt that she would stop immediately if I mentioned the word "food" or had some small bone treats in my pocket. THAT is one thing she can track ... any kind of food or treats.

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In my lightweight down jacket I was enjoying this Saturday morning walk with no wind to speak of. WeatherBug said it was 34° but my carport thermometer said it was 42°, so I kept picturing that 42° in my head as I walked. Hard to believe it will be in the teens on Monday for a high temp of the day.

I let Stella go where her nose led her. After all she is a Bloodhound and looks as if she is tracking something. So I veered off my path to follow her.

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You can barely see a path straight ahead and that was made by deer traffic. The camera did not capture the path as clear as my eyes.

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This is a little better view of a deer path cutting across the middle of the field to the left of me as I followed Stella.

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Looking at those two pictures you would think that I am entirely wrong with my assessment of Stella not being a tracker. She looks professional in each of those pictures. Remember how much she loves finding deer scat and adding that to her kibble diet as more protein? Remember how good her nose is supposed to be?

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Well she literally walked right over the top of not one of these piles of deer scat but the second pile not two inches away. HER NOSE WAS DOWN LESS THAN AN INCH ABOVE GROUND !!!! How did that happen? Too old? Too new? Not hungry? Lack of focus?  :)

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This is one of the million pictures I took this morning of deer hoof prints in the soft ground. They were everywhere, from right on my path to all over the field. So there is deer still in the area, I just have not seen any of them.

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With her tracking scent over this morning, she starts the slow walk home. When I say slow, I mean even slower than that. Each step is in slow motion so that you wonder if that front paw is ever going to touch the ground. She walks like she is suspended in air as I anxiously await for her to catch up to me. I'd like to get back to the house for a brunch I plan to make sometime today.

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Then ... a sudden burst of energy where she is almost running BUT she has to do a full body shake at the same time she is running. As her body goes forward trotting, her ears show that her head is moving left to right back and forth as she shakes. Who needs a good Bloodhound nose when you have agility like that?

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Obviously after five weeks of the lamb based dog food instead of chicken as the main protein source, that has not made a difference in her scratching. No fleas that I can see. No red bumps, no skin irritations. It just itches.

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With another Saturday morning walk in the books she was energized to get back inside so she could sleep. Her and Heidi's eating schedule is off today, way off. All because of Stella.

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Since I was in a deep sleep I have no idea what woke me but when I finally came out of it I heard hound toenails making a sound on the hardwood floor as if they were pacing or moving back and forth. At first I thought it was Heidi because she kind of tip toes in the dark but then I heard a stomach making a gurgling sound ... that is always Stella.

So I got out of bed to let her go outside. It was pitch black in the house and outside because it was 4am !!! While she trotted off around the Mini out towards the field, I put on my lightweight down jacket and slipped on my cheap Chinese flip flops and headed outside with my bright LED flashlight. It wasn't that cold outside even while standing there in a pair of Russell Athletic Gear gym shorts.

I could see as I stood behind the house she was straight out from the house halfway between the yard and the woods. She had found some nice tall, possibly wet grass to eat and was eating like it was her last meal. Luckily when she was finished she trotted to the house where I was standing. It may have been more about me sneezing than her being obedient.

Of course, since I couldn't go back to sleep I got up. Computer on, lights on, with Heidi still sound to sleep. Stella was checking out the dog food container to see if the lid just might be off or loose for her to grab some kibble ... at 4:15am!!!

Finally after 30 minutes and hearing her stomach gurgling again I decided that maybe some kibble would settle her stomach. Of course as soon as that measured cup of kibble hit Stella's stainless steel bowl .. Heidi woke up and came sprinting to the computer room because breakfast was being served.

Yes, they both had breakfast at 4:30am.

Just like their normal routine after breakfast, they both went back to their dog bed and slept soundly. I never heard Stella's stomach gurgle again after that. So you would think by now as I type this both hounds would be barking and howling for lunch but they are both asleep ... that's what happens when you get up at 4:30am.

I did get back to sleep for a solid four hours of sleept. Thus the late start for the morning walk.

I have a basketball game I want to watch at noon. Right before that I plan on having eggs, with steamed spinach right there in the cast iron skillet and warmed up salmon. This change in eating is really helping and I continue to feel the change in appetite and the amount of food I eat in a day. Getting under 1,500 calories is not intentional but is easy to do with what I have been eating.

Otherwise, I have no plans after the ballgame is over. The book about Steve Jobs is a very slow read but at the same time it is very interesting. I bought the book when it first came out four or five years ago but never finished reading it. So that is the plan, read the book from start to finish.

I'll see what Heidi has planned for this afternoon but I can almost bet that it will not be much different from the pictures I posted last night about her afternoon. She might stretch her threshold down to 60° but until then don't expected a lot of active pictures of her outside.

Hard to believe we are 29(?) days from April.

All is good this morning in 'the tropics' of Southern Indiana.

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