Wednesday morning 6 boys from Dog Corps. left with Rita, Jenn, and Dick to attend the 15th annual PSARC SAREX. Rita loaded up K9’s Ripley, Raven and Tank, Dick brought K9 Buddy, and Jenn and Buddy loaded up K9’s Emeline, Abby, Raina, Max, Moira, and little Scout. After a 3 hour ride we made it to Pinch Pond Campground located in Manheim PA. Our arrival day encompassed getting settled and set up for the weekend and of course talking the dogs on a well-deserved walk. Once the camper was set up and the picnic area was finished and everyone had gotten checked into the hotel rooms at the nearby Hampton Inn we found a local diner for dinner. Believe it or not we were all pretty exhausted from the ride down and set up and the SAREX was calling for early mornings.
The weekend included much training for the dogs, as well as training for the kids. Each dog was able to work under numerous instructors with the students handling them in a variety of situations. Our evenings included pack walks which drew attention from everywhere in the camp. We typically had 6 shepherds, 2 malinois, 1 golden retriever, 1 coonhound, and 1 seven pound Chihuahua. The struggles came when we passed other campsites that were not too fond of our large strolling pack! Our work on obedience over the last few months certainly paid off as each dog and student struggled to stay engaged with each other. The kids realized it is not as simple as just standing around with a 65 pound weight (or 90 pound weight in the case of Tank) on the end of your leash. These dogs require constant stimulation and attention to keep them on track………sound familiar?
Linda and John, our two main instructors from PA Recovery dogs took time each day to work with the students while they worked the canines. Dan was even able to work Linda’s dog on a mock cadaver search and Chris spent much time working K9 Ripley the eldest of the group. Jimmy and Tyler assisted Jenn and Buddy with an hour long airscent problem on Mt. Gretna state land where Adam had set up an interesting moving subject problem for K9 Raina. Tyler and Ryan also took wilderness ready class with Dick and put their search knowledge to the test.
The trip was a huge success and everyone was on their best behavior. The hotel was still standing when we left even with 9 people and 7 dogs from our group alone!!!!