Gordon and I went up to Maryland to dig on some groundhogs with Patrick and his Jack Russel Terriers, Mountain and Pearl, the other day.
Gordon has never gone to ground, but he is a smart and gamey terrier, so we decided to give him a try.
We wandered the soy fields with the dogs gamboling at our heels. After the dogs investigated some truly mammoth holes ( these holes looked like they had actually housed mammoths at one time), the dogs took us into the middle of a rose thicket where Mountain had pinged on a hole.
We dug through what seemed like solid rock listening to the dog bay beneath our feet. It sounded like Mountain was facing off against a bear down there.
We ended up digging three holes in the hot sun to finally find the quarry. Gordon was tentative and not really sure what the whole big deal was. But he paid attention and lurked on the periphery, watching the whole time.
When we pulled the animal from the hole, it ended up being a normal sized groundhog, with the voice and bluster underground of a t-rex.
Gordon started putting the pieces together. He mouthed the groundhog, tasting the scent. Then we filled in our holes and moved on. We took the dogs down for a swim in the river, while Patrick and I cooled off watching them from the treeline.
We headed back up toward the field, and began marching through the soy. Gordon was gone. I called. Nothing. Patrick was heading up the hill when I heard the barking. It was soft, but not too far away. I waded through the underbrush and found Gordon underneath the trees, barking down the hole of a groundhog sett.
He had put it together.
We went on to bust fox, groundhog, and raccoon, all on the same day.
None of the digs were easy and the sun was hot. We were wiped out by lunchtime, but by the end, Gordon got it. This dog is the right size, has a good attitude, and brains to match. He is from an indistinguishable lineage (he's a working terrier). It is looking promising.
We'll be out again later this summer, putting the dogs in the ground. Thanks Patrick.