Tracking Story
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I received a phone call from one of my former customers from a couple of years ago. The customer is
the mother of two children, ages 5 and 9, and the owner of a Golden Retriever named Brownie who is 2
½.

While at a local park with her children, she was watching her 5 year old playing in the sandbox. The 9
year old child was playing on the swings off to the left side of her vision, and Brownie was lying
alongside the sandbox. Her 5 year old cut her hand on something sharp in the sandbox, and the mother
diverted her attention to caring for the child.

When the mother turned around after calming down the 5 year old, she found her 9 year old child was
gone! The mother panicked because her child was not only gone from the swing area, but also because
the park sat next to a river. She frantically asked other people at the park if they had seen her child, but no
one had. A couple of parents said they had noticed some children playing near the river. The mother
asked a couple she knew to watch her 5 year old while she looked for her 9 year old. The mother and
some other parents ran around the park calling the child’s name. They didn’t receive any answer back.
The mother, once she regained some of her composure, remembered that Brownie was trained to
suspect track. Brownie was still tied up over next to the sandbox.

The mother took Brownie to the spot were she had last seen her child, pointed down at the ground and
told Brownie to track. Brownie took off, pulling the mother down the long hill toward the water. The
mother began to panic again about her child being so close to the water. But once Brownie reached the
river’s edge, she turned to the right and started down into a wooded area where there was a hidden trail.
Brownie tracked through the wooded area alongside the river’s edge for about half a mile.

Around the river’s bend was a dam. The mother started to get upset the closer she got to the dam. She
called her child’s name over and over but still, no answer. She could not believe her child would walk off
and go this far, but she held onto Brownie’s lead. Brownie and the mother finally came out of the
wooded area at the dam. The mother saw her child playing on a wall next to the rushing water at the
dam with some older kids. The child had not heard her mother’s cries because of the rushing water
from the dam. The mother ran up, grabbed her child off the wall and told the other children to get down
off the wall too.

On the way back to the park, the mother and the children were met by a local K-9 Unit officer who had
been called out on a report of a missing child at the park. The K-9 unit had picked up the scent where the
child was last seen and followed the same path through the woods that Brownie took toward the dam.
The mother told the K-9 officer what had happened. The K-9 officer told her she was a very fortunate
mother because usually when police department received a call from the park about a missing child, it
doesn’t turn out this well. He told her that kids come down to the dam all the time to play and accidentally
fall into the rushing water. The mother told the police officer, “I had faith that my dog Brownie could find
my child. And I was fortunate enough to remember my dog Brownie was trained to suspect track.”

On the way home from the park the mother stopped and purchased the biggest hamburger she could for
Brownie, just to tell Brownie thanks for finding her child.

This mother/former customer called me the next day to give me her blessing for training her dog
Brownie for obedience and tracking. She never knew how important suspect tracking was until
yesterday.  She told me, “If you hadn’t trained Brownie and me how to suspect track, I don’t think my child
would be here today. Thank you Mr. Durham!”

Darryl Durham Sr
The Old Dog!!!