That was fun. Let's do it again.

When a crossword puzzle asks for a three-letter word meaning table scrap, the answer is probably “ort”. Penelope loves ORTs. But within the last couple of days she encountered another type of ORT. An Odor Recognition Test.

Penelope has been training for this for several years. She never took the test because her lazy owner always had an excuse for not driving to where the tests were held. In my defense, more often than not they were nowhere close to my state. Or if they were and it was summer, I had Yankees’ tickets. And if they were held in the winter, snow storms threatened and usually appeared.

Finally I ran out of excuses.

So on the last day of May, I had nothing planned. The weather was clear, I had gotten my fee in early enough, and the test was only a 45 minute drive away.

Twelve identical white boxes lined a room. Inside one of them was a Q-tip dipped in birch oil. There was no way I could tell which box it was. I had to depend on Penelope.

Penelope was given 3 minutes to find the correct box. She found it in 20 seconds!

Now that she has passed her odor recognition test, she is eligible for odor recognition trials. These involve searching interiors, exteriors, and vehicles the way that drug-sniffing, arson-detecting, and other search dogs do. But we do it for sport. So while Penelope practices, I am am waiting for another perfect day — with no Yankees’ tickets, no snowstorms, nor anything else to get in the way.

For more on Nose Work, view Nose Work Day in my archives. Or check out the NACSW web site.

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