I think Devon deserves her own post about her first VST test. It was also on Oct. 3 at DeKalb, IL. Devon drew track 7. Devon's track was 686 yards long, with 389 yards of non-veg, or 57%. It was aged 4 hours and 22 minutes. It was warmer when she ran. Her track was in the heart of campus, and there was much more activity from people on her track. Devon was foiled by an evil squirrel at the start of the track. He not only sat directly on the track and teased her from the ground. But then he also jump on a nearby tree about 4 ft. off the ground and chattered at her. He was tormenting and taunting her to come get him. Since this was a university campus, the squirrels were quite bold. Had the squirrel just run up the tree, I'm sure Devon would have gotten back to work. However, the taunting really fried her brain. After much rescenting and the squirrel finally going up the tree, Devon moved on. Unfortunately, she got a double whammy on the distractions. While she was dealing with the evil squirrel, about 10-12 people walked across her first turn. The building on the right is the library and we started the track at . on a Sunday; lots of traffic to the library! Devon did search left and I could tell by the lay of the land the track went that way, but Devon was all for the trees where she could do more squirrel hunting. She went forward into the grass and got wrapped around a tree so I had to step into the area after her. Once I was in the grass, it was impossible to work her back and she committed to squirrel hunting under the trees to the right. The purple line is Devon's path and the blue line is the track.
Once back on track, Devon got her brain back after turn 2 when she got into the grass. There she finally committed to a strong track. The orange line indicates a sunken courtyard with gravel and picnic tables and the track when through this area (about 4 steps down). Devon handled this beautifully. After the courtyard, the track went into the grass along this well traveled sidewalk and Devon did a great job picking out her article among the trash littering the area.
The pink line indicates a concrete bridge over the creek, and the track when up across that. Devon once again handled this like a charm. She investigated the base of the stairs and below the bridge before popping right back up and across the bridge. I'm sure both the courtyard and bridge would have scared most folks, but Devon has done these things in practice tracks. I'm sure once she realized the scent was drifting down off the bridge, she went, "hey I know this one!"
I was really thrilled with Devon's MOT and the article right before it was great. Devon shot past it but only by 15 ft. or less. The map doesn't show it, but they've added in a concrete sidewalk through this parking lot and reconfigured the parking, and that's what Devon was on when she made her turn and went into the parking lot toward the building. Devon was dead on the track at this point, because my tracklayer told me her landmark when we turned. This was nice because it proved to me Devon could handle a test MOT.
Once on the grass, she easily found her last article. I felt really good about how Devon ran this test and where she is. She nailed this track once she got committed. Normally Devon has fantastic starts, but the squirrel was just too much for her. There is doubt in my mind that if Devon gets a good start, we'll pass a test soon.