Mom and I recently read a book we liked very much, and it is about a bloodhound named Ronin. The title of the book is Red Dog Rising, and the author's name is Jeff Schettler. I think that this book would be a very good one for anyone to read who is interested in dogs.
What the book is about is how Ronin, who is the hero, was trained by his dad, Jeff, to help the police find bad guys and missing people and do all kinds of interesting work like that. Remember how I told you in my Labor Day blog entry that there are lots of dogs with Important Jobs? Well, Ronin was one of those dogs, and the book tells all about how he did his Important Job.
Dogs, like I already told you, have an excellent sense of smell. A dog can smell things hundreds of times better than a human can. This is why dogs can be used to sniff out drugs and cancer and bombs and stuff like that. Also dogs can be used to follow the scent of game animals or human animals. Bloodhounds are especially good at trailing people, which is why they have been used to do this job for many centuries. But in order for a bloodhound or any other dog to do this job properly, it has to be trained how to stay focused on a certain person's scent and not get distracted by cats or whatever.
Mom says that she learned a lot about the properties of scent and how dogs follow it from reading Red Dog Rising. Of course, I already know all this kind of stuff because I am a dog, and I can follow any trail I'm interested in. But did you know that there is a difference between "tracking" and "trailing"? Well, there is, and this is all explained in the book, so you should read it to find out what the difference is.
The man who wrote the book, Mr. Schettler, used to be a police officer, but he's not one now because he hurt his knee really bad, so he had to retire from police work. Now he helps people train their dogs to do trailing and search-and-rescue and all kinds of interesting jobs like that. And here's the most important part: Mr. Schettler now has some BASENJIS! He has trained two of them as hunting dogs, which is how they are used in Africa, of course. And now he is training a basenji to find explosives. I think this is very cool, and it makes me proud to be a basenji!
Mom sort of knows Mr. Schettler because he joined a basenji list she is on. And he has written some articles about hunting with basenjis for The Basenji magazine. So when Mr. Schettler's book about Ronin got published, Mom was interested in reading it, and that's why she bought us a copy.
I have never met a bloodhound in person, and neither has Mom, but now we feel like we sort of know about them because of having read the story of Ronin. Some people don't realize that bloodhounds are very gentle, friendly dogs. When they find the person they are trailing, they don't attack. They are more likely to jump up and lick the person in a happy, friendly way! This is different from what a doberman or a German shepherd might do in the same situation. Bloodhounds have lots of wrinkles and loose skin and long, floppy ears. Oh, and another thing to know about bloodhounds is that they slobber a lot!
Mom says she does not think she would ever want to own a bloodhound, although she admires them for the work they do. Mom says she much prefers to own basenjis, and I am very glad to hear her say that!