A Weekend of Firsts

For one thing this is my first post in over a year!  But this is about Elly and a weekend full of firsts for her.


We went to a Nose Work Trial in Southern California on the first weekend in May which was our longest road trip so far, over 6 hours in the truck each way.  Elly has never slept in the truck, she is usually sitting near the center consul so she can touch my arm, it has been this way since I adopted her 2.5 years ago.  But on this trip she did finally take a little nap of about 3o minutes on the way home, probably out of sheer exhaustion!


Finally sleeping in the truck.


We stayed two nights at a hotel, the first night she was a little growly when she heard people in the hallway or outside the window but she got used to it pretty quickly.  One funny thing happened in the hallway- we were walking past someone who was knocking on a door and Elly started barking. In Elly’s world no knock goes unanswered!


She seems pretty relaxed in a new environment.


I also built a road case that we could pack our stuff in and would also function as stairs so Elly could get up and down from the bed by herself (like our stairs at home).  I didn’t get it finished until the day before we left so we didn’t get to practice.  She was hesitant at first but got comfortable with it pretty quick although I had to watch her to keep her from jumping off the bed instead of using her stairs.


The road box that turns into stairs.



It was pretty warm down there, 90 degrees on Trial day, so I took the cooling vest I got for quad Pug boy Obie.  When you are at a Nose Work Trial your dog has to wait in the car or in a crate next to the car between turns. Elly had never worn it, she doesn’t get as hot as Obie does and I usually wouldn’t have her out for long periods of time when it was 90 degrees.  She wore the vest like she had worn it forever!  Between the cooling vest and a battery operated fan she was very comfortable and not even panting most of the time. BTW- I make what I call our fort in the bed of my truck.  There is an awning over the lumber rack with aluminet shade tarp over the top and covering the sides, this is where we wait together for our turn.  The two pictures below were taken in the fort- I forgot to get a picture from the outside.


Staying cool in the heat.


Oh- and then there was her first Nose Work Title! She was perfect in four interior searches and earned her Nose Work 1 Interior Title in an Element Specialty Trial.

Our first ribbon!



I am so proud of how far Elly has come, she is far braver and more confident than when we first met.  When we stared nose work over a year ago she wouldn’t put her head into a box or walk under a chair.  If anyone in the room moved or made a sound she would stop searching. She wouldn’t let anyone approach us without hiding behind me.  She also has severe separation anxiety which makes leaving her in the truck between her search turns in class or at a trial problematic. With the help of our trainer we have made great progress with the sep anx.  At first she would flip out when I simply opened the driver’s side door.  We started there and have made incremental but steady progress.  At the Trial I had to go to a pre-brief which took  20 minutes so Elly was alone in the truck all that time.  She was pretty ramped up when I came back but settled down quickly.  Before the Trial the maximum amount of time I had left her in the truck was 15 minutes.  The fact that she recovered from the 20 minutes and was able to do her searches with success gives me confidence that we will continue to progress as we go forward with Nose Work Trials and life in general.





Author: krun15

Maggie was a little black pug born in 1999. On September 7, 2006 she lost her left rear leg to a mast cell tumor. Because of lymph node involvement Maggie went through a 6 month chemo regimen. She was given 6 to 9 months after her amp, but she beat mast cell cancer! In the winter of 2010 things started to slide; in the course of about 2 months she had 2 MCTs removed, was diagnosed with incontinence and kidney failure, and then the big blow- oral melanoma. She lived her carefree tri-pug life until she crossed over on June 2, 2010.

7 thoughts on “A Weekend of Firsts”

  1. Karen,
    Thank you for sharing your adventures with Elly. I love the box you made for your travels that also work as steps for her. That is a pretty awesome thing. I wouldn’t have ever thought to do something like that.

    I am very proud of both you and Elly. You have come so far with her. She is really adjusting and so awesome that she got to go do a rally for nose work.

    I love that she is adjusting to being away a little bit at at time. I think Snickers kind of has a little of that with me working from home. I mean she does good and only once in awhile does she decide to help herself to treats. I have taken to locking them up so that helps a lot too now. (used to leave them on top of the file cabinet but someone figured out how to get them)

    Congrats on how well Elly did at the rally.

    Michelle & Angel Sassy


    Youve had some monumental hurdles to ocercome. Your incredible determination and very special vond paid off

    Besides veing the Champion of All Champions, I KNOW she was THE CUTUEST DOG innthe enire place’😎

    I keep scrolling back up to look at her pictures….precious, precious, precious! Andn you kmow what?? Besides being CUTE, she’s a very pretty gal too! Ebery picture shows a very happy, relaxed and content dog

    I love the travel arrangements you made for her. It’s like she has her own little “Hollywood Green Room” before going on stage. And her travel box…BRILLIANT😎

    CONGRATULATIONS ELLY AND KAREN!😁😎 Hard earned and well deserved! Made my day🤣

    Lots of love
    Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

  3. Oh Miss Elly! Congratulations!! You da CHAMP! Karen well done on your end too! Your love and perseverance has really paid off! Both you beauties can now bask in all your glory! Elly has come such a long way! Love this! And so good for your girl! Also have oodles of fun at your tripawd meetup. I’m more than a little envious! Wish I could be there and meet all you guys! Elly your star shines bright!

  4. This is SO cool. How immensely satisfying to see such progress after all the work you have both put in. It’s kind of like climbing a mountain, one step and then the next and then the next, and then you suddenly look round and see the valley dropping miles beneath you and realise just how far you have come.

    Elly has the SWEETEST little pug-mutt face, and you can see how much more relaxed she is, even in her facial muscles.

    I LOVE the travel trunk/step too. LOVE it!

    Congratulations to you both,

    Meg, Clare and Angel Pie xxx

  5. Karen,
    I am so glad you posted again! The last post I read and commented on and then I lost track of it, lol.
    Your Elly has the most beautiful face, and she looks so proud now and confident. I have not read all but I have read some of her story and of course getting to know you and her in other posts on the forum.
    You must be so proud, both of you actually. Leaps and bounds! And we all know that in the hands of most others this beautiful dog that is just blooming in success would quite possibly either lived life in a shelter, been euthanized, or abused.
    You saw something in her and got to know what makes her tick.. that is truly amazing💖
    We just got back from visiting a friend that I used to work with. I finally got to meet his three beautiful pugs and I thought of you 😎
    I read this not long after you posted but life has been hectic lately. I know you already know all of this but you are truly amazing with your pups, they are very lucky dogs.
    Lots of hugs and love,
    Jackie and Huckleberry (and the rest of the crew 😎)

  6. Wooohoooo! Oh my gosh best road trip EVER! I’m so happy you guys aced it at the trials, and even during such crazy hot weather. The future is even brighter for Elly and you! What a team!

    I LOVE the road gear box you made. Double duty gear rocks! Can I pimp that out in the Gear blog? Got plans you want to share? It’s pretty crafty Karen, you’re so good at that kind of thing!

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