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The Chicken Hunt. Children's Story

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A wise dog understands that the things we are told are not always 100% correct. Sometimes, learning is not always a matter of correctness.

----------------------------- Illustration by Sudipta Steve Dasgupta---------------------

---------------------The Chicken Hunt------------------

Basil (right).  A Bloodhound, a Breed originally bred for hunting in the Middle Ages. Known for the ability to follow the faintest scent over great distances, because of its robust and tenacious tracking instinct, can be  difficult to walk on a leash

Basil (right). A Bloodhound, a Breed originally bred for hunting in the Middle Ages. Known for the ability to follow the faintest scent over great distances, because of its robust and tenacious tracking instinct, can be difficult to walk on a leash

"It is a Chicken" Pronounced Basil the Bloodhound.

"How can you tell" asked Spot.

"Evidence" replied Basil, "Look at the claw prints left in the ground. It is clearly a Chicken".

"It looks to me like it has Webbed feet," said Spot.

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"No! No! No! " Insisted Basil. "The webbed footprint effect is Totally due to the waterlogged sand. These things can be quite deceptive to the untrained eye. Note the way the footprints have evidently hopped over the small stream. If it were a duck it would simply have splashed right through without fear. The creature we are tracking has clearly chosen to avoid the water."

O.K. said Spot, and added, " But it has got big feet".

"A big chicken" confirmed Basil.

(left) Spot. A Pointer, A Smart Friendly breed of dog.  All-purpose gun-dog, with exceptional skills in game finding, pointing and retrieving. The perfect companion for any game hunter. Always alert, intelligent, a fantastic sense of smell.

(left) Spot. A Pointer, A Smart Friendly breed of dog. All-purpose gun-dog, with exceptional skills in game finding, pointing and retrieving. The perfect companion for any game hunter. Always alert, intelligent, a fantastic sense of smell.

"Smell the claw-prints, my good friend. It is definitely a Chicken!:" added Basil.

"I do not think I can smell the difference between a Chicken and a Duck," said Spot.

"Experience". replied Basil. "You, my good friend, are still a Puppy. You have a lot to learn about tracking. Chickens have a very distinct 'Hen' Odour."

"Different from Ducks?" Asked Spot.

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Basil sighed and then shook his head and explained. "A single factor is never proof of anything, my dear Spot. When tracking, an excellent sniffer dog must add and weigh many factors, the evidence of the creature's weight. The direction of travel, this also refers to the preference or inclination to walk on sand or grass, rocks. And test even the sub-conscious avoidance of a mere puddle. One single factor should never be an overwhelming influence".

"YES," said Spot "But we are at a Duckpond."

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"Evidently," stated Basil quite forcibly. "the creature we hunt avoids small streams, even to the point of jumping over them. Clearly, its footprints match, in many features to a chickens print. Also, It is fairly clear to observe that no ducks are swimming in the pond."

"No Chickens are swimming either," stated Spot.

"Would you expect a Chicken to be walking beside the pond or swimming?" asked Basil

"Walking" conceded Spot.

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"Aha" Shouted Basil "The footprints disappear at the edge of the water right here." Spot pointed his nose toward the edge of the water.

"Probably went for a swim," said Spot.

"Chickens do not swim; they fly" Said Basil angrily.

"Ducks can fly" Said Basil Angrily. "Ducks can easily fly, but they require a run-up to get to launch speed, I can find no evidence of a take-off run," concluded Basil "and more to the point, no ducks on the water".

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"Ducks can take off from the water," Suggested Spot.

"Do you want to know something young Spot? Basil shouted angrily."You have a terrible habit of letting your first assumptions cloud your mind and totally blinds you to the blatantly clear and convincing evidence that surrounds you.

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The two dogs surveyed the far side of the pond. Spot shouted, "THERE IT IS!". Spot stood rigidly, his nose thrust forward with one leg curled up and his tail straight out backwards like an arrow.

"Huh!' Shouted Basil "That is most certainly not a Duck."

"IT IS AN EMU" shouted spot.

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"NO!"... Demanded Basil. "It is not an EMU"

Basil explained. "The evidence we have previously observed provides us with ample proof that it can only be an enormous chicken. The Chicken we see is evidently in some sort of disguise.

"Basil concluded, "Without question, it is looking for its chicks."

"Chicks?" Questioned Spot.

Basil responded angrily. "Did you see any tiny baby chick prints following the Mother hen?"

"NO," answered Spot

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"Because. . . Shouted Basil," getting quite angry at Spot's lack of tracking skills. "The poor mother hen has without any doubt at all Lost them, and This is why we never saw the baby chicks tracks. We must now backtrack the footprints to find out where the baby chicks got lost."

Spot found himself lost for words; He had no answer to the Bloodhounds knowledge and wisdom. Spot was very grateful to have such a brilliant and masterful teacher to teach him how to track.

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It was about this time that Helen, the farmer's wife, noticed that the front gate on the farm had been left open.

"The dogs have gone walkabout!" she shouted out to her husband

"Give them half a chance," replied Henry "and they are off hunting."

Henry added, "they will be back before dark."

"Or when they get Hungry," said Helen.

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Emus are very large birds, and Spot fully understood that an enormous bird a long way away could quite easily look quite small. Spot knew this because he had excellent vision.

Basil had an excellent nose. These two highly developed skills evened up, and they thought that this made them the perfect hunting team.

Basil and Spot decided to make their way around the reasonably vast pond so that they could sneak up on the disguised chicken. Sneakiness and stealth were required. So in silence, with noses to the ground, they slowly sniffed to the far side of the pond. Unfortunately, Spot spent too much time sniffing and not enough time looking.

The fact of the matter is that dogs with excellent eyesight should never take their eyes off the prey. It probably did not matter for Basil. If the truth were known Basil could walk into a barn door if the scent was blowing from the right direction.

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Now it just happens that if two dogs walk around a huge pond, they will eventually arrive back at the very same place that they started.

This always happens. Sometime if you are following a scent, it could be quite probable that you will not know precisely where you are going.

It is very fortunate situation indeed if the house that you live in is right next to the massive pond because if you follow the edge of the water for long enough, then you do not need to worry about getting home.

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It was getting late in the afternoon, and Helen, the farmer's wife, decided to put the dog food out on the verandah. As usual, she clanged a small stick on the dog's bowls. Just to let the dogs know "Dinner is ready."

"Chink - Chink - Chink."

The sound blew its way to the edge of the pond. The smell of the dog's dinner wafted along behind the sound of the small stick banging on the dog's bowls.

"Chink - Chink - Chink". sounded out on the afternoon breeze.

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"WHAT IS THAT?" Asked Spot, with his ears erect

"Sounds like a Chicken to me" Shouted Basil, "Come on, quickly".

To be entirely fair, Clink - Clink - Clink" does sound extremely does sound similar to "Cluck - Cluck - Cluck.

"Come on Spot" . I have got the full scent now. Hurry before we lose this beautiful Chicken scent. It has been a long hard track. The Chicken we tracked is very very close."

"WOW!" Shouted Spot. "'You are the best tracker I ever met".

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