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One of the accomplishments that I am most proud of is that I earned a certificate of completion in the 2008-2009 Tracking Intensive course at Wilderness Awareness School.
Students are challenged to work on a project during the 9 months of class, and to present that project to the class and the wider WAS community. The guidelines are pretty liberal. Anything related to tracking is allowed. Some students create beautiful artwork, write poetry or prose, while others track a particular species at their sit spot over the time of the course. One duo performed an interpretive dance of animal forms for an appreciative audience.
Extra points were given for making a discovery or in some way adding to the base of tracking knowledge!
I chose to research the tracks of domestic dogs. And much to my surprise, I did make a discovery about canine foot morphology that shed new light on why dog tracks vary so much from the tracks of coyotes, wolves, and foxes!
Tracking literature led one to believe that all domestic dog tracks were somehow inferior to the tracks of wild canids because they did not often resemble those of their wild cousins. Using the typical tight, oval coyote track as an example, everyone agreed that dog tracks were rounder, sloppier, and generally demonstrated the lack of tone and fitness. Domestic dogs, the story went, were all fat and out of shape.