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Spicewood couple’s award-winning tracking dogs popular with Highland Lakes hunters

Shane Lowry shows off his 18-month old Lacy dog, Belle, on June 24 and the second-place ribbon she won in May at the National Lacy Dog Association Working Dog Field Day for tracking a blood trail with three turns 500 yards away. Just a day after giving birth, Belle was happy to be outside and working. Staff photo by Jared Fields

JARED FIELDS • PICAYUNE STAFF

SPICEWOOD — Belle is a new mom, proud of her seven blue Lacy pups. As her owner, Lauri Lowry, shows off the five male and two female puppies to a neighbor, Belle can hardly contain her excitement as she licks the pups’ squinty faces.

But when Lauri picks up the newborns, and her husband, Shane Lowry, grabs a collar and lead, Belle’s attention quickly turns to playtime

“In the offseason, we just run them,” said Shane, who trains his dogs to be hunting partners that can track game animals hundreds of yards away. “We let them run beside my four-wheeler, we play with them, do mock trails, exercise them.”

During hunting season, hunters call on Shane and his dogs to track wounded deer that might otherwise never be found.

Today, Shane uses a dried deer hide and some blood saved from a previous hunt to make a trail for Belle and a younger dog, Sam, to follow near his Spicewood home. Belle, 18 months old, is experienced beyond her age. Nose to the ground and with little hesitation, she finds the final resting place of the hide in no time and enjoys her pepperoni treat.

Sam, a younger dog, sniffs the air and takes a little more time.

“It’s just for us to keep our dogs working and having fun. That’s their fun,” Shane said. “She’s a natural at everything and Sam, he’s a dang good dog and does what he’s supposed to do, but he still does it off of (Belle). He’s only 9 months old, and he’s coming along, and he’s doing real good now.”

Belle is the pro. In May, she placed second out of all dogs at the National Lacy Dog Association’s Working Dog Field Day tracking challenge at Reveille Peak Ranch in Burnet.

An 8-year-old Catahoula cur dog edged her out for the top spot. The competition uses 8 ounces of blood over a 500-yard course with three turns to challenge the dogs.

Belle found the target close to the seven-minute mark.

Shane’s journey to training tracking dogs began about three years ago when his blue heeler helped find a deer downed on a ranch near Paducah.

“He went right to it. We would have never found it in that scrub brush,” Shane said. “When he did that, I said, ‘I’m going to find us some tracking dogs.’”

After researching, Shane found one breed that kept coming up: the blue Lacy.

“What also sold me on it was that it’s the state dog,” he said. “It’s like everyone tells me, it’s addictive. Once you get one, you (must) have more, and now we have nine of them.”

Shane said they’ll sell the pups but will interview potential owners for matches.

“They’re so driven to do something all day long, they can’t be in the house sitting around,” he said. “If you don’t have time for them, you don’t need them.”

But Shane makes the time for his, and it’s part of the reason he and his dogs are sought during the hunting season.

“It all works as a team with a breeder and a tracker,” he said. “I’m learning from her as she’s learning from me.”

Those interested can visit his website at www.txhillcountrytrackers.com, the NLDA website at www.nationallacydog.org or the Texas Lacy Game Dog Association website at www.lacydog.com for more information.

jared@thepicayune.com