20 Sep 2019

Snuffling for truffle treasure

From Country Life, 9:35 pm on 20 September 2019

Indi is a cocker spaniel with a nose for truffles.

North Island growers engage Indi and her trainer, Karen Drummond, to dig out the delicacy on around 60 properties from Whangarei to Wellington.

This year it finally happened.

Sue Arnold and Peter Hodges waited 12 long years for their oak trees to produce truffles, then came a whoop from truffle dog trainer Karen Drummond.

Indi had sniffed out 300 grams of black Perigord truffles under the one tree.

For the past five years, Karen has been bringing Indi to Peter and Sue's property at Matangi, just outside Hamilton, to search under their 146 oak trees for any scent of the delicacy.

It had reached the point where Peter wondered if Indi really knew what she was doing... but not anymore.

He and Sue cracked open a bottle of bubbly to celebrate with Karen.  

"I get disappointed when the dog doesn't find anything for a client but they can't find something that's not there," Karen says.

She says Indi loves her work.

"She's an absolute stunner. She's a fast worker and she locates truffles and if she misses any she takes you back so she's after the scent.

"She's dying to go now, she's sort of saying 'why are we standing here talking? I need to get on with my job'."