My Story Went to the Dogs

What do a bloodhound, a satellite, and a tracking device have in common? The answer is a search and research. I researched all three were subjects for my short novel, Fellowship (formerly Ian’s Trust). After the research, my story went to the dogs. 

Fellowship is the story of Ian Hobart, an eighteen-year-old high school student. Ian lives in an imaginary town between Lynchburg, Virginia and the Blue Ridge Mountains. His parents and older brother are Taken by the Fellowship. Ian in a desperate attempt to save his younger siblings takes them into the mountains. 

The pursuit of Ian and his siblings takes place in the same world but a couple of years before My Soul to Keep. To create a believable pursuit, I needed to learn about methods of tracking escapees. 

Early Communication Satellites

I dove into the history of early satellites and telemetry to learn about tracking methods like GPS. 

The first artificial Earth satellite was Sputnik 1. Launched by the Soviet Union on October 4, 1957, Sputnik had an on-board radio-transmitter. A major step in space exploration, it was not a communications satellite.

The first satellite purpose-built to relay communications was NASA’s Project SCORE in 1958. It stored and forwarded tape-recorded voice messages. 

Image of Echo I, a balloon satellite launched by NASA and part of the research that meant my story went to the dogs.
public domain

Launched in 1960 Project Echo was the first passive communication satellite. Signals from one location on Earth bounced off Echo to another earthly location.

The U.S. Department of Defense launched the GPS project in 1973. Intended for use by the United States military, it became available to the public in the 1980s. 

That’s where my research ended. My timeline and the world of My Soul to Keep would not have as advanced a space program as we did in reality. So, GPS tracking was out. 

Electronic Tagging

An electronic tracking device and its receiver--another item that failed to fit my story so my story went to the dogs.
The electronic tracking device (bottom) is surgically implanted in paddlefish. The device sends a signal to the receiver (top) which records data that can be downloaded wirelessly. U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Northeast Region [Public domain]

Electronic tagging is a method of surveillance. A tracking device is attached to the animal or person. Devices can use GPS technology or RF (radio frequency) technology.

Ralph Kirkland Schwitzgebel led a team Psychological Experimentation at Harvard University. He created a tracking device to relieve inmate crowding. His 1968 experiments with prototypes are the basis of today’s technologies for electronic monitoring systems. 

And so, electronic tagging was also not available in my story’s timeline or world. 


Photo of a bloodhound tracking a scent in the field--this is what I mean when I say my story went to the dogs.
John Leslie from London, UK [CC BY 2.0 (]

Bloodhounds are a scent hound. Their origins reach far back into history.

The French monastery, St. Hubert, bred hounds in 727 AD. This may be the origin of the true bloodhound.

Robert the Bruce (King of Scots 1306-1329) and William Wallace, a Scottish knight (1270-1305) used Sleuth Hounds (bloodhounds) to track and hunt people. 

 In 1860 Bloodhounds entered England’s second national dog show.

Bloodhounds can track a scent in the air and on the ground. A bloodhound can follow his nose for 130 miles or more. He can pick up a trail that’s almost two weeks old.

My Story Went to the Dogs

Enter a tracker named Fischer and his bloodhound, Xena. 

With a bloodhound on their trail, can Ian and his siblings escape? 

Did you really think I’d answer that one? My story went to the dogs but you’ll have to read Fellowship to find out what happens to Ian and his siblings. Coming soon to your favorite online bookstore,


    1. I’ll bet you have been down the rabbit hole of research, Jennette! And thanks for your kind words about Fellowship.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *