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Contenders taking flight

Airborne pooches steal show

POSTED: September 4, 2012 5:00 p.m.
Autumn Vetter/

Rick Nielsen tosses a toy for Ripp during the Rucker Falling for DockDogs event Saturday at Rucker Pet.

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Pigs may not fly, but such is not always the case with dogs.

Rucker Pet in north Forsyth held the Rucker Falling for DockDogs event Saturday, allowing pets to compete in jumping competitions and proud owners to put them on display.

The Dixie Dock Dogs, an affiliate club of DockDogs Worldwide, is the only such club in Georgia where dogs participate in the sport of dock diving.

Although the club began in 2008 with four members and three dogs, it has since grown to more than 100 members and close to 100 dogs.

For Saturday’s competition, dogs jumped from a 40-foot dock into a 38-foot long pool and were judged based on three categories: big air, extreme vertical and speed retrieve.

Food vendors were also on hand at the Keith Bridge Road store, and pet adoptions were available through the Forsyth County Humane Society.

The event continued through the holiday weekend. Proceeds benefitted the humane society.

Nancy Akin, publicity chairman for Dixie Dock Dogs, said the popularity of dock diving in the area has been evident from the success of past events.

“We had brought a dock diving event up to the Lake Lanier area in Gainesville for the two Pet Fests in September 2010 and 2011, so this area was familiar with our club and our events,” she said. “Obviously, this area of Atlanta loves DockDogs.”

For some animals and their owners, Saturday’s events were the first exposure they had to the sport.

Newcomers were given the opportunity to take their dogs to a practice pool, where they could experiment with jumping before performing on the main stage.

James and Indie Hamston brought their 2-year-old golden retriever mix, Pixie, out to experience the sights, sounds and splashes of the competition for the first time.

“We didn’t know how she would react to the water since she has never really gotten to swim before, but we took her to the practice pool and she hopped right in there,” Indie Hamston said.

“I think letting her watch other dogs chase after their toys in the pool encouraged her that it was OK to do.”

With 28,000 gallons of water in the competition pool, there was plenty of room for every dog that wanted to jump in.

In the words of Akin, the highlight of dock diving events is when owners get to share in the excitement of their canine best friends.

“The most important part of this DockDogs competition, or any other DockDogs competition, is how much fun we have with our dogs,” she said.

“These dogs are absolutely crazy to get up on the dock and jump, and it’s just so much fun watching them have fun."

 

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