Weekend: Dogpawlooza makes a splash!

The Humane Society and SPCA of Hancock County and the Hancock Park District invite you to the Ultimate Dogpawlooza on Saturday, Sept. 13 from 9 a.m. to approximately 6 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 14 from 10 a.m. to approximately 4 p.m. at Riverbend Recreation Area, located at 16618 Township 208, east of Findlay.
The Ultimate Dogpawlooza features the sixth annual dog walk and Ultimate Air Dogs.
Dog walk registration will begin at 8 a.m. and end at 8:45 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 13 at Shelter House 7 next to the Dog Park at Riverbend Recreation Area.
This two-mile walk along the Bridle Trail will begin at 9 a.m. and end around 10 a.m.
Pre-registration entry fees for the dog walk are $15 per family and one dog. Registration the day of the event will be $20. Additional dogs are $5 per dog. All walk entrants will receive a shopping tote full of goodies. To view the Bridle Trail, visit www.hancockparks.com.
Ultimate Air Dog check-in begins at 10 a.m. and the first “Splash” begins at 11 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. The event will take place rain or shine.
The proceeds of this event will help the Humane Society provide for the animals in its shelter. Without local support, the Humane Society and SPCA of Hancock County could not exist. It is a little-known fact that the Humane Society of the United States and the ASPCA do not financially support Hancock County’s local shelter, and it receives no tax dollars.
Ultimate Air Dogs is the dock-jumping organization that has been featured on ESPN and has appeared on Good Morning America and the David Letterman Show.
Dogs run down a 40-foot dock and handlers get them to jump as far as they can, chasing their favorite toy, into a tank of 30,000 gallons of water. “High-flying” dogs can reach distances of 28 feet.
Dock-jumping started as a sport in 1997 when Purina needed to add to its “Incredible Dog Challenge.” Its popularity exploded in 2000 when ESPN added it to lumberjack programming and developed the Great Outdoor Games.
Distance jumping is the main feature at Ultimate Air Dogs. It is showcased in different rounds called “Splashes” that culminate at the end of the event with division finals.
Each competitor gets two jumps per Splash, with the bigger of the two jumps counting as the score. A dog’s score is placed into a division according to the distance. The top five dogs in each division then compete at the end of the event in the finals for ribbons and bragging rights. Dog and handler teams also earn annual titles on the Ultimate Air Dog database by participating in a Splash.
As long as a dog can swim and is at least 6 months old, all breeds (mixed or purebred) and all sizes from Yorkies to Great Danes are encouraged to participate. Female dogs in heat are banned from the premises for the protection of all event dogs. There will be an open practice if time permits, so first-timers are welcome to attend and allow their dogs to try their paws at Splashes for $10 per day. If dogs are having difficulty learning, a crew of volunteers will often provide free help between activities.
Participants may register online for a $15 fee per round at www.ultimateairdogs.com (click on Events and scroll to Hancock Park Humane Society). Registration will also be available the day of the event for $20 per round at the Ultimate Air Dogs event tent. Watching the event is free of charge.
The official schedule for the Ultimate Air Dog events:
Saturday at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m.
Sunday at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and divisional finals will be held at 3 p.m.
Hancock County residents are encouraged to come and cheer on a local Ultimate Air Dog celebrity, Polo, and his handlers, Linda and Jerry Casey. A real show-off, Polo jumps better when he has a large fan base rooting for him. Polo, a 5-year-old golden retriever, is in his fourth year of jumping and has earned several titles. He loves to do tricks as well, and won the Humane Society Best Trick of the Year Award in 2012.
A mutt strut will showcase the shelter dogs at Ultimate Air Dogs. There will also be demonstrations throughout the day of the 4-H agility obstacle course for dogs in the dog park, and the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit.
Also planned are contests for best-dressed pets, amazing pet tricks, and pet and owner look-alike.
Benefit the shelter by coming prepared to pack a LaRiche Subaru full of Humane Society wish list items, such as: bleach, paper plates, paper towels and trash bags. A full list of wish list items can be found on the Humane Society’s website. In addition, informational and vendor booths will be available to browse.
In the Brugeman Lodge, the Vanlue and Washington Township fire departments will be offering an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. They will also be offering many other food choices throughout the event on both days. In addition, other local food vendors will be present offering a variety of refreshments.
For dog walk registration forms or for more information, contact either the Humane Society or the park district by calling 419-423-1664 or 419-425-7275, walk in at 4550 Fostoria Ave. or 1424 E. Main Cross St. in Findlay, or go online at www.hancockhumanesociety.com or www.hancockparks.com.

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