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Dogs go big and fast at Teva

Lauren Glendenning
Vail, CO Colorado
TMG Dog Big Air 1 DT 6-3-12
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VAIL – Bark. Drool. Pant. Focus.

Bark. Drool. Pant. Focus.

Repeat about 100 times.



That’s the general routine for the dogs competing in the Teva Mountain Games Dock Dogs events, which culminated Sunday with big air and speed retrieve.

It’s an event for dog lovers – there were probably 100 dogs within the crowd of spectators, some gazing at the competition pool and wishing they could go in for a dip, too.

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If you’ve never seen dock dogs before, it’s a fantastic display of the bond between man and man’s best friend. There’s a reason people and dogs get along so well. Each simply makes the other smile – isn’t that the definition of a great relationship?

And nothing makes these dock dogs competitors smile more than when their owners allow them to play, fetch, swim and run. It’s doggie bliss – it’s pure heaven.

Benjamin Dale, of Avon, can make a pretty good guess about what his dog, Flour, is thinking as she runs across the dock and leaps into the water.



“I love you! I love you! I love you! – I want the ball! Give me the ball,” Dale said.

Flour picked up third place in the semi-professional division for Big Air Sunday, when just one year ago at the Teva Mountain Games Flour hesitated and couldn’t bring herself to jump off the dock during competition. On Sunday, however, she jumped more than 21 feet.

“She didn’t jump (last year),” Dale said. “We just practiced, practiced, practiced – eventually she got the confidence to do it and jumped in and now’s she’s semi-pro.”

That’s the thing about Dock Dogs – you don’t have to be a professional dog trainer to get your dog involved. Ashley Amdor is 10 years old and handles her family dog, Napoleon, during competitions.

“It’s just fun for the whole family to do,” Ashley said, adding that her dog loves to get in the water and enjoys being at the competitions.

It’s the same for Amy Temcio and her dog, Charlie.

“She’s just playing a game,” Temcio said. “She just wants to get the toy.”

Temcio laughs as Charlie continuously tugs at her leash on the sidelines of the dock.

“She’s the calmest dog until we get into the water,” Temcio said.

It’s the same with Mike Kittinger’s pointer lab mix, Henry, who couldn’t stop barking after he had his turn in the water Sunday. He just wanted to go again and again, not really understanding why he couldn’t simply get back in the pool and play.

Kittinger and Henry have been entering Dock Dogs competitions for nearly a year. It’s a way Kittinger says his dog can not only have a great time, but also release some energy.

“He has so much energy,” Kittinger said. “He loves to swim and chase a Frisbee.”

Kittinger found a local group near his home in Kansas City and decided to bring Henry in to see how he did.

“He was really good,” Kittinger said, like a proud parent.

When it’s competition time and Henry sets his eyes on the toy that his owner is going to throw for him, his owner imagines what’s going through his head.

“He’s probably freaking out – he’s just totally completely nuts about toys,” Kittinger said.

And while the dogs might be nuts about their toys, their owners are simply nuts about them.

Kathy Willis, whose golden retriever Rowdy won the Speed Retrieve finals Sunday, went to pick up his first-place ribbon with a huge ear-to-ear grin on her face.

“He loves it, he just loves it,” she said about Rowdy. “He gets so jazzed – he loves to fly and he loves the water. I love it because he loves it.”

Assistant Managing Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or lglendenning@vaildaily.com.

Big Air Pro

1. Gary Hansen and Jackson, Minnetonka, Minn.

2. Rande Murphy and Quasi (black lab), Scottsville, Ken.

3. Erika Jones and Otis (mixed breed), Denver.

Big Air Semi-Pro

1. Nicole Smith and Bill (black lab), Vail.

2. John Van Soest and Ku (Dutch shepherd), Denver

3. Benjamin Dale and Flour (border collie), Avon.

Big Air Amateur

1. Sam Taylor and Diem (black lab), Erie, Colo.

2. Barb Heil and Kobee (border collie), Broomfield, Colo.

3. Denise Moberg and Dakota (yellow lab), Fort Collins.

Speed Retrieve

1. Kathy Willis and Rowdy (golden retriever), Littleton.

2. Ashley Amdor and Napolean (black lab), Albuquerque, N.M.

3. Amy Temcio and Charlie (chocolate lab), Peoria, Ariz.

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