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Jumping dogs raise money for humane society

We aren’t the only ones who are capable of making waves of change when it comes to volunteer service. This weekend, you can bring out your four-legged friend Nov. 20 through 22 to “Hogs and Air Dogs,” a three-day Ultimate Air Dogs Dock event at Six Bends Harley-Davidson. Here you can come enjoy local vendors and watch dogs compete, all in the name of raising money for Gulf Coast Humane Society and other local rescues.
“It’s a national qualifier event,” said Kelly Legarreta, director of volunteer services and training coordinator at Gulf Coast Humane Society. “There will be vendors and music and there is a registration fee if you would like to jump your dog. One of the neat things about this event is that Ultimate Air Dogs does not require you to be a member in order to participate in the event.”
Owners are able to register their dogs in three different events: “fetch it,” “catch it” and “chase it.” In the first event, “fetch it,” a bumper will be suspended four feet above the water, and starting at a minimum distance of 10 feet out, the dog must knock the bumper out of its hold within two tries to move to the next level. The dog that knocks the bumper off at the farthest distance wins.

During “fetch it,” each dog is allotted two jumps. Competing dogs will jump from a platform while simultaneously catching an object thrown before they land in the water. The dogs are then judged from two distance points; however, the dog must catch the object thrown for the jump to count. The distance is recorded where the dog makes the catch, as well as where the dogs tail lands in the water. Each dog gets two back-to-back chances to make its best catch.

Then, the jump distances are added together for the score.
Lastly, “chase it” is a timed swimming race that ultimately proves which dog is the fastest. The dog starts at the water’s edge end of the dock and ends at a predetermined finish line.
If you don’t plan on competing at the event, there is still plenty to do and see. According to the UAD website, the events have been known to sometimes bring in more than 1,000 guests. Some come to their events to meet the UAD president and main announcer, Milt Wilcox, a former pitcher for the Detroit Tigers who won Game 3 in the 1984 World Series.

“It will be dogs jumping in the water and extreme sports all day,” Legarreta said. “The events will all take place over the span of three days, and they should all be fun, splashy days. I really hope it raises a lot of money for Gulf Coast Humane Society.”

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Gulf Coast Humane Society is a non-kill shelter that serves as a safe haven for neglected animals all over Southwest Florida. Gulf Coast Humane Society does not receive any federal, state or county funding and no funding from the Humane Society of the United States or ASPCA. It relies solely on donations and fundraising events to further its ability to care for abandoned pets. The pets of the Gulf Coast Humane Society remain in their care until they find their forever home because it is a non-kill shelter. Events such as “Hogs and Air Dogs” allow them to facilitate just that.

If you would like more information on “Hogs and Air Dogs” or would like to register your four- legged athlete, you can visit the website www.
If you are interested in volunteering or would like to become more involved, contact Kelly Legarreta at volunteers@ gulfcoasthumanesociety. org.

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