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The City Journals

Dog Trainer Saves DockDogs Competition

Jul 06, 2016 09:23AM ● By Tori La Rue

A dog leaps from a dock during the Tattle Tails Dogfest at the Golden Spike Event Center on May 21 and 22. The Dogfest included a DockDogs, a traveling dog sport competition. – Cassie Swift

By Tori La Rue | [email protected]

Dogs leaped from a dock gaining five, six and sometimes even nearly seven feet of air before splashing into a pool of water at the Golden Spike Event Center during Weber County’s first DockDogs competition on May 20 and 21. 

With more than 50 competitors, a dozen vendors and eight sponsors, spectators might not have known that the event was organized in less than a week. 

DockDogs, a sporting event for dogs, travels around the country and world, allowing K9s to compete against each other in a track-meets-swimming type of event. DockDogs officiators were planning to host an event during an outdoor expo at the Maverik Center in West Valley on May 20, but the event unexpectedly canceled, leaving owners and their dogs out of a competition that many of them had been looking forward to for months. That’s when dog trainer Cassie Swift started organizing a new DockDogs event on the same weekend.

“Cassie – she is really a leader and people look up to in this sport, so she was able to pull everyone together to find sponsors and get individuals to brainstorm ideas and donate money,” Gilbert Latta, DogDocks enthusiast, said. 

Swift scheduled the Golden Spike Event Center for the competition and booked vendors that primarily focused on dog products. She renamed the event the Tattle Tails Dogfest, hoping to raise awareness for Tattle Tails Scent Dogs, a group that raises puppies as diabetic alert dogs. 

Although the weather wasn’t the sunniest, Cassie said the event was still a success. When a few contestants’ tents blew over, other participants went to help them clean up the mess and get things back in order.

“You don’t see what goes on behind the scenes very often, but the support and friendship the competitors have with each other is great,” said Andrea Webb, who brought her dog to the Ogden DockDogs event. “The Tattle Tails dog fest was different (from other DockDogs events) for a variety of reasons – the main one being that there was so much support and friendship to get it put together in just six days. Everyone there was there to cheer each other on, even if another dog out jumped yours.” 

Oftentimes Dockdogs events are side events at bigger conventions, but at the Tattle Tails Dogfest, it was the main event, and Latta said it was nice to be surrounded by a community of people who were all passionate about the same activity. 

“We were all there for the same reason – DockDogs” Latta said. 

DockDogs has three events in their competitions, but all of them involve dogs jumping off of a dock into a pool of water. The first is called Big Air – similar to the long jump, the second is called Extreme Vertical – basically the doggie high jump and the third is called Speed Retrieve, which is like freestyle swimming for dogs. Dogs who compete in all three events are eligible to compete in the Iron Dog challenge, where their scores in all three events are considered for an overall ranking. 

Along with organizing the event, Swift brought her DogDocks team Hawaiian Chaos to the event, which is comprise of herself, her husband and six dogs. Four of her dogs – Maleki, Kona, Maui and Bear –  compete and the other two dogs, Luna and Midnight, are their “cheerleaders,” swift said. 

Three of Swift’s four dogs made the finals for Big Air, Kona finished fifth in the pro finals, Maui finished third in contender finals and Bear finished fourth in amateur finals. Kona placed second overall in Iron Dog, Extreme Vertical and Speed Retrieve. Swift said winning is not the reason why they enjoy DockDogs, however. 

“We compete because we have fun with our family, dogs and friends,” Swift said. 

Swift said she thinks the Tattle Tails Dogfest will be back next year with even more vendors, competitors and sponsors. After what was pulled together in six days, Swift said she is confident that there is a lot of potential for DockDogs in the Ogden area, and said she’s looking forward to planning the next event.