Boatyard Dogs show their skills
Rockland — The World Championship Boat Yard Dog Trials kicked off a rainy Sunday at the Maine Boats, Homes and Harbors 10th annual show that took place Aug. 10 through Aug. 12. The event is described on the magazine's website as a "somewhat silly paw-to-paw competition" and "always a crowd favorite."
A field of seven preselected canines of all sizes and backgrounds joined their handlers to compete on Rockland Harbor. The winner, a lab mix named Otter, was accompanied by her pair of spirited young handlers. All three took to the chilly waters with gusto to the delight of the spectators. Tiny chihuahua Pixel strutted her stuff in a pink tutu, though she avoided the water she dazzled the crowd with her plethora of tricks on the float. Many of the dogs were announced as rescued animals, hailing from shelters as far away as Tennessee and Alabama.
2011 Boat Yard Dog champion Fenway and her handler Rockland Police Officer Joel Neal were on hand to demonstrate Fenway's winning moves. Though Neal and Fenway took a respite from competition in 2012, their antics delighted the enthusiastic crowd.
The rules encouraged cheating and required that either dog or human end their routine completely soaked. Additionally a hula hoop was required to be included in the freestyle portion of each routine.
Ultimately more handlers than dogs found their way into the drink. Bribes were encouraged and competitors did not disappoint providing a variety of enticing offerings from lobster meat to T-shirts. Judges looked on from the water, clip boards in hand, their vessel approaching the float periodically to accept their bribes. Judges were Veterinarian Bjorn Lee, Dale Dyer, Lucinda Lang and Gretchen Piston Ogden, managing editor of Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors magazine. Emcees were Mike Joyce and Alan Sprague of the WERU-FM radio show "Boattalk."
A people's choice award wagon was parked on the show grounds throughout the weekend allowing attendees to cast their vote in favor of the canine they preferred. One dollar equaled one vote and all proceeds were to be donated to local shelters. Each participating dog received a goody bag. As the overall winner Otter will steward the "Pup Cup" trophy until the 2013 competition.
Courier Publications reporter Jenna Lookner can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at email@example.com