Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors Show organizers announce that the finalists have been chosen to compete in the World Championship Boatyard Dog Trials.

The trials will take place Sunday, Aug. 11, during the 11th Annual Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors Show, at Harbor Park in Rockland.

Always a favorite with the crowd, the trials are a zany, light-hearted paw-to-paw competition among the cream of Maine’s canine corps. The field of competing dogs is pre-selected; the organizers emphasize that for liability reasons ONLY those dogs will be allowed onto show grounds. Please leave all other pets at home to avoid disappointment.

The kick-off parade will be at 10:15 a.m., with the contestants, a flock of puffins, and the newly crowned 2013 Maine Sea Goddess and Crown Princess. The trials themselves will begin at 10:30 a.m. in the inner harbor with viewing from the seawall.

The trials consist of three events: the Dockside Obstacle Course, in which dog and handler negotiate a maze of funky dockside paraphernalia; the Dinghy Hop, in which dog and handler scramble in and out of a very tippy dinghy; and a Freestyle segment, during which each dog shows off any special talents. No holds are barred for this segment, but a tennis ball must be included in the performance, and either the dog or person must be soaking wet when they finish.

Chewbacca (a.k.a. “Chewie”) – Homeport: Bath

Four years old, chocolate-colored, and the self-appointed supervisor of the Maine’s First Ship project to build a replica of the Virginia on the banks of the Kennebec River in Bath, Chewbacca is raring to compete. But his entry in the trials almost didn’t happen: in March Chewbacca suffered a near-fatal accident at the worksite. A huge oak timber slipped and fell on the passing dog and he was flattened. After a pedal-to-the-metal race to the vet’s office 30 miles away, three veterinarians and a mammal neurologist did all they could to repair his four broken ribs and internal injuries.

That was more than four months ago, and Chewie has made a miraculous recovery. He still reports to work, and his training regimen — swimming in the river as often as possible and chasing a tennis ball as long as someone is willing to throw it — is back in full swing. Chewbacca, is fully recovered, often wet, sometimes energetic, sometimes laid back. Oh — he’s a Labrador retriever, in case you hadn’t guessed.

Fiona (a.k.a. Celtic Cross’ Fiona of Loch Ern) – Homeport: Southwest Harbor

Fiona was the Boat Yard Pup in the July issue of Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors magazine this year; now she plans to win the Boatyard Dog Competition. Despite having the longest name of any of our competitors, she weighs just 8 pounds soaking wet. She has been prepping her humans for the trials all fall and winter via weekly agility training, obedience training, AND rally training. After all that, Fiona reports that she will be great at jumping in and out of the tippy dinghy in the Dinghy Hop part of the competition. Now, while she can swim, Fiona doesn’t love cold ocean water, but she does love boats, and works hard at keeping everything organized above the waterline. She says that she is also just a tad crazy, which is why she thinks she will clean up at the trials.

After her victory she plans to lounge on the dash next to her trophy, soak in the sun, and see the sights of the Deer Isle Thoroughfare again, one of her favorite places in Maine.

Gatsby – Homeport: Scarborough

Gatsby is a rare Flying Chocolate Labrador Retriever. She lives with her humans and canine sister in Buxton, where they have fun! All! The! Time! Although just 2-and-half years old, Gatsby already has a job, as president and CEO (Canine Executive Officer) of TBIS (Tennis Ball Investigation Services). She can find tennis balls that are buried, hidden, stolen, and floating, and has solved hundreds of missing tennis ball cases in her short lifetime.

Gatsby just loves the water. In fact, if she had thumbs she’d captain her own boat. She also has many hobbies, but her favorite is dock diving. You can find her on the dock at local competitions and also practicing near home. The best part about dock diving is that she gets to jump after tennis balls and go swimming at the same time. Gatsby likes to mix work with pleasure, and jumps farthest when the crowd goes crazy, which makes her a perfect BYD candidate.

Huckleberry – Homeport: Portland

Huckleberry is an irresistible, big-hearted, 3-year-old male Saint Bernard with a larger-than-life personality. He found his current “furever” home at 16 weeks of age, after he had been placed with Saint Bernard Rescue when his previous owner was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He was very, very sad about that, of course, but now he is thrilled to have a new mum. He thinks she is absolutely perfect because she loves all the same things he does.

And what does Huck love? Lobster fishing aboard his boat Seadonk in Casco Bay, watching the Boston Bruins & Red Sox, swimming, snowball fights, kids, other dogs (even the little ones), cocktail parties, food, and belly rubs. He can be full of rambunctious antics yet will sit on your feet or lie in your lap. His freestyle act at the trials will probably combine his best traits: he is giant, sweet, patient, and gentle, with a tail and a tongue that can clean off a kitchen table. Huckleberry’s keg is full and he’s ready to play!

Otter – Homeport: Wayland, Mass.

The reigning World Champion Boatyard Dog, Otter, is a fine specimen of the black Lab-ish variety with a secret talent to go along with the expected duties at which all championship-caliber canines must excel (such as stick chasing, rolling on the beach, supervising the crew, and guarding any young’ns in their care at the beach).

Otter is a poet. A few lines she pawed appear below:

“When we caught wind of the dog trials to be held, we were very excited by what we smelled. If you like a good game of fetch the stick, or enjoy the show of a swim oh-so-quick, hold on to your paddles ladies and gents, we’ve got a crowd pleaser for your event!”

Expect a lyrical entry from this bundle of energy on the big day as she goes all out to defend her title from all comers. Will Otter keep the coveted Pup Cup?

Ruffles – Homeport: Cushing

Ruffles is a 1-year-old Portuguese water dog. She lives in Cushing on Maple Juice Cove, but she and her gang like to spend time hanging out at Olson’s Wharf, gossiping, checking out the cute boy dogs, and watching the lobstermen load and unload traps, gear, and sweetly-scented bait (yum!). As part of her training regimen, she has convinced the fishermen to throw rocks for her and she dives to retrieve them. She also has devised a workout in which she jumps overboard to swim with any willing flock of ducks she can find. To build her stamina, she bribes them to paddle along just a couple of feet ahead of her at all times.

She has two goals at the Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors Show. One is to win the crazy dog trials so she has lots to brag about down to the wharf, and the other is to show everyone just how much fun water and boats can be.

Custom Float Services of Portland is again the lead sponsor. Time-Warner cable is the media sponsor. Supporting sponsors are Bell’s Furry Friends Photography of Hermon, Sea Bags, of Portland; and The Loyal Biscuit Co., of Rockland.

Judges will be Dale Dyer of Custom Float Services; Dr. Bjorn Lee of Pen Bay Veterinary Associates in Rockport; and Gretchen Piston Ogden, editor at large of Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors magazine. The trials will again be spiced up by the verbal antics of emcees Mike Joyce and Alan Sprague, who are also the co-hosts of WERU-FM’s call-in show “Boattalk” (89.9 FM and

For more information about the show, its exhibitors, and other show events, visit