“Wait…wait…wa-a-a-it!” I give this command as I keep eye contact with my excited chocolate Labrador Retriever, Sally, sitting impatiently at the far end of the dock. Sally is having a difficult time waiting as she squirms and trembles with anticipation. One more “wait” is needed to keep her sitting in her place as she is about to burst with excitement.
Holding Sally’s bumper out in front of me to ramp up her strong drive, I plant my feet at the end of the dock by the water and give her one last look of “Are you ready?”
Realizing she cannot possibly hold it any longer, I yell out, “Get it, girl! Get it..get it…get it!”
With that first sound of “Get it,” the little chocolate Lab explodes in a 30-mph sprint down the 40-foot dock and launches out over the pool filled with 30,000 gallons of water. All she cares about is chasing after that bumper which I have tossed out over the water.
Splashing down, retrieving the bumper, swimming back to the exit ramp are all part of the great adventure for Sally that we call dock diving. It is truly an awesome sport, fun for humans and dogs alike.
Sally is one of our Labs that is part of our team known as Team 4 Dawg Flite. Two of our dogs, Sally and Spud, have been dock diving with the organization DockDogs®, Inc. for five years in venues from Iowa to St. Louis to Ohio to Maryland to Florida and all stops in between. This is their job, and they relish every single minute they spend competing.
Being such a driven and focused little Chocolate Lab, Sally competes in all three Dock Dog disciplines: Big Air (measures distance jumped), Extreme Vertical (measures height jumped), and Speed Retrieve (measures speed of the jump and swim). Because Sally competes in all three, that makes her an Iron Dog.
Spud, one of our Yellow Labs, competes in Big Air and Extreme Vertical. Next season Spud will try his paw at Speed Retrieve and hopefully become an Iron Dog.
In June, 2013, Sally and Spud competed at the DockDogs® Eastern Regional Championships in McHenry, Maryland. They both performed quite well, and Sally even earned an invitation to the 2013 DockDogs® World Championships in Dubuque, Iowa, in November.
The third member of our team, Hoppy, our other Yellow Lab, has yet to find his dock diving genes. He loves swimming and retrieving from the shore at the lake, but he has no interest in jumping off a dock. He is, however, a very valuable contributor to our team, as he is our Chase Away K9 Cancer donation collection dog, a job at which he excels. And what makes Hoppy such an excellent donation collection dog? Why, it’s because he has such an outgoing and loving personality coupled with the fact that he is a great kisser! That’s right; when we put that Chase Away K9 Cancer donation vest on Hoppy and send him out to work the crowds, children run to put money in his vest and get kisses from Hoppy. Chase Away K9 Cancer is our team’s charity which we totally support by sending them 100% of all money collected by Hoppy.
You might ask if we have only three Labs, then why is out team name Team 4 Dawg Flite? We lost our fourth team member, our old boy Badger, last year. We had to let him go on to the bridge, but in his honor and memory, we kept our team name Team 4 Dawg Flite. Besides, we will probably get a fourth Lab again before long.
Because our dock diving events take us on travel adventures all around the country, our dogs have become quite used to all the many facets of traveling. They know how to sleep while riding, eat supper at rest stops, take potty breaks when we stop, and they are the best hotel guests anywhere. They truly are a joy to take on these travels.
Dock diving, however, is not their only source of fun and entertainment. They have been on vacations at the beach, once with two other Labrador Retriever families. We all stayed in the same big beach house with our seven Labrador Retrievers. What fun it was to watch these Labs romp daily at the beach and then crash each evening out of total exhaustion.
In addition to her many DockDogs® titles, Sally, the team leader, also earned her AKC Junior Hunt title in March, 2013. You give that girl a bird to retrieve, and she is in heaven for sure!
Spud’s job, in addition to dock diving, is his work as a therapy dog. Certified through Therapy Dogs International, Spud makes regular visits to nursing homes, children library programs, and various school functions. It’s always so wonderful to see the patients at the nursing homes actually waiting out on the porch for Spud’s arrival. When he’s at these nursing homes, he is a rock star!
Someone posted a saying on Facebook that said, “I work so my dog can have a better life.” After seeing that, I wondered who in the world knew me well enough to make that post about me, because that pretty well sums up our attitude toward Sally, Spud and Hoppy. Whether it’s competing at a DockDogs® event, working in the field, making an elderly person smile, or just lying around the house collecting belly rubs, Team 4 Dawg Flite is now and will continue to be the heart and center of our home. There are no words to express the joy, satisfaction and total love we feel toward these Labs and the appreciation we have for all they give us daily.
So bring on the DockDogs® events; bring on the bumpers and birds; bring on the children and elderly folk needing reassurance; bring on the tennis balls and kitchen floors slobbery with Lab drool; bring on the couches covered with Lab hair; bring on the six inches of a king size bed we’re left to sleep on. Because through these elements, you are bringing on all the love and fun we could ever desire.
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://labradorretrieverguide.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/00.-3-dawgs.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]For more information about Team 4 Dawg flite, please visit our website at www.3dawgflite.com, or contact Nancy at email@example.com. Nancy is available to do presentations on dock diving or Labrador Retrievers in general for your meetings.[/author_info] [/author]