Fort Collins dogs raise money for community at 23rd annual Doggie Olympics

Miranda Moses

 

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  • Zeb, the red healer, gives his owner a high five as part of the best trick competition at the Doggie Olympics Sept. 16. (Ashley Potts | Collegian)

  • Bailey, the pug and border collie mix, jumps through a hoop as part of the best trick competition at the Doggie Olympics Sept. 16. (Ashley Potts | Collegian)

  • Haley competes in the extended down competition at the Doggie Olympics Sept. 16. Dogs were required to ‘stay’ through a sequence of distractions. (Ashley Potts | Collegian)

  • Zeb, the red healer, jumps through an obstacle at the Doggie Olympics Sept. 16. (Ashley Potts | Collegian)

  • Toe, the English cocker spaniel, competes in the extended down competition at the Doggie Olympics Sept. 16. Dogs were required to ‘stay’ through a sequence of distractions. (Ashley Potts | Collegian)

  • Seamus, the dachsund terrier mix, jumps through an obstacle at the Doggie Olympics Sept. 16. (Ashley Potts | Collegian)

  • Bailey, the pug and border collie mix, jumps over an obstacle in the agility course at the Doggie Olympics Sept. 16. (Ashley Potts | Collegian)

  • Zeb, the red healer, jumps into his owners arms as part of the best trick competition at the Doggie Olympics Sept. 16. (Ashley Potts | Collegian)

  • Bailey, the pug and border collie mix, jumps through an obstacle in the agility course at the Doggie Olympics Sept. 16. (Ashley Potts | Collegian)

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Amongst the array of dog-centered events Fort Collins offers annually, the Doggie Olympics gives four-legged residents a chance to show that they are not just pretty, fuzzy faces. 

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Dogs of all ages, sizes, and abilities were invited to compete in this year’s Olympics Sunday at City Park. The event commenced at a sunny 9 a.m. and ended at 1 p.m., during which time dogs were able to contend in 14 events of their choosing and qualification, such as the 25 Yard Dash, the Land Retrieve,  the Toy Catch, the Marathon Down and the Obstacle Course competition.

Between events, canines were able to socialize with each other, and many barked from the sidelines. Sponsors such as the High Country Basset Hound Rescue, The Larimer County Humane Society and Friendship Hospital for Animals, amongst others, provided freebies and snacks to dogs and dog parents at booths scattered throughout the affair.

It is just wonderful to see how this community really focuses on the human-animal connection.” -Jennifer Vonlintel, Membership Chair of the LAPP

Heather Everett and her sportsman, Seamus the Dachshund Terrier mix, attended the 23rd Doggie Olympics for the first time this year. Seamus competed in multiple trials throughout the morning, taking home a gold in the Marathon Down. According to Everett, the small Seamus holds a lot of energy, describing him as a “ham” that thinks he is a much bigger dog than he is.  

Seamus, the dachsund terrier mix, jumps through an obstacle at the Doggie Olympics Sept. 16. (Ashley Potts | Collegian)

“We do a lot of hiking, we spend a lot of time up in the foothills, even though it’s been a little rough this summer with all the smoke,” Everette said. “But that is kind of our main exercise, and then we do dog training every weekend, basically. I work with Sami Mann, and I have for a long time now. She is the secret behind his good behavior. His bad behavior is all me.” 

Hiking as a form of training was a theme for multiple dogs at the event, including Toe, the 10-year-old English Cocker Spaniel. Toe competed in the Extended Down Stay for the senior dog division, a competition in which dogs sit and stay while distractions such as squeaky toys and balls are waved in front of them to excite the dogs to stand up.

Unfortunately, Toe broke his down due to an exciting bright orange snake stuffed animal, but his owner Shannon Schierling said that the competition was all in good fun due to Toe’s status as a seasoned athlete.

“He has an AKC Versatility Title from when he was younger,” Schierling said. “Now he is retired and he is just a pet, but he’s competed in Rally and Obedience and Agility and Tracking. He has done it all.” 

According to Schierling, the highlight of Toe’s day was eating a cheese stick. 

Toe, the English cocker spaniel, competes in the “extended down” competition at the Doggie Olympics Sept. 16. Dogs were required to ‘stay’ through a sequence of distractions. (Ashley Potts | Collegian)

According to the Doggie Olympics Facebook page, the yearly event is a fundraiser which benefits Larimer Animal-People Partnership (LAPP) and, “generates funding for community educational programs, scholarships to Pet Partner Workshops, and donations to local pet-minded organizations.” 

LAPP is a group of animal therapy teams, primarily made up of therapy dogs although the organization does include one therapy cat named Bernie that do volunteer work in the community. Teams of animals and their handlers regularly visit Crossroads Safehouse, Poudre River Public Libraries, local elementary schools, hospitals and senior living centers. 

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The LAPP organization is all volunteer-based, and according to Jennifer Vonlintel, the Membership Chair of the LAPP, fundraiser events such as the Doggie Olympics helps the project keep going to aid the community.

Members of LAPP register their animals through one of two organizations: Pet Partners or Therapy Dogs Inc.

“This is just a fantastic event,” Vonlintel said. “It is just wonderful to see how this community really focuses on the human-animal connection. There are so many positive things looking out here, like people using positive training methods with their dogs, dogs really connecting with their handlers, and everyone being safe and respectful of each other and having a bunch of fun. Which is really why we love doing this because people just have a blast.”

Miranda Moses can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @mirandasrad.