Dog culture finds its way into Fort Collins, 2019 Doggie Olympics

Ava McCall

Fort Collins is pegged as a college town, booming with local music and an amazing food scene. What doesn’t come up often is Fort Collins’ “dog culture.” With such a great vet hospital and program at Colorado State University, incredible non-profit organizations around town, and many others, it’s easy to see how this kind of culture could be booming in a town like Fort Collins. Dog culture here, it’s alive, and the Doggie Olympics support it.

The 2019 Doggie Olympics were put on by LAPP, The Larimer Animal-People Partnership, a non-profit organization that does animal therapy work throughout the community. This year offered a new location for the olympics at the Spring Canyon Park. Events there consisted of obstacle courses, obedience competitions, frisbee catching and much more. The Coordinator of Doggie Olympics, Kristen Heller said  that this event has a huge impact on the community as well. 

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“It provides a way to show positive interaction with your dog, and it’s also a fundraiser for LAPP,” Heller said. “And so we’re all volunteering and we don’t charge for our services, so this is how we raise our funds.”

Not only does the event support this organization but it also supported many vendors at the Olympics as well. One of these was the W.O.L.F Sanctuary, who rescue wolves and wolf dogs from captivity, give them a sanctuary to recover and thrive at, and educate the public on these issues as well. Many of the vendors were handing out free items like treats, toys, and miscellaneous items such as collapsible water bowls for your dog.

People in Fort Collins love their dogs, and this is one of the ways to express your love for your dog,-Kristen Heller, coordinator of Doggie Olympics

This year instead of hosting the event at City Park, they moved it to the Spring Canyon Park which has far more open space for dogs to roam and compete as well as shelters to grab some shade at. Heller said that the turn out was just as good as it had been in the past and that many of the people that have competed in the past came back this year to continue. Throughout the day, three divisions were competing: competitive, junior handlers (15 years and younger), senior dog (10+ years) and a recreational division. Competitors in every division could receive prizes throughout the day based on their performance. Dogs that competed in a division like recreational would move up to competitive based on how well they were doing.

“Because Fort Collins is such a dog culture, It’s just amazing living here with a dog,” recreational competitor Allison Burford said.

Burford was at the event because she fosters with Animal House, an organization that “aim(s) to decrease the euthanasia rate of adoptable dogs.” They also had a booth set up among many others. Handing out free treats and other items while also promoting their business.

“People in Fort Collins love their dogs, and this is one of the ways to express your love for your dog, playing Doggie Olympics,” Heller said.

Heller said an event like this is more interactive than something like a marathon or other outside activities because you get to play and spend quality time with your furry friend.

Ava McCall can be reached at entertainment@thecollegian.com or on twitter @avamcollegian