From the Editor, Summer 2015

Since he was a pup, our Budder, a Springer Spaniel, has been ball crazy. Every morning before breakfast, we play fetch in the backyard. When I come home from work, the same. He’ll toss the ball at my feet with a bob of his head, then crouch down like a soccer goalie, trying to anticipate which way I’ll throw it. The kid is a timing genius, snatching the ball right out of its trajectory so he can return it to me, so I can throw it again. I act like a spectator, clapping and cheering when he executes a Sports-Center-worthy maneuver.

A few years ago, we added water. It was the the dog park at Leashes & Leads. And there was a dock.

Ker-plunk went the ball. And without hesitation, Budder was airborne off that dock, emerging from the water with ball in mouth.

We treat him to the throw-the-ball-off-the-dock experience as often as possible, and I don’t think the boy knows a greater pleasure in life. After witnessing him do what he was born to do, I feel like we would be denying him something if we didn’t throw that ball.

Can you believe there is a canine sport for dock diving? Our cover story showcases this slice of summertime perfection, and it turns out that any dog can do it. Some do it for competition, and some do it for fun. On p. 22, you’ll meet several who are making a splash.

Many canine sports take advantage of a dog’s built-in ability. In dock diving, it’s fetching and swimming. In nose work, it’s scenting abilities. Agility, rally obedience and canine freestyle showcase a dog’s speed and relationship with his owner.

Any canine can sample these sports via classes in southeast Minnesota (see p. 32). Nobody expects your dog to turn in to Diva the dock-diving Rottweiler (see her in her pink tutu in our cover story), but you can give your companion a unique form of exercise, the chance to perform a job and a much-needed outing with you.

Budder lives to play ball, and I love that the activity requires me. What does your dog live to do with you? This summer, try something new with your pooch. You can tell us about it at the following events, where we hope to meet you and your dog:

Yappy Hours: June 7 & 21, July 5 & 19, August 2 & 16, Wildwood Sports Bar and Grill

ARF in the Park: July 18, Eagles Club

Downtown Dogs: August 2, Peace Plaza

Happy Summer!