Friday, April 16, 2010

Doglympics on ZOO

Thank you Kristen O'Donnell, for the lovely story on Doglando's 2nd Annual Doglympics:

April 8, 2010 | By Kris O'Donnell

ORLANDO, Fla. — These athletes run, jump and give it their all as they go for the gold. But these competitors have four legs, not two, and came from all across the country to compete in the Doglympics.

The second annual event was recently held in Orlando and combined fun, competition, and education.

The goal of this event is to showcase as many sports as possible," founder Teena Patel said.

Patel, who runs the University of Doglando in Orlando, says Doglympics has something for everyone.

"This year we featured dock dogs, agility, flyball, weight pulling for bully breeds, lure course racing, wiener dog races and yorkie races," Patel said.

Hundreds of teams from 30 states and Canada took part, and Doglympics is one of the only events in the country to feature different dog-related competitions all in the same setting.

There were even events for non-professional pet parents such as the longest stay and potato sack races.

"Not all of us may be interested in going to a competitive level," Patel said. "But can we do this for fun? Sure."

But having fun is only one of the goals of Doglympics.

"The overall goal is education," Patel said.

Patel says she wants dog owners and potential dog owners to "dog-responsibly", which is the motto of Doglando.

"In order to do that you have to know what these dogs are bred for and do events or activities that will help that relationship," she said. "Even if you're just in the market for a dog... come to an event like this and see what these dogs do. Come check them out and see what they look like at two years old and eighty pounds," Patel said.

Thousands of people attended the two-day event — and Patel says it was a huge success.

"We've gotten so many calls asking if we can make it twice a year," she said.

But for now, Patel says she's focused on making the yearly event bigger and better.

"Our goal is to encompass everything dog-related that anybody can do with their dogs both at the companion level and on a competition, performance level," Patel said.

She's already planning on some new events for next year, such as hunting and retrieving demonstrations and Earth dogs, which features underground trails for burrowing breeds like Dachshunds.

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