“It’s just a little bit of liquid sunshine,” said the announcer at Sunday’s rainy Dock Dogs Finals. But mud puddles and stormy skies didn’t deter the crowd of hundreds from cheering on the pups in the pro, semi-pro, and amateur competitions at Brittlebank Park.
Everyone got just about as wet as the furry competitors that were diving into the water, but dressed in duck boots, camouflage, and even waders, no one seemed to mind much. Parents gave up entirely and mud-covered children weaved their way through the crowd up to the 27,000 gallon tank to snag the perfect spot to watch their favorite dog take a running leap.
Each competition featured six dogs that had qualified for the finals in the Dock Dogs waves held on Friday and Saturday. As in the previous rounds, each dog was given two chances to jump and the farther of the two distances was recorded. The dogs may have been tired from three days of fierce competition, but their excited barking nearly drowned out live music from the Bluestone Ramblers and any complaints about the soggy weather. The dogs leaped out into the water to retrieve squeaky chew toys, tennis balls, and even the standard ol’ stick, happily splashing a crowd already too wet to care.
Pro competition winner Twister hit 22’ 7” on his first jump, taking the lead and never losing it, making his second jump a kind of victory lap. Gregg Davis and her yellow labrador retriever went the same way as Sunny jumped 21’ 6” on her first try to secure the lead in the semi-pro competition. With no other competitor ever coming close, Sunny took an easy second jump to clench her third year in first place in the Dock Dogs competition just as the sun peeked out from behind the clouds.