By Tracy Mackey-Burlingame
It’s Dockdogs season here in the Rockies and Team Splashdown can’t wait for our first event of the year! It’s been a long, cold winter and we are ready for some splashing fun in the sun! As I hauled out the trusty dog’s sport-equipment tote from the dark corner of the garage for its annual overhaul, I started thinking back to our years of competing and how much our dogs and this crazy sport have changed our lives.
We adopted our dogs Harley and Kasey back in 2003 and 2004. We were first-time dog owners and really didn’t know much about anything except that we had to feed them, scoop a lot of poop and vacuum a lot of fur.
But we learned.
I joined a few online dog forums (yes, forums are those things we did way back in the stone age before Facebook and Twitter) and asked questions and shared my experiences and pictures (lots and LOTS of pictures) only other dog people would appreciate.
Not long after our foray into pet ownership, we discovered our dog Kasey had some issues with her CCLs on both knees. (Cranial cruciate ligaments, or CCLs, are to dogs what ACLs are to humans.)
Our veterinarian recommended a procedure called a TPLO where they would actually remove (saw off!) the head of her femurs and then rotate them to a different angle and lock back in place with a stainless steel plate. OUCH. So a few thousand dollars lighter and armed with information overload—we were sent home for recovery. This is where we were first introduced to Glyco Flex by Kasey’s surgeon. Best advice we ever actually listened to!
Fast forward a few years.
Kasey was fully recovered from her surgery and with her boundless energy and zeal (perhaps mania?) for retrieving, we were looking for activities that would keep her engaged and wear her out. We had read about some dock jumping events and had even seen some of it on TV (yes kiddies, we still read magazines and watched network TV back in the dark days of the internet) and we immediately knew that it was something that Harley and Kasey would love and even excel doing.
Unfortunately, Dockdogs hadn’t caught yet on here in the Rockies, so we waited. And waited. And then waited some more…
Until one day in the spring of 2008: TA-DAH! We saw that a Dockdogs event was going to be held at a Denver-area pet expo! Woohoo!
We immediately registered and nervously counted down the days until it began.
The night before, one of the Dockdogs crew (the infamous Bob DeWire) called us up and asked if we would be interested in coming down a day early just to practice. We had a million questions and he graciously answered all of them and then some. We hurried down with just our leash, a ball and a towel.
Once there we were given “the talk”—the one about how your dog may not jump right away, you have to give them time to get used to the clear water and the steep drop off from the dock, blah, blah—some of you may be familiar with it.
Little did they know that our little black dog had no fear of anything when it came to retrieving! Water, fire, tornadoes, didn’t matter—she would run through them all to get to her favorite red ball! Of course, she hurled herself off the dock immediately and right then we knew there was no turning back. The next day we brought Harley, and while he wasn’t exactly ready for the Championship yet, he gave a few respectable jumps for his first time.
We were hooked from that first event.
The excitement of the dogs, the friendliness of the staff, the camaraderie of the competitors—it was so unlike anything we had ever experienced before. We loved it so much that we got together with two other competitors who were there that weekend to form the first Dockdogs club in our region—Rocky Mountain Dockdogs—so we could help bring more events to our area.
So here we are—seven years later! Sadly, we lost Harley and Kasey to cancer earlier this year, but at 12 years old they were both invited to the Dockdogs World Championship in 2014 and Harley was a World Championship Finalist in 2013.
They were active, vibrant seniors who didn’t look or act their ages right up to the end. In fact, Harley was swimming and jumping right up to the end. I tell you, if a dog could choose how to spend his last day, that would probably be it.
But the Team SplashDown and Dockdogs story doesn’t end there. Our big news is that we have a new jumper joining our crew this month! We have adopted a three-year-old yellow Lab who currently answers to the name of Sugar (but as we get to know her, that will likely change).
She will be making her debut on the dock with us at the Rocky Mountain Dockdogs annual ThorntonFest competition in Thornton, CO on May 16th. Sugar is no stranger to water or swimming, so we are confident that with a quality diet, lots of exercise and a daily regimen of Glyco Flex, she will carry on the Team SplashDown tradition of being a healthy, happy Dockdog!
Glyco Flex as well as Vetri DMG have been staples in our nutritional regimen for our dogs ever since Kasey’s surgeon recommended them years ago. Keeping our athletic dogs healthy and fit is of the utmost importance to us.
Any sport—whether for people, horses or dogs—can be inherently dangerous and we owe it to our pets to keep them in the best shape that we can to minimize the risk of injury and illness. We appreciate having VetriScience products that we trust to support that goal.
We are proud to say that all of our dogs are Glyco Flex dogs!