Sunday September 16, 2012

GREAT BARRINGTON -- Monty loves to go swimming and he loves running and jumping. He also likes to play fetch.

Monty got to do all of his favorite things at the same time on Saturday with his best friend, Richard Hagadone of Falls Village, Conn. Monty was one of more than 100 canines who accompanied their humans to the Hudson Valley DockDogs Regional Competition at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Park in Great Barrington on Saturday.

The competition continues today.

Hagadone said it's not really about the competition, it's more about giving the dogs a chance to have fun doing what they naturally love doing.

"It's a lot of fun for the dogs, and it's a lot better than having them sit at home doing nothing," he said. "For them, it's about making their owners happy. For the owners, it's about making their dogs happy. Everybody wins."

Bob Nopper, a former Pittsfield resident and current resident of Salem, N.Y., was competing with his 2-year-old Australian cattle dog, Ace.

Apparently, Ace didn't much feel like getting wet. When it came time to leap into the water to fetch his toy. Ace stopped at the edge and looked a bit confused.

Nopper laid down on the deck and splashed the water around trying to coax Ace into the pool.

Ace didn't go for it and the duo left the pool. On their next turn, Ace still wasn't convinced.

"He swims and dives all the time -- he loves diving -- but he's never done it in this kind of a setting," Nopper said, laughing. "He'll get used to it."

The dock diving competition was part of an overall weekend event, Responsible Dog Owner ship Days, organized by the Great Barrington Kennel Club.

Andrea Bacon of West Milford, N.J. is president of the Hudson Valley DockDogs, a club that organizes competitions every summer.

She said that for the dogs, its more about having fun than competing against their fur-bearing opposition.

"They don't know if they jump five feet or 20 feet," she said. "All they know is they get to go swimming and they get to play with their pool toy."

To reach Scott Stafford:
sstafford@berkshireeagle.com,
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On Twitter: @BE_SStafford