Wanted: Boatyard Dogs


Growing up on the coast, one of my favorite places in the whole world is still sitting in front of the ocean and listening to the waves crash and seabirds sing.

Bill and I have taken Laura with us to the ocean many times and aside from being a little freaked out when she goes past her belly in the water, she LOVES chilling in the salty water.

It is, in a word: perfect.

So when I was reading about the Maine Boats, Homes and Harbor’s Magazine’s 11th Annual World Championship Boatyard Dog Trials at 10 a.m.on Aug. 11, I knew I needed to get involved somehow.

First, I thought about entering Laura into the competition. However, even though she’s well trained, I think the crowd would get her too excited. Instead of focusing on competing, she’d be focused on lapping the faces of every person there.

Then I thought about being part of the fun in a different way: through my skills as a photographer. I reached out to the show organizers and we agreed to work collaboratively. My pet photography business, Bell’s Furry Friends Photography, will be the official show photographer!

I am so excited! And I can’t wait to see the dogs strut their stuff!

Does your dog have what it takes to compete? Here’s what the Boatyard Dogs website is looking for:

Contestants and their dogs will compete in a series of trials (which must be completed in 8 minutes per contestant pair). Competing dogs and their people are judged on a combination of style and pizzaz (or lack thereof).

1. Dockside Obstacle Course: Dog and handler must negotiate a maze of lobster traps, piles of rope, and other funky dockside paraphernalia;

2. The “Dinghy Hop:” Dog and handler scramble in and out of a very tippy dinghy tethered to a float;

3. A “Freestyle” segment: Consider this the talent portion of the event (although no swimsuits are required). Each dog (and its person) shows off special talents.

Who is eligible: Well-behaved dogs, with preference given to dogs that work in a boatyard, serve as crew on a boat, or are involved in direct operations of any kind on the waterfront. Bonus points go to water-loving dogs!

Here are the rules (courtesy of MBHH):

Rule #1: Either dog or handler must finish contest completely soaked.

Rule #2: Cheating is not only tolerated, but encouraged.

Rule #3: The freestyle event will have a twist to it — the organizers are getting creative and will report back on the details.

Think you might have what it takes? Get your pup a pen and paper and submit a letter of interest, a flattering high-resolution photo, and daytime contact info. Get in the judges good graces by sending in humorous entries (they tell me this is a non-serious competition). Entries are required by June 30 to [email protected]. Finalists will be notified by July 8.

Want to come instead? That’s cool. But please leave pup at home or in an air conditioned area. Due to liability, no pets are allowed on show grounds except the competitors.