August 10: Maine Boats, Homes, & Harbor’s Boatyard Dog Trials, Rockland, Maine
“Enjoy other people’s wet dogs.” That’s one of the taglines that the Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors Show staff use when talking about the World Championship Boatyard Dog Trials. These happen on the last day of the MBHH Boat Show.
The tagline’s right. There’s something devilishly delightful in watching other people’s dogs get wet and wild. Plus, you don’t have to deal with the smell.
2014 marked the 12th annual event. Six dogs were chosen to compete for wagging rights and the title of Boatyard Dog. This was BFF Photography’s second year serving as the official photographer and sponsor of this dog-oriented event. We had a blast!
A refresher on the contestants, courtesy of Maine Boats, Homes, & Harbors:
Ruffles (Defending Champ)
Homeport: Cushing, Maine
Handlers: John & Linda Duffy
Ruffles got in shape for this year’s awesome trials. She is more than ready to defend her title, but can’t imagine having more fun than she did last year! She loved all the people cheering her on, the prizes, the Pup Cup, the photos, and the excitement on the docks.
She is practicing her new act at her waterfront home, where the regimen includes chasing sticks into the water and cruising to the Lobster Dock next door where all the boats drop off their catch. Swimming is a daily pleasure.
She is a Portuguese water dog, bred to retrieve nets full of fish, and act as a courier between fleets. To improve her balance, Ruffles co-pilots her mom’s kayak and competes in agility trials. Other skills get honed as she leads her “gang” of five around the ‘hood. They swim, roll in bait, beg for cookies, and perform public service by retrieving anything that floats.
Homeport: Scarborough, Maine
Handler: Amy Douglass
Gatsby came in second in the 2013 World Championship Boatyard Dog® Trials, so she is bound and determined that she will win this year’s competition. When she heard that it was the 12th anniversary of the Boatyard Dog Trials this year, her response was “WOWZA!”
She composed the following list of 12 reasons why she is a great competitor:
1. I love the water.
2. I love to jump.
3. I love everyone.
4. I love tennis balls.
5. I love competition.
6. I love to give kisses.
7. I love life.
8. I love swimming.
9. I love to win.
10. I love to play.
11. I am super cute if I must say so myself.
12. I have big plans for the number 12*.
(*One “rule” for the trials is that each dog must incorporate “12” into their freestyle act.)
Homeport: Stonington, Maine
Handler: Geoff Warner (owner of Geoff Warner Studio)
Polly is a natural canine gymnast who is eager to strut her stuff at the trials. She absolutely loves to jump. She can’t wait to show off what her dad tells us is the “graceful twisting style” she uses in her efforts to fly.
Since Polly weighs in at about 55 pounds, it’s quite a spectacle when she launches into the air. Her leaps range from three to five feet off the ground. Polly was an alternate last year. She did not get to compete, so she is chomping at the bit for a chance to shine.
Homeport: Marblehead, Massachusetts
Handler: Peter Dragonas
Sadie Rose is a purebred golden retriever. She’s now six years old, but in her mind, like many of us, she is still just a two-year-old. Sadie has lots of water experience and has been swimming in nearly every anchorage from Casco Bay to Northeast Harbor.
Her favorite cruise activities are chasing birds from the floats in Northeast Harbor, sliding on her belly on the seaweed in Pulpit Harbor, and hanging out with her humans at the bars in Boothbay. She is in the water every day from May through October. Her favorite activities are chasing sticks and tennis balls thrown into the water, then shaking off as close to people as she can.
She also excels at dragging her master back to the float after he “falls” in, which is something that, as a retriever, is in her genes. On her bucket list is to successfully drag a lobster pot to land. She finds it frustrating that they seem to be stuck on something on the bottom, but she keeps trying.
Sandra Bee (a.k.a. Sandy)
Homeport: Gorham, Maine
Handler: Lori Green
This lucky pup accidentally found her current home via the Pixel Fund. The person who was supposed to foster her did not show up. Lori Green grabbed the crate without looking inside and took it home.
Green said she brought the crate inside, opened it up, and the “saddest, ugliest, baldest, smelliest” dog came out, madly wagging her tail. Still, it was love at first sight. With lots of loving care, Sandy has now been transformed.
The duo was a bit reluctant about entering this year’s Boatyard Dog contest, since Sandy does not “do” water, nor did she have an act or a lot of tricks at the ready, but rumor has it that they are working hard on something with which to wow the crowd. We have great confidence in this 22-pound dynamo and her ears.
Not only does she now have a stage name, Sandra Bee, she has also promised to get her owner trained in plenty of time because she wants the Pixel Fund, a Maine nonprofit that saves the lives of shelter pets through education, advocacy, and rescue efforts, to get lots of great publicity.
The Incredible Bavini
Homeport: Currently between harbors
Handler: Jamie Gallagher
Introducing The Incredible Bavini! This young pup will be competing at The World Championship Boatyard Dog Trials tomorrow morning, August 10, during the Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors Show in Rockland. She stepped up to fill in for Scout and Carolina who are not able to make it this year. She’s just four months old but we hear that she does like to swim, which bodes well for her performance at the Trials. Bavini was adopted through The Pixel Fund.
Contestants had to navigate a maze of nautical items, get in and out of a tippy dinghy, and do a freestyle event, this year featuring the number 12. In the end, they wind up wet or have their handler wind up wet. The playing field was an active, adorable one.
One contestant, Sadie Rose, not only had her own uniform but had her people hand out a newsletter in advance of the event. Very clever! Sandra Bee had her own currency printed (Pixel Bucks), and Gatsby delighted onlookers with her high-flying antics. Polly amazed onlookers with her ballet twirls and jumps. Finally, Bavini mesmerized audiences with her disappearing cookie act.
Relive, or experience the fun for the first time at the online viewing and ordering gallery at bellimagingdesign.zenfolio.com/boatyarddogs2014. Purchases of images from the viewing and ordering gallery result in a 10% donation to the Pixel Fund. If you’re social, go to facebook.com/BellsFurryFriends to find the gallery for social sharing, or just click to view the Facebook Gallery here.