Dogs soar at Ultimate Air Dog contest

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Comrade is not an Ultimate Air Dog, yet.

But on Saturday, he was soaring through the air and splashing into the Ultimate Air Dog pool like a 'champ.'

"He loves the water," said Comrade's owner, Louise Andrew from Tillsonburg. "He's crazy about it."

A nine-month-old golden retriever, Comrade will need much practice before he reaches the 20-foot-plus airborne distances trained Ultimate Air Dogs can achieve as they leap off a dock pursuing a thrown dog-toy into a long 41-food pool set up at Memorial Park for Turtlefest Saturday and Sunday.

"He's learning," Andrew smiled. "And me too."

Comrade had at least three or four jumps that day, she said, and he was ready to get back in line.

"We're just trying this out. I saw that you could try it (between competitions, for a fee), so I brought him. And he loves it. I haven't been worried about distance too much. I've been more concerned about getting him in and out of the pool."

Any prior experience Comrade had leaping into bodies of water were gained at Lake Lisgar.

"He goes in from the boat ramp."

Ashley Hopkins from Creemore brought a seven-year-old blue heeler mix for the Ultimate Air Dog competition with six years of Ultimate Air Dog experience. Typically they have three or four 'splashes' per day, she said, and another three on Sunday.

"His best jump last year was 25 feet, six inches, and we're competing in the next splash," said Hopkins. "The first one was 23 feet, so we'll be good."

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