A dog agility event is scheduled for Aug. 2 and 3, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Volunteer Park. Although the event will be hosted by Boston Terrier Club of Western Washington, it is open to all AKC registered breeds.
An obstacle course will be set up so that dogs' skills can be assessed by a judge. Participating dogs will have the opportunity to run the trial one at a time, led by a handler. All dogs, from those just beginning agility training to those with expert skills, are welcome. Dogs must be over the age of 15 months and have an AKC number to participate.
However, there is much more to the event than just dogs jumping through hoops. In keeping with the club's outreach efforts, a portion of the collected funds will go to area rescue groups.
Representatives from CHEW of Gig Harbor will be at the event on Saturday and Old Dog Haven will attend on Sunday. For folks looking to adopt a dog, there will be information about dogs available locally.
The club also works to promote the betterment of the breed, participating in several events each year to educate the public about how to properly care for dogs.
“We try to promote good dog wellness for all breeds,” said Jenell Johnson, a member of Boston Terrier Club of Western Washington and one of the event's organizers. This includes providing information about how to choose a dog that is right for your family and lifestyle, the responsibilities of dog ownership, and tips on keeping your dog healthy.
Similar agility events had occurred at Volunteer Park in past years, typically hosted by the Gig Harbor Kennel Club. However, when that group declined to host this time, the Boston Terrier group stepped in to made sure the tradition continued.
“We're not sure what happened with the Gig Harbor club, but we wanted to keep this going because dog agility is pretty big in this area,” Johnson said. “Last time we checked, we had over 100 agility entries per day.”
This is not the first event hosted by Boston Terrier Club of Western Washington.
“We host two conformation shows of Boston terriers only, and have other events throughout the year. We host two other all-breed agility trials, the last weekend of the year in Elma, and the third weekend of March in Auburn,” said Helen Johnson, Jenell's mother-in-law and the club's agility chairperson.
According to Helen Johnson, the event will be fun and informative for dog lovers in the area, even those who do not have a participating dog.
“This is a great spectator sport and something that is free to watch. We will have staff on-site to answer any questions and can help people understand the importance of dog and handler relationships for this sport. I learn so much every time I watch agility and it makes me become a better agility handler of my dogs,” Johnson said.
In addition to registration fees, funds will be collected through raffles scheduled for both Saturday and Sunday. A silent auction also is tentatively planned, pending donations.
Organizers want to get the message out that although human spectators are welcome, nonparticipating dogs will be restricted from this area of Volunteer Park while the event is occurring. As the park has multiple fields, dogs are welcome in nonevent areas.
For information about the dog agility event, visit the club's Facebook page, contact Helen Johnson at (360) 692-1440, or visit the website at bostonbarker.com.
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