In Bradenton, these Olympics have gone to the dogs

October 22, 2013 

The Olympic Games were in Bradenton last Saturday.

Not the Olympic Games we are used to but games set up to test the nonathletic skills of the dogs entered in the events.

Bayside Pet Resort on Tamiami Trail was the host to the first games where you adopted a new family member or "go for gold" or both, at the Dog Olympics and Adopt-A-Thon. This family fun event focused on finding forever homes for dogs and cats (yes, cats too!) from rescue organizations and animal shelters.

Dogs of all breeds, shapes and sizes participated in fun, nonathletic competitions. Some pet vendors displayed their wares and other pet-related businesses promoted their services. Several area rescue organizations and animal shelters brought dogs and cats for adoption into their forever homes.

The Olympic Games were held throughout the day and included a shedding contest, where the dog that shed the most hair was declared the winner. People pet the dogs, collecting as much hair as possible within the time limit. The shedding was measured in a cup and winners were awarded first-, second- and third-place medals.

How about a pie eating contest in the Olympics? There was one here with two different categories; dogs under 30 pounds and dogs over 30. Small pie tins were filled with whipped cream and the dog in each category eating the most pies won the gold medal.

The howling contest was fitting with Halloween just around the corner. I thought this would be difficult to judge since it was a bright and sun shiny day. The moonlight was hours away, but no problem here. The dogs did their best to show what they had to offer.

The "leave it" contest was a favorite. Plates were loaded with pepperoni, snacks, bog bones, treats and other goodies some dogs gobble up. To my amazement, the dogs just sat there, unresponsive to the plates full of desirable delicacies that would make most pets drool. It was funny to see the dogs still sit in bewilderment, even after their people told them it was alright to indulge in the offering of treats. This contest was difficult to judge but patience prevailed.

The smallest dog contest was simple. Contestants were weighed on a scale. The smallest dog of just over 4 ounces won the gold medal.

The longest tail was a good event, too. It makes you wonder how a dog

keeps a long tail up high and wagging, without dragging it on the ground.

"Roll over Rover" captured the attention of many bystanders as the dogs rolled over and over on the carpeted stage. Do you remember what fun it was rolling down the grassy hill as a child?

Dogs wanted to brag on themselves for the best-trick contest. It was amazing to see each dog do something different. The gold medal winner was judged on difficulty and how the trick made the audience react is awe.

The look-a-like contest was next. Can you imagine how that one turned out? It has been said a dog looks like its owner or an owner looks like their dog. I did not really believe that saying until I saw this contest.

It is TRUE.

Not only dressing like each other, the facial expressions were the same, too. Some people had their faces painted with the markings on their dog's face.

To wrap up the games, an Olympic-inspired costume contest had participants wearing their red-white-and-blue USA all the way!

What a great day. Good weather with wonderful people and pets. Several pets were able to find their forever homes. We look forward to the next Olympic Games.

Kris Weiskopf, chief of Manatee County Animal Services, provides this weekly column to the Herald.

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