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‘Hogs and Air Dogs’ to feature flying K9s; aid GCHS

By Staff | Nov 13, 2015

The “Hogs and Air Dogs” charity event to benefit the Gulf Coast Humane Society will give the rare opportunity to witness flying K9s, as they cruise the ether at the Six Bends Harley-Davidson facility Friday-Sunday, Nov. 20-22.

The dogs competing in the Ultimate Air Dog event will make even Michael Jordan blush at how much air they can catch, after taking a running start off a 40-foot dock to chase a retrieving toy into a pool of water.

Those four legs are able to rev up down the dock and will catch up to 18 to 25 feet of air, something even the strongest two-legged Homo Sapien couldn’t touch.

The three-day festive event will take place on the grounds of Six Bends Harley-Davidson at 9501 Thunder Road in Fort Myers.

It’s one of the first of its kind in the area and was the dream child of local air dog competitor Jennifer Gaytan of Cape Coral, who is also an officer with the Fort Myers Police Department.

“First and foremost, we want to make the event fun,” Gaytan said. “Some people take it seriously, but honestly, it’s about having fun with the dogs.”

There will be plenty of opportunity for Fido to have that air and water kind of fun, with three days of events planned. The Splash events are the dock jumping events and will be held every day.

There will also be the “It” games, which include Fetch-It, Catch-It and Chase-It.

The Big Air per Splash cost is $20 for pre-registered dogs, $25 for on-site registration. There is a $10 practice fee for first-timers, to see if there K9s are interested in throwing themselves off the docks into the water.

The “It” games will be $25 for pre-registered dogs and $30 for on-site registration. Pre-registration can be found at www.ultimateairdogs.com under Events or the link at www.ultimateairdogs.com/event-info/2015/hogsandairdogs.html.

There are two techniques dogs and their owners can use to jump off the docks, the first being the K9 sit at the end of the dock and a fetch toy is thrown into the pool.

The second is the toy is thrown up high into the air as the dog is released at the end of the dock.

“I will also be having a radar gun and giving out ‘speeding tickets’ so the owners know how fast their dogs are running down the dock,” Gaytan said. “We are asking for a $5 donation for the speeding tickets, which goes to GCHS, which is raising funds to build a shelter in Cape Coral.”

The competition is open to anyone or any dog. There are all shapes and sizes which compete, as well, as Gaytan is well-versed in the Air Dog competitions.

“My first yellow lab was Alex Muddy Paws,” Gaytan said. “He was a competition dog when I picked him up as a pup and he entered his first competition at six months old and he started at 10 feet. By the time he was 9 months old, we were going to competitions in Roanoke, Va.”

Gaytan said it’s not hard training to do, it just needs time and patience to build the dog’s confidence up so they will jump off the dock.

The Hogs and Air Dogs competition might turn into a national qualifier.

Gaytan said Six Bends Harley-Davidson is supplying their site for free and Milt and Kathy Wilcox is providing the dock for free. Gaining sponsorships for the event is how funds will be raised for GCHS, which will earn sponsors a spot on the dock and social media blasts about the event.

Sponsorships can be requested by sending an email to Gaytan at muddypaws@me.com.

A fundraiser for the Sheriff Youth Activity League will also be had with the group selling hamburgers and hot dogs during the three-day ordeal.

The schedule of events include:

Friday, Nov. 20: Splash 10 a.m.; Splash Two at noon; Splash Three at 2 p.m. and Fetch-It at 4 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 21: Splash 4 at 10 a.m.; Splash Five at noon; Splash Six at 2 p.m.; Chase-It at 4 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 22: Splash Seven at 10 a.m.; Splash Eight at noon; Catch-It at 2 p.m. and the Finals at 4 p.m.

“Come out and have fun with your dogs, that’s the most important thing,” Gaytan said.