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Lager in The Virginian Pilot

Dogs fly through the air at Dockdogs competitions in Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH

Whether detecting explosives in Iraq for the military or jumping into a pool to fetch a toy, Lager takes his job seriously.

The German Shorthaired Pointer, who lives in New Jersey with his owners, came to Virginia Beach on Friday to show off his skills in the annual DockDogs competition, part of the Pet Lovers’ Extravaganza outside the Care-A-Lot headquarters near Shore Drive.

Outfitted in a patriotic swimsuit, of course, Lager jumped twice in the qualifying round and will compete in the Big Air competition today and the Extreme Vertical competition today and Sunday with a few hundred other dogs from around the country.

Jenny Beadling, Lager’s owner, said they often bring him to events in Virginia. He practices his dock dives at home off the family’s 40-foot pier and also does agility drills, running exercises and strength training.

“I think that he takes everything like it’s his job,” Beadling said.

Lager was retired from the military because he would get distracted by water, so when he came back to the states, the contractor who worked with him wanted him to be in that kind of environment.

He earned an invitation to the DockDogs world championships last November in Iowa and placed fifth in the senior division. His leaps average about 19 feet, 9 inches, Beadling said.

The Beadlings call their dogs “The Liver Killers” because of their names: Lager, Limoncello, Hooch and their newest one, Margarita.

Another competitor Friday was Leia, who lives in Virginia Beach. She competed in the Iron Dog Warrior Competition in Iowa, another DockDogs contest, last November, coming in second in the world.

Her owner, Karen Cummings, named her dogs after “Star Wars” characters – Leia, Chewey and Vader. Leia, a Lab, was in the qualifying round for Big Air on Friday.

Cummings said Leia also competes in the speed retrieve and extreme vertical events. She trains locally by doing a lot of jumping, muscle training and agility competitions.

Along with the competitions, the event includes dozens of pet-supply vendors, and Care-A-Lot is having its biggest sale of the year.

The speed, height and distance events continue throughout the weekend. Other contests, for less athletically inclined canines, include best kisser, best dressed and best at, well, eating treats.

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