Instead of camping, we decided to stay at a hotel for our last dock diving event of the season, since we are not used to staying in hotels, and because we would have to stay in a hotel for the DockDogs World Championship. We hoped that this would prep our whole pack for our trip out to Iowa in November. The Westin was attached directly to the Pittsburgh Expo Center, so we decided that would be our home-away-from-home for the weekend.
What a gorgeous hotel this was! …And the hotel staff were MORE than dog friendly! We felt so at-home here! The biggest surprise was the size of our room… it was GINORMOUS! The dogs thought they were at an indoor dog park!
View from our room
Leading into wet bar and bathroom area
Seating area and table
This hotel was very clean, the staff were not only friendly – but super DOG friendly, and the breakfast was delicious!
The last dock diving event before the World Championship! We chose to do this event because like the World Championship, this event was held indoors. We knew Cello would jump in any conditions, but Hooch had not been to an indoor event since March (when he was plopping in at 5-6 feet!), and Lager had never been to an indoor event.
This event, hosted by Three Rivers DockDogs, was their annual indoor “Quest for the Belt.” If you remember back to September, we attended their annual outdoor Quest for the Belt. At these events, the handler of the dog with the longest jump wins the Champion Belt. The winning team then has to return to the annual event, belt in hand, and defend the belt against a new set of divers! Hooch had the longest jump of the weekend, until Sunday rolled around and he got knocked down to 2nd longest jump by one of the biggest jumping dogs in the world! Darn! We almost got that coveted belt!
We were quite pleased with all the dogs’ performances. Each one performed in their “normal” range for an indoor event. I say that because in general, dogs do not usually jump as far inside as they do outside. Maybe its the loud noise of an enclosed building full of barking dogs and cheering spectators, or perhaps it’s the pool water that is a bit colder than usual?
Unfortunately, shortly into the event, Cello slipped on the wet floor, and injured herself. With just weeks left until the World Championship, we were very nervous that this injury could hinder her ability to perform at the World Championship event. We scratched her from the rest of this event, called our vet, and let her rest for the remainder of the weekend. Luckily, with great care and advice from our vet, Cello healed nicely and was fully recovered to compete at Worlds.
As I mentioned above, Hooch had a great weekend – and had the longest jump of the event until Sunday. We were more than pleased with his performance, and he did not show any signs of being afraid, or hesitant. Hooch is very easily spooked, so we were thrilled that he jumped with such enthusiasm in a loud, enclosed environment.
22’8″ 23’3″ 2nd Place Elite
Elite Finals: 22’2″ 22’5″ 3rd Place Elite
I was very nervous competing with Lager at this event, not knowing if he would jump indoors. As with everything else Lager is presented with, he performed exuberantly, with no hesitation at all, and was a crowd favorite!
Our friend, Kim, who is the gal that makes all those great Super Fly Suits you see the dogs wearing, had brought our completed suit that we had ordered special for Lager for the World Championship.
The picture I Googled of Captain America
The suit idea I drew up to send to Kim (side view) …except we decided against the flags on the side after “Lager”
The suit idea I drew up to send to Kim (front view)
Kim’s awesome work!
The suit is AWESOME, and in typical Lager-fashion, he displayed his excitement and “flew” out of Kim’s arms…Haha
Fits like a glove!
And we have take-off!
We had no idea about Lager’s next adventure at this event. A handler who was also competing in this event with his dog was a Veteran. Three Rivers DockDogs asked the human Veteran and Lager to lead the crowd in The Star Spangled Banner. This was SO cool, and such a huge honor! Look how proud Lager is!