Puppies and dogs of all shapes, sizes and breeds splashed their way to victory for a one of a kind event in which the animals showcased their incredible athletic abilities to benefit the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in the “Spring Splash and Shout” at the Happy Paws Pet Resort last Saturday.
The event began at 10 a.m. with the first contest being a doggie limbo where the canines had to shimmy under a bar. Afterward, the first group of dogs in the dock-jumping contest made their way to the jumping platform escorted by their owners. 30 dogs participated in the competition, where they jumped from the dock to a pool that extended up to 30 feet, with the winner having the longest leaping distance.
“We are the only pet facility in Orlando with two different pools,” Michael Pastrana, owner of Happy Paws Pet Resort, said. “So I said why don’t we use our dog jumping pool for a fun event and bring people together for a good cause.”
Participants and spectators camped out with their furry companions as music was played, burgers and hot dogs were grilled and sponsors, volunteers and vendors from different organizations joined in on the fun. There was also a silent auction to benefit the SPCA with items such as movie tickets, mini-golf and jungle adventures up for grabs.
Melissa Pippel, who volunteers for the Weimaraner Rescue and Adoption of Florida as well as the Big Dog Ranch Rescue, brought her dog, Hercules, a Weimaraner to the dog jump.
“I trained my dog to jump in the pool,” Pippel said. “He loves to fetch and jump.”
Before the actual splashing began, contestants were allowed to practice openly on the dock. The first wave began jumping shortly after 10 a.m., with a second and third wave at noon and 2 p.m. respectively. The final wave took place at about 3:30 p.m. with the event drawing to a close around 5 p.m.
Dogs of all breeds from Doberman pinschers to Siberian Huskies exhibited their jumping skills. One dog, a black lab named Ryder, won the competition with an impressive 24 feet and 9 inches in the dock dive. Some dogs had training prior to the event using the two swimming pools at Happy Paws, while others just came for the fun of it.
“There was no official training for Suzy, we just have a pool,” said contestant Adam Fiedler of his chocolate Labrador. “Suzy also jumped in last year’s Spring Splash.”
In between each of the dock jumping contests, there were also other competitions such as musical dogs and bones in the haystack. The musical dogs game played very much like musical chairs, except it was played with hula hoops. The dogs proceeded to walk around in a circle with their owners while the music played until it stopped, then the dogs has to sit in a hula hoop. Bones in the haystack allowed dogs to use their superior sniffing ability to try and retrieve a bone buried within a stack of hay.
“We’ve been doing this [event] for two years and we wanted to raise awareness for the SPCA, and it’s a good way to get the word out there for people who are looking to adopt,” Karina Pastrana, co-owner of Happy Paws, said.
Although the “Spring Splash and Shout” is over, Happy Paws will be hosting a similar event in the fall called “Splash Bash.” In addition to being a dog-boarding facility, Happy Paws also holds obedience training and sports training for dogs with activities such as Frisbee (flying disc) and dock diving year-round. For more information, contact Happy Paws at 407-282-5654.