Weekly Photo Challenge AND Bailey is a Finalist in a Photo Contest!

First of all, I just learned that this photo of Bailey has been chosen as a Grand Prize Finalist in a photo contest! The winner is determined by popular vote which means that YOU can help Bailey win simply by clicking here and then hitting the “VOTE” button.

Please click to vote for Bailey!

I would REALLY appreciate it if you could take a few seconds to vote! Voting is open until August 16th and you can vote once per day. The contest is sponsored by Yakima Racks and the winner receives gifts from Ruffwear (Bailey’s favorite dog gear outfitter), Zukes (Bailey’s favorite treats!) and a $500 Yakima gift card!

In other news, this week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge is One Shot, Two Ways. The idea behind this challenge is to show the same subject from two angles and I have a fun example to share. The following two photos show Bailey flying through the air about to catch her duck. They were taken from two different cameras at the exact same moment during the same jump. Cool, right?

One Shot Two Ways #1

One Shot Two Ways #2

The first photo was taken head-on by a professional photographer (Key4Prints). I happened to catch the second photo from the bleachers at the exact same time… just as Bailey was contorting her body and snapping her mouth open mid-air in an attempt to catch her duck. While the professional shot is clearly a better photo, I kind of like the second shot because it helps you appreciate what a huge jump this was. Bailey ended up winning her division at this event with a 24+ foot jump!

Thanks for stopping by and, again, thank you to everyone that voted for Bailey in the photo contest!!!! (You can vote here: http://bit.ly/146NFcQ )

DockDogs Eastern Regional Championships 2013

Less than 72 hours after returning home from our St. Lucia honeymoon Matt and I packed up the Subaru and set out with Bailey to the WISP Resort in western Maryland for the 2013 DockDogs Eastern Regional Championships!  If you’ve been following my blog for a while you may remember that last year at the 2012 Regional Championships Bailey earned an invitation to Worlds by placing 4th in the Elite Big Air division.  Bailey didn’t do quite as well this year but we still had a blast!!

Bailey the Little GSP!

Bailey’s best Big Air jump of the weekend was 21’2″ and she grabbed 5’10” in Extreme Vertical.  I think that’s pretty good considering that she hadn’t jumped off a dock since last November!  🙂  Here’s a sequence of one of her Extreme Vertical jumps:

Bailey EV PhotosOne of my favorite things about DockDogs events is that Matt and I get to spend quality time snuggling with Bailey.  She is not allowed in our bed at home, but when we travel to pet-friendly hotels she sleeps with us and she makes herself very comfortable on our bed when we leave her alone in the room.  We have an ongoing battle where we try to shield the pillows with blankets (because, as much as I love Bailey, it’s not my goal to sleep on a pillow that’s been nuzzled by a dog dipped in DockDogs pool water!) but, try as we might, Bailey always burrows her way under the blankets and we return to find her nestled in a luxurious doggie pillow nest.  (It’s adorable.)  I’ll have to try to get a photo of Bailey on the bed next time, but for now here are some other photos from the weekend!

This next photo cracks me up… I always let Bailey watch the dog before her jump to get her excited but I didn’t realize that Matt was capturing the moment on camera!  The jumping dog is Mojo, a fellow Delmarva DockDogs club member, and yes, that’s Bailey’s little head peeking over the side of the pool!! (And me making a funny face… I was telling her to look!)

Bailey getting psyched up watching Mojo

Good times.  Well, that’s about it for the event recap.  Thanks for stopping by!

Bailey doesn't want to get out of the pool!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Up

Up, Up and Away! (Bailey)

This week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge is “Up.” As you may have noticed, I love to use photos of Bailey whenever possible in these challenges and it just so happens that jumping UP is one of her favorite things to do!

"UP" - Bailey the little GSP competing in DockDogs Extreme Vertical

The first photo shows Bailey competing in Big Air at the Dock Daze event in May 2012 and the second photo was taken during the Extreme Vertical competition at the 2010 Delmarva Doggone Fun event. Bailey ended up winning with a height of 7 feet!

Multiple Baileys and a Photo Contest!

Happy Friday! Check out this photo of Bailey… I entered it in a photo contest and, if we win, Bailey will get to have a professional photo shoot and be the “Cover Dog” of Delmarva Unleashed magazine!  If you want to help Bailey in the contest please click on the photo.  This will take you directly to the Facebook version of the photo where you can “LIKE” it to vote!  Voting ends February 21, 2013.

Click here to vote!

The above photo shows Bailey in Dover, Delaware at a Delmarva Dockdogs practice.  I created the image by combining five photographs of the same jump together in Photoshop.  I especially like this image because you get to see five Baileys in the air and five Bailey reflections in the water.  She also caught her yellow wubba like a pro.  🙂

Over the years I have created several sequences of Bailey competing in dock diving events.  Here are a few of my favorites!  (Click the photo to view the high-res version.)

Bailey the Little GSP competing in Extreme Vertical

Bailey at the June Bloom event last summer.  Not the prettiest grab but she got it! (2012)


Bailey the Little GSP competing in Big Air

Bailey doing a place ‘n’ send style jump at a pond event in Frederick, Maryland. (2010)


Bailey the Little GSP competing in Big Air

Bailey makes a splash at Care A Lot in Virginia Beach. (2010)


Bailey the Little GSP competing in Big Air

Following her red wubba through the air at the June Bloom event. (2012)


Bailey the Little GSP competing in Extreme Vertical

A prettier Extreme Vertical grab at June Bloom. (2012)


Bailey the Little GSP competing in Big Air

Last but not least, a close up of Bailey’s expression as she takes off.
She’s all business! (2011)


Do you like any of the above photos?  Tell me about it in the comments section.  And please don’t forget to Vote for Bailey in the “Cover Dog” photo contest!  Thank you!!!  🙂

DockDogs Worlds Recap!

We had a BLAST at DockDogs World Championships!! This invite-only event was basically an awesome dog convention because throughout the weekend we found ourselves continuously bumping into old friends, catching glimpses (or elevator rides!) with reigning World Champions, and meeting new friends (and dogs!) that we’d only ever read about on Facebook. Cool!

Bailey and Annie at DockDogs Worlds

That’s me posing with Bailey. Check out her super-warm “Trover” jacket… it’s like a big red doggie robe!

Much to our relief Bailey enthusiastically jumped during both of her qualifying rounds! We had been worried that she might decide that the water was a bit too chilly and embarrass us by stopping on the dock in front of the big crowds but luckily she brought her ‘A’ game and jumped without hesitation. She wasn’t actually competitive score-wise — 20’8″ was her longest jump — but we had fun nevertheless!

Bailey on the dock

One of my favorite things about Worlds was seeing so many DockDog “Celebrities” in one place. We got to watch all of these current World Record holders in action:

  • Taz, a black lab from Canada (Outdoor Big Air Record and Outdoor Iron Dog Record) and Cochiti, a whippet from Washington (tied with Taz for Big Air)
  • Remi, a black lab from Minnesota (Speed Retrieve Record) and Jordan, a chocolate lab from Iowa (previous Speed Retrieve record-holder)
  • Baxter, a Belgian Malinois from Missouri (Indoor Big Air Record)
  • Vhoebe, a Belgian Malinois from California (Indoor Iron Dog Record)
  • Yeager, a Belgian Malinois from Massachusetts (Extreme Vertical Record)

Yeager actually broke his own indoor EV world record on Friday night with an 8’3″ grab. Yeager competes as part of GoTeam21, an organization that raises awareness for children with Down syndrome. You can check out Yeager online here: http://goteam21.org/.

Road Trip Montage!

The long road trip to and from Dubuque, Iowa wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. We stopped in Ohio for the night on the way out and made it to Dubuque for the official competitor check-in by Thursday afternoon. I wanted to go through as many states as possible so we made a slight detour into Michigan and then took a route that brought us through Wisconsin on our way into Iowa. Bailey has now visited 13 states! In order they are NJ, PA, DE, MD, NY, VA, OH, CT, IN, MI, IL, WI, IA (just in case you care…).

When it came time to drive home, we left early on Sunday morning and Matt drove us the ENTIRE way home (15 1/2 hours!) with only a few short stops. I helped out by “navigating” and overseeing the selection of numerous NPR podcasts. After listening to that many hours of current events I now feel like an expert on the Israeli-Hamas conflict, the Fiscal Cliff, and a variety of other issues. 🙂

Bailey and Matt at Worlds

Matt handled Bailey AND did all of the driving on our 1895 mile round trip… nice work!

I’m very thankful that we got a chance to compete at Worlds and we’re already looking forward to the start of the 2013 season next Spring! Congratulations to all of our friends that made finals (and a BIG congrats to Carlyn and Max from Chesapeake DockDogs for their Big Air Junior win!!) and I hope that everyone had safe trips home.

Bailey the water monster

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Preparing for DockDogs World Championships!

After months of waiting we are now only 3 days away from the start of DockDogs World Championships! Bailey qualified for this invite-only event back in July and now we are getting ready to make the long (long, long!) drive to Dubuque, Iowa. In anticipation of Worlds, I’ve created several pieces of Bailey “swag” including trading cards, t-shirts, a decal, and a banner. I’m really happy with how everything turned out so I thought I’d do a post on all of the custom items that we’ll be bringing with us to Dubuque.Many Worlds competitors are bringing “trading cards” featuring fun facts and photos of their dog. Rumor has it there may actually be a “Paw-tograph” session where willing dogs can stamp their paw print onto their cards for adoring crowds, but it seems that the main purpose of these cards is really for competitors from around the country to exchange info about their dogs and, of course, get some bragging rights for being Worlds invitees! Here are the double-sided cards that I got printed for Bailey at OvernightPrints.com:

I also made “The Little GSP” shirts for Matt and myself to wear at the competition. I used a silhouette of Bailey jumping (it’s actually the same photo as the top left image on her trading card) and had these shirts printed at BlueCotton.com. The shirts are super soft and my Bailey shirt is quickly becoming my favorite t-shirt of all time!

DockDogs is hosting a “window-tagging” contest (i.e. “DOCKDOGS WORLDS OR BUST” written all over the car windows) but we are skipping the window paint in favor of our Little GSP decal. I had our decal made at VistaPrint.com a few years ago. If you see a silver Subaru Forester driving down the highway with this decal (or ANY window-tagged DockDogs vehicle, for that matter!) please feel free to honk and wave!

Our last bit of “Swag” for Worlds is a banner that features all of the Delmarva DockDogs that will be competing in Dubuque. We are excited that so many of our club members will be joining us at the event and we’ll proudly display this banner with our fellow club members in the competitor area. The banner also came from VistaPrint.com:

We’ll be heading out to Dubuque in our swag-laden car in about 20 hours. Wish us luck! 🙂

DockDogs Recap: Ocean County Decoy and Gunning Show

Last week I cautioned New Jersey to watch out for the Little GSP and it turns out I was right! Bailey had a fantastic weekend at the Ocean County Decoy and Gunning Show and came away with the top jump of the weekend and a big blue ribbon to show for her efforts. Everything about the weekend was great — huge crowds, perfect weather, lots of new competitors, and season-topping jumps from Bailey!

Prior to this event, Bailey had actually only achieved three scores in her “Elite” title category this year — a 23’1 at June Bloom and a 23’2″ and 23’0″ at Dover. All of that changed this weekend when Bailey jumped over 23 feet a total of SIX times! This was such a pleasant surprise that I’m pretty sure I was smiling all weekend. Here are the scores from her four competition rounds:

Saturday Wave #3: 23’3″ and 22’2″
Saturday Wave #4: 24’1″ and 23’10” (woohoo!!)
Sunday Wave #6: 23’4″ and 13’6″ (<;-handler error on that second jump!)
Sunday Finals: 23'2" and 23'6"

I didn't take a single photo this weekend, but here's a video that fellow competitor Tom Aquilone took of Bailey's 23'4" jump during Wave #6. I suggest you stop at the 1:23 mark unless you want to see me mess up my throw on the second 13' jump… 😉

Other highlights of the weekend included a brand new competitor — a yellow lab named Dexter — who started his first-ever Extreme Vertical competition at the opening height of 4'6" and ended up WINNING the discipline with a grab at 6'4" (a HUGE achievement for a new competitor!!) and also some beautiful elite-level jumps from our canine friends Mojo and Bosco. Off the dock, we got to meet the nice volunteers from the GSP Rescue of New Jersey and it was neat to get to tell them at the end of the weekend that Bailey had won the DockDogs big air competition! Maybe next year we can try to coordinate with them to get some GSPs that are in need of adoption on the DockDogs dock in front of the big crowds.

I think my favorite part of the whole weekend was right after we won. Several parents wanted to take photos of their children with Bailey so I had Bailey sit while each little kid stood next to her and smiled for the camera. I put a Zuke’s peanut butter treat between Bailey and the photo-taking parents and as a result she was very well behaved during her impromptu photo shoot! Bailey was very sweet to all of the kids and I think she could definitely tell that she had done a good job at the event. 🙂

Last weekend’s event was awesome and we definitely hope that the Decoy and Gunning Show will invite Delmarva Dockdogs back to Tuckerton next Fall. Delmarva’s next DockDogs event will be the Waterfowl Festival in Easton, Maryland from November 9-11. We will be at the event but Bailey won’t be jumping due to the colder weather (she’s a baby) and the fact that we’ll be gearing up for DockDogs World Championships the next weekend. If you’re interested in learning more or signing your dog up for the Waterfowl Festival, you can click here to visit the event web site. 🙂

Watch out Jersey, here we come!

Next weekend Bailey, Matt and I will be joining Delmarva DockDogs for our second annual event at the Ocean County Decoy and Gunning Show in Tuckerton, New Jersey! I loved this event last year because all of the spectators are waterfowl-hunting, outdoors-oriented, dog-loving people and there are hundreds of vendors who are catering to that crowd. For me, that makes this festival MUCH more fun to walk around than a big state fair with aisle after aisle of funnel cakes and ‘fresh squeezed’ lemonade (although those are nice, too..). Last year we saw multiple German Shorthaired Pointers spectating with their owners which was really neat since GSP’s tend to be rather uncommon in the greater Philadelphia area. I’m hoping to meet even more GSPs this year!

My favorite little GSP had a great time at Tuckerton last year, bringing home the blue ribbon in Extreme Vertical and a 2nd place in Big Air. Hopefully the weather won’t be too crisp and fall-like this weekend or else she may decide that it’s too cold to jump!

The Details:
What: 30th Annual Ocean County Decoy and Gunning Show
When: Saturday and Sunday September 29-30, 2012
Where: Tip Seaman County Park, Tuckerton, New Jersey

Do you think your dog would like to try DockDogs? This is a great event for first-timers because there will be lots of practice time and plenty of Delmarva club members willing to help! The cost is $10.00 for an unscored “Fun Jump” or $30.00 for registration in a “wave” which will get you 2 scored jumps and a chance to qualify for finals which are split up into five divisions. Learn more at the DockDogs event page (or just ask me!). 🙂

Dover Summer Splash!

On August 25th Matt, Bailey and I drove down to Dover, Delaware for Delmarva Dockdogs’ Summer Splash event.  If you’ve been following my blog you’ll know that Bailey had been quite ill earlier this month and, after receiving a diagnosis of Lyme Disease plus a vague possibility of torn ligaments, I was very nervous to see how Bailey would feel about flinging herself off a dock.

Matt had the first jump of the weekend and Bailey went about her business in normal, happy, healthy form.  Woohoo!!!  Oh, and by “normal form,” I mean that Bailey launched into the air after her wubba, landed in the water, forgot all about her toy, and started swimming around the pond trying to catch bugs and frogs!  Bailey always does this at the Dover pond so Matt and our club president are always prepared to wade into the pond and drag her back to shore so as not to hold up the rest of the competitors (thanks Matt and Mike!).

Bailey was clearly feeling better after her bout with Lyme Disease.  She placed second in the Extreme Vertical competition with a grab at 6’4″ and capped off Saturday with a great 23’2″ jump for me — her best of the whole season!!  We returned to Dover on Sunday for the last qualifying rounds and then got ready for the Elite/SuperElite finals where we would be competing with our canine friends Mac, Mojo, Cali, and Rain.  Bailey set the bar high with her first finals jump of 23’0″ and never looked back.  Bailey’s jump was good enough for first place, a big blue ribbon, and a prize bucket full of goodies.  Go Bailey!

Here are some photos from the event:

Alice, a beautiful browndog, wows the crowds with bouncy leaps on the dock as she works herself into a frenzy before jumping.

Alice’s owner Kelli took this photo of Bailey soaring through the air during finals. I love how relaxed she looks!

This 8 month old puppy Nico had several personal bests at Dover. Nico’s handler, Laura, helped him out with beautiful, well-timed toy throws.

Coleman, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, had a fantastic event with multiple 21 and 22 foot jumps. Great job, Coleman!

During a brief rainstorm on Saturday Bailey happily wedged herself onto her squished up bed and snuggled under a fleece blanket.

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The Fair That Never Was

Or, why I drove down the NJ Turnpike last night with my high beams and hazard lights on!

On Friday I eagerly reported that Bailey and I would be returning to the Monmouth County Fair for a weekend of DockDogs fun. Well, mother nature had a different plan. The fair was plagued by severe thunderstorms that resulted in a 4 hour “rain delay” opening on Saturday and the complete cancellation of all festivities on Sunday (today). It’s a good thing we got some jumps in on Wednesday when the weather was still nice!

Bailey rockin’ the dock on Wednesday evening.

As I was driving to the event on Saturday a friend called to let me know that the fair had closed at 12:45PM due to storms and at that point they didn’t know if/when the event would reopen. I was already 1 1/2 hrs. into my drive so Bailey and I hung out in the car at a rest stop for 3 hours (!) before receiving word that the fair was reopening at 5.

Bailey patiently waits out the storm at the Woodrow Wilson Rest Stop on the NJ Turnpike.

After a relaxing afternoon in the car Bailey and I headed up to the deserted, water-saturated fairgrounds. The DockDogs event staff were able to fit in the Extreme Vertical competition and two Big Air waves before the Fair closed again at 9:30 due to advancing storms. It wasn’t all bad, though… Bailey won Extreme Vertical! That’s our first EV win at a National Event and although there weren’t many competitors and her jump wasn’t actually that high for her (only 5’10”) I’m still thrilled to have brought home a blue ribbon!

(That’s the muddy bottom of Bailey’s crate in the background… all of our DockDogs gear is currently spread out on the driveway to dry!)

My trip home Saturday night was one of the worst driving experiences of my life. As soon as I got on the Turnpike I could see the cars ahead of me start to brake. This usually means one of two things — either a state trooper with a radar gun is sitting on the shoulder OR (much worse!) the highway has just been overtaken by an onslaught of torrential wind-driven rain. Sadly it was the latter so I spent 40+ miles of my trip home in the right lane with my high beams and hazard lights on. I know, I know, I was that car last night but hey, I’d rather slow down traffic than bring it to a dead halt by triggering a multi-car accident.

I somehow managed to hit all of those intense storm cells on my drive home. They were moving east and coming across the turnpike in waves.

While on the topic of slowing down traffic, have you ever wondering how the heck those drivers who fly by you at 50 mph in a downpour can actually see the road?? I was crawling along at maybe 20 mph (I quite frankly couldn’t take my eyes off the road to check) and I couldn’t even see the lines on the highway. Maybe I just have bad eyesight but I believe that my speed was much safer for the road conditions last night.

The severe pockets of rain didn’t end until I was about 15 miles into Pennsylvania and by that time I was violently shivering and my teeth were chattering uncontrollably – a combination of the scary driving and also the fact that I had apparently been blasting the A/C throughout the whole storm! (I didn’t realize this until the rain stopped.) What a drive!

Storm aftermath: this huge, well-staked, professionally installed tent at the fair was no match for mother nature. (Photo from Monmouth County Fair)

I woke up this morning to a message from the Fair saying that they will not be reopening today due to damage caused by those storms. That means I don’t have to make that drive again, thank goodness!!! I don’t know how DockDogs will handle the event placement but if they just use the existing scores this would mean that Bailey wins Big Air with her 22’6″ jump from Wednesday and she also wins the “Iron Dog” competition with her combined scores from Big Air and Extreme Vertical. (The third leg of Iron Dog, “Speed Retrieve,” was supposed to occur today.) We’ll see how things play out but for now I’m just glad that I don’t have to face the NJ Turnpike again anytime soon.

Another one of Bailey’s crowd-pleasing jumps from Wednesday. They loved it when she caught her toy!