2016-08-18 / Columnists

Pets, Pets, Pets

The 2016 Summer Olympics are running at full steam. Cats got their chance to compete when the Hallmark Channel Kitten Summer Games aired on opening night. Now dogs deserve equal time.

Although there is no televised

K9 Olympics, we can explore the possibility of dogs taking part in certain events. Many breeds were refined for a specific, physical purpose in their country of origin so K9 Olympics would be an international showcase of dog sports.

As detailed in “Pets” two weeks ago, Last Hope Animal Rescue provided adult cats as sports judges for the Hallmark Kitten Summer Games. Each year we host a barbecue for adopters and volunteers. Adopters bring their dogs to join in the fun but the cats prefer to chill at home. The barbecue is this Saturday. Several dog summer games would be appropriate way to tie in our cat TV judges and the Rio Games. We need easy contests that can be done while the dogs are on leashes because the celebration is held in our Wantagh parking lot and the gate remains open.

The late “Phelps” swam across a canal in Babylon Village but was never claimed. The late “Phelps” swam across a canal in Babylon Village but was never claimed. Right now four events are planned for our alumni dog competitors. First “synchronized sitting,” which is an endurance test. On the count of three, all owners say “SIT.” The last three dogs to remain sitting are the champions. We’ll let handlers entice the sitters with a treat. Next the tennis test will be a finding out which dogs can catch a tennis ball on a fly.

For the third event, dogs will hurdle over agility jumps. The height will have to be adjusted for each contender. The final event will be the “high dive.” After the owner tosses a toy into a Tommy Turtle pool, his dog qualifies if he dives in to retrieve the toy.

Actually, Last Hope has placed two supreme dog athletes in recent years. In May 2009 a middle-aged Pit/Lab mix swam across the canal on Mayhew in Babylon Village. Quite a feat, yet no one ever claimed him at Babylon Shelter. I named him “Phelps” for obvious reasons. He soon became a cooperative concern between Babylon Shelter and Last Hope. The shelter vet discovered a tumor on his leg. Two aspirations at the shelter came back benign, but when a doctor surgically removed the mass, the biopsy showed Mast Cell 2 cancer. Last Hope considered entering him in a clinical trial for a new drug but he had passed his medical window of opportunity. “Phelps” was adopted by a lovely lady. Four years later he died after chemo to battle lymphoma.

In 2015 Last Hope took “Remington” from a Kentucky shelter. He’d be excellent in the K9 triathlon. He was an owner surrender, because his family wanted to save his life. This young Shepherd/Whippet can run like the wind, swim for the longest time, ride in a kayak, fetch toys from a lake and balance himself on an ATV or golf cart.

When his original owner was forced to move into a “No- Dogs- Allowed” apartment, her relatives fostered him on their unfenced 180- acre property with a three acre lake. “Remington” was in his glory all day long but developed a taste for the neighbor’s chickens. His folks adored “Remington” but knew his poultry-picking trespassing put his life in danger, so they asked the Humane Society if he could be a transport to the northeast where there was less chance of a nearby chicken coop.

Remington’s former family kept in touch with Last Hope. We learned: “He ran along beside my son for over half mile to the creek, swam for over one and a half miles behind the kayak and ran two miles back to the house. And he was still not tired.” Remington was adopted by a young couple. His new dad runs marathons. Remington spends time at Belmont Lake. He’s coming to the Last Hope barbecue so the other dogs have fierce competition.

Moving to a global arena, let’s dapple in entering breeds into Olympic events where they may excel. Rugby, a new addition to the summer program, is for the rough and tumble. It’s basically football without a forward pass or protective gear. Rugby should be reserved for Mastiffs. If English Mastiffs play against Dogue de Bordeaux and Neapolitan Mastiffs, there’d be a match between Britain, France and Italy. Drooling on an opponent would be automatic disqualification. Scrappy Terriers like Jack Russells against Kerry Blues can duke it out on the soccer field.

Wrestling -Greco-Roman and freestyle is for puppies, so no dog goes home angry. Only Boxers can step into the boxing ring. Border Collies should try the discus; but rather than throw, they must catch the discus (aka “Frisbee”) in midair. Drafting breeds known for pulling carts have strong shoulders. Leonbergers, St. Bernards and Bernese Mountain Dogs are designed for shot put. Not sure yet how these poor pups are going to get the shot put into position. Maybe they’d prefer weight lifting.

There will be a gentle giant line-up in basketball. Irish Wolfhounds will dribble versus Great Danes and Scottish Deerhounds for a rivalry between Ireland, Germany (Great Danes are a German breed) and Scotland. Retrievers should be on swimming relay teams, except for silly Goldens who will delight spectators with freestyle. Chihuahuas can demonstrate that air swimming we see little dogs do when carried around. Breeds with webbed toes including Weimaraners and Standard Poodles will do best in the dog paddle.

Races require specific breeds. Let Setters and Pointers who withstand long, field trials run the marathon. Afghan Hounds with their prominent hip bones and speed should be hurdlers. Whippets are the sprinters and lightning bolts of the dog world. Put your money on a Whippet running 100 meters in less than nine seconds. Oops, we’re not supposed to be betting on the K9 Olympics.

Babylon Shelter Adoptables (631-643-9270) Lamar St. W. Babylon: “Vito” 16-273 came in as a stray last June in neglected condition- an injured leg and bald from hypothyroidism. His coat shines now, thanks to the TLC he’s receiving in the shelter. Vito is a lovable, mellow fellow. The “Tortellini Sisters”-Millie, Mardi, Merri and Spots (in the lobby) want you to see how varied the tortoiseshell pattern can be. And these kittens want you to see they each need a loving home.

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