Snickers and I spent last weekend at Fido’s Festival in Woodstown, NJ. We were there with NYC Shiba Rescue to talk to people about Shiba Inus, Shiba rescue in particular, purebred rescue in general and responsible dog ownership. I really enjoy working at these events. Not only do I get to talk to people about the breed that I absolutely adore and about purebred rescue groups and how important adoption is, we also get to try new things and meet new people.
We’ve made friends with rescue groups, vendors and other Shibas at events in the past. Last weekend we talked with the founder of a fantastic new sanctuary named Seer Farms. Seer Farms is being established for the purposes of intervening when families are in crisis and need support for their pets and to enable multi-species animal rescue and placement. I was incredibly impressed with what they have accomplished so far and hope to have the opportunity to speak and collaborate with them in the future.
Although we spend the majority of our time in the booth, we do get out and walk around some also. Snickers and I usually discover a new product – treats, toys, etc. (even seafood/crab cakes at one event) – that we really like. One in particular is an event-only bonus for Snickers. For a job well done, he gets to enjoy a Muttkin from Annie’s Pooch Pops!
At this event, Snickers had the honor of meeting Dr. Harvey Cohen (and family) in person. Dr. Harvey is the founder of Dr. Harvey’s Healthy Formulations and makes the pre-mix that I use to cook Snickers and Secret’s food. We attended Dr. Harvey’s lecture where I learned how important it is to rotate the protein in their diet (which I haven’t been doing), to refrigerate my oils, and about various supplements. What Snickers liked though was going to Dr. Harvey’s table and getting TRIPE SAMPLES! Wow was he happy (and wow is it stinky)! I now have tripe treats stored inside two Ziploc freezer bags in the crisper drawer of my refrigerator. I can’t smell them in there (thank goodness) but Snickers still can! Oh, and I finally rotated proteins this week!
Lure for the Cure
The most exciting part of the weekend for us though, was when Snickers got to try out lure coursing for the first time. The National Canine Cancer Foundation travels to various events and puts on "Lure for the Cure." Attendees can try out an abbreviated lure course and the money goes for canine cancer research. (The Lure for the Cure course was a u-shaped enclosed course – much smaller than a real lure course would be.) Lure coursing is a canine sport created for sight hounds. The concept is pretty simple really… a course is laid out with a mechanical lure (in this case a wiggly, squeaky fuzzy squirrel tail toy) on the ground. The lure is then shown to the dog who chases it around the course. I’ve seen Snickers chase squirrels and chipmunks when we lived in Indiana so I already knew he has a high prey drive. I had no idea HOW high though!
Saturday was too hot; we wandered by the lure course to check it out, but it was a million and one degrees out and muggy to boot. Sunday was gorgeous though, so on Sunday morning, we went. I paid for 3 runs and we got in line. Snickers didn’t have much interest in being in line though. He wanted to go check out everything else; he had no idea that Something Good was going to happen in a few minutes. Finally, we were next in line. He watched the dog in front of us run the course. He was interested. The guys managing the course were great. We entered the course and I told them this was Snick’s first time. Snick seemed interested but not crazed. They ran the lure in front of his nose – back and forth a few times – wiggle wiggle – oh boy! It took off. I let Snick go and HE took off. Ten and half seconds later, he was at the end of the course and he and I were both HOOKED. I brought him back to the beginning and held him. This time he was totally excited, pulling and quivering. His second run only took 9.35 seconds and his third… only 8.64. I have NEVER seen Snickers that excited and moving that fast! btw, that was nothing compared to the 6.5 and 7 second runs some of the rescued greyhounds were doing later in the afternoon, but, you know, it is their sport after all. Watching my sweet doggy turn into a primal hunter/killer was something else. At the end of his second run, he actually got the lure in his mouth and was KILLING it. I used to wonder if he would really kill a squirrel if he caught one. Well, now I know. He definitely does NOT want to play with them. When his third run was over, I couldn’t drag him away. I had to pick him up and carry him to get him to leave! We actually went back two more times during the day. When we were standing in line the second time, he was SCREAMING with anticipation. He couldn’t WAIT to get out there and run again! He made a total of 11 runs during the day and his fastest time was just over 8 seconds. He was exhausted by the end of his last run and he slept extremely soundly during the two hour drive home at the end of the day.
I started searching that day for a place that holds lure course practices and allows non-sight hounds to participate. I have one lead on a place in Jersey but it hasn’t panned out yet. If it does, I promise to get video at some point and post it. If you have a sight hound or any type of dog who was bred to chase or to hunt and kill, believe me when I say that if you ever get the chance to try this, DO IT.