Local mutt's prepare to strut

Andrew Zwicker
By Andrew Zwicker
April 21st, 2011

 All you canine cowboys and cowgirls, rustle up your stray doggies, prized pets and four legged furry family members: it’s time to give them a last makeover and help them study up on their best tricks. Yes, we all know Rossland is a dog-town and the Kootenays a puppy paradise, but the big question still lingers: just whose dog is the cutest, smartest, fastest and most obedient? The long debated questions will finally get an answer once and for all on May 1st as the dogs that call the Kootenays home step out and put their best paws forward at the upcoming Mutt Strut.

The idea for the event was sparked a number of years back as organizer Ida Koric who found herself wondering why show dogs got to have all the fun. Fresh off an afternoon of dog-show viewing on TSN, she took her dogs to the park and asked the fateful question, “Why doesn’t someone hold a best in show contest for the regular everyday cute dogs out there?”  That idea sat and stayed until a number of years later after Koric had relocated to Rossland and connected with the folks at the local SCPA in Trail who were looking for another means to fundraise. Putting two and two together, the first annual Kootenay Mutt Strut is now coming together and Centennial Park is gearing up for a parade of pooches.  With the primary focus on cuteness, dogs in four different size categories plus a puppy division will be judged by members of the SPCA as well as our own do- loving mayor, Greg Granstrom. Each category will have cutest and 2nd cutest prizes awarded. Not just a looks-based competition, however, side challenges will put man’s best friend’s most treasured traits to the test. The Fetching Showdown will pit dog against dog in head-to-head showdowns to see who’s got the fastest spring, retrieval and return. In a bracket style format in which the winner moves on, participants will compete against one another until the final fetch off determines the champ.  For the talent portion of the afternoon there will be a best trick contest to test your walks, whispers, high fives, shakes, roll-overs and whatever other stunts you’ve been able to finagle your pet into showing off.  Although perhaps less showy, the most impressive event may just be the obedience contest. Lining the dogs up, a series of incrementally difficult commands will be given to the group. The last to perform the command will be eliminated. The last dog standing (or sitting) will take the prize.  Now if you’re dog is neither a trick magician nor a greyhound-cum retriever for the fetch contest, there may still be a category for them. So long as they can bear it, the best-dressed contest might be just what they need.  “Even if your dog can’t do anything and isn’t obedient they’re probably at least cute and if they’re not cute you can dress them up so there is something for everyone to compete in,” laughed Koric. Although there will be food on site with the RSS grads running a BBQ and the Lions Campground concession open for snacks, one competition geared to the human contingent may have your appetite quelled. With a great evolution in quality dog food over the years, Rossland’s own Mountain Mutt bakery will be hosting a name-that-biscuit contest. If you can take a bite out of one of their home-made dog treats, swish it around over your tongue and match the biscuit to the ingredients you could be a winner yourself.  “I’ve asked her to make some biscuits with no meat so people don’t get too grossed out,” added Koric. “I’ve tried her biscuits and they are great. They taste good, smell good and are good. If people ever wanted to know what they are feeding their dogs, this is the chance.”  Kids and kids at heart alike will be able to play doggy detective as one contest will have folks trying to ascertain the genetic makeup of the many mutts. For those dogs whose lineage is known, they’ll be prizes for humans who can successfully identify the genealogy at play and successfully call out the dogs’ breed mixes.  The hope is that the event will go off big in the unofficial dog capital of Canada. To make that happen, organizers are seeking out dog lovers, but not necessarily dog-owners to come out and help volunteer to make the event a success. The hope is that the event will take off and grow both in terms of number of dogs participating as well as dollars raised to support the Trail SPCA. To that end Koric has issued a challenge.  “I bet my dog is cuter, smarter and faster than yours. Come out and prove me wrong.”  The event takes place Sunday, May 1st from 11:00-2:00 at Centennial Park. Cost is $10 to enter the Best in Show contest and $5.00 for each side competitions. $20 to enter everything. More information can be found on the Mutt Strut website http://kootenaymuttshow.weebly.com/

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