Youthlinks Hound Wins Boatyard Dog
By Broadreach Family & Community Services Dan Bookham
ROCKLAND (Aug 11, 08): Two weeks ago, none of the teens on the Youthlinks Boatyard dog team had ever trained an animal. Two weeks ago, Truman the hound had never been trained beyond basic commands. Today thanks to his Youthlinks handlers, their advisors, and his intelligence and sweet nature Truman is the 2008 Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors Boatyard Dog champion.
Youthlinks exists to help connect local adolescents with the volunteer needs in their communities, so when the opportunity arose to raise awareness about animals in need of a home at the Humane Society of Knox County (HSKC) the teens and staff naturally jumped at the chance. It didn't hurt of course that the awareness project promised to be a lot of fun.
At the end of July a group of Youthlinks participants taking part in the program's free community service summer camp teamed up with the HSKC, professional dog behavioralist Marie Finnegan, (**Oops slightly wrong info. I am a dog trainer, not a behaviorist.**) Rockland's Loyal Biscuit Co., and a hound named Truman and began training to take part in the Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors Boatyard Dog competition. The contest has become an attendee favorite, and consists of obstacle courses, jumping in and out of dinghies, a "freestyle" performance piece by dog and handlers, and at least half the team finding themselves jumping into Rockland harbor.
Under the guidance of Finnegan, Youthlinks Program Manager Caitlin Schick, and staff at the HSKC the teens transformed themselves and Truman within two weeks into a confident, disciplined and fun-loving team with a kid/canine secret agent skit that ended up stealing the show.
To the sounds of the James Bond and Pink Panther themes Truman and his handlers cleared the obstacle course, leapt from a tippy dinghy, disarmed secret agents, kissed a femme fatale, responded to commands in a multitude of languages, knocked a villain off the dock, and resumed their cover as an everyday family and their dog. After a tie-break performance crowd acclaim lead to Truman and his Youthlinks team mates clinching the championship.
"Not many adults would feel comfortable standing in front of a huge crowd trying to lead a young dog through a complex routine while performing themselves" said Youthlinks Program Director Amie Hutchison, who added "To be able to do so with such confidence and showmanship that they won the whole competition speaks volumes about the quality of the teens who live in our communities."
Truman, the 2008 Boatyard Dog Trials champion and loving hound in search of a family, is awaiting adoption at the Humane Society of Knox County. Youthlinks' free summer camp continues for two more weeks; regular after-school programming resumes in September.
Youthlinks is a program of Broadreach Family & Community Services located in Rockland that provides community service, leadership and enrichment opportunities to all youth ages 11-17 from anywhere in mid-coast Maine. They are funded primarily by the generous donations of individuals, businesses, and foundations. All programs are free for participating youth. For more information on Youthlinks, visit www.youthlinksonline.org or call 594-2221.
Back row, from left to right: Youthlinks Program Director Amie Hutchison, K-9 Solutions' Marie Finnegan, Youthlinks Program Manager Caitlin Schick, Margo Arruda, Lexi Moody.Front row: Miles Swanson, Jordan Carpenter, Truman (not pictured: Emma Spencer). **Also not seen is his underdog cape made by my mom. It was fabulous.
Here is Truman showing off his beautiful lobster collar and leash set donated by the Loyal Biscuit Co. and made by http://www.bowchies.com/
Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors Show bounces back after soggy start
By Daniel O'Connell and Emily Sapienza
**Snippet of longer article:
That excitement is not lost on the public who come from near and far to attend the event, the apex of which is the World Championship Boatyard Dog competition held Sunday morning.
Six teams of dogs and handlers competed in this year's event, though one team was made up of a pair of dogs.
After the event's obstacle course was completed, teams also performed free-style acts of both daring and obedience. In one such act, handler Kip Boetsch fired a toy lobster out of a mini cannon into the water, whereupon his dog, Captain Caleb, fetched it from the water.
Two teams were tied after round one. Kelvin and Cody, two Chesapeake Bay retrievers competing on the same team, were tied with Truman, a hound mix that is currently up for adoption at the Humane Society of Knox County.
Judges Dr. Bjorn Lee of Pen Bay Veterinary Associates, Lucinda Lang, a spaniel aficionado, and Holly Sherburne, editor of Downeast Dog News, scored the dogs on the first round of competition. The free-style tiebreaker round, however, was judged through audience applause.
Kelvin and Cody brought professional experience to the competition; they were trained as Chesapeake safe harbor rescue dogs. (**More wrong info-they are dogs adopted from the Safe Harbor Chesapeake Rescue Group. Perhaps they are trained rescue dogs but I think there was some miscommunication or assumptions made based on the groups name.**)
Truman, on the other hand, was the product of a home-town project: Students from Youthlinks, a youth enrichment program based in Rockland, had worked with Marie Finnegan, the resident trainer at the Humane Society of Knox County, to train Truman for the event.
After competing in the tie-breaking free-style round, Truman won the event with overwhelming applause from the audience. Truman is still available for adoption at the Humane Society of Knox County.
End of Boatyard dog stories. :-) What a great ending to a very busy two weeks. The kids all did a fabulous job and much fun was had by all, including Truman who loved all the attention lavished upon him. Hopefully his new home can keep up with his rock star status. I only wish I had video to share.
Jenny is doing much better today and we haven't had any more episodes since Sunday. Our fingers are crossed that it was related to inner ear issues and not neurological after all.