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This year marks the 25th Annual Dog Olympics organized by the students of the NC State University College of Veterinary Medicine to promote awareness and raise funds for homeless dogs. The event invites both athletic and non-athletic canines to participate in a range of competition, from howling contest to Frisbee toss, in hopes of winning gold. Rescue groups and shelters, vendors and food trucks will be stationed at the Olympic Village, and the Raleigh Kennel Club will be operating a free microchip clinic.
“You can unleash your dog’s competitive side or just sit back and watch the dogs show off their agility — or just their goofy side,” says Laura Keener, a third-year veterinary medicine student and one of the Dog Olympics organizers. “The community really comes together to benefit the rescue groups.”
Ones to Watch
Meet these gold medal contenders
Athlete: Sophie McGarvey
Owner: Stephanie McGarvey
Event: High Jump
Since clinching the silver in the high jump at last year’s games, Sophie has revamped her training routine in hopes of bringing home the gold this year. In addition to daily walks, Sophie trail runs three to four times a week in order to build stamina and jumps logs, ditches and other obstacles. When not training, she works full-time as a squirrel removal specialist and spends her free time playing with squeaky toys, counter surfing, and protecting her parents from delivery workers.
Athlete: Xander Keener
Owner: Laura Keener
Breed: Labrador-Hound mix
Event: Longest Tail
Xander will be competing in the longest tail division for the second time. At last year’s Dog Olympics, Xander astounded the crowd with his 17-inch wagging tail. However, during the final moments of the competition an Irish Wolfhound swooped in and stole the gold. Xander has spent the last year getting plenty of exercise and polishing his dinner bowl cleaning skills, hoping to grow a few extra inches before this year’s competition.
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