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A doggone good time set for Saturday

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entertainment Park Rapids, 56470
Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

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The fifth annual Tails on the Trail walkathon and pet expo – for hounds and humans alike – will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 8 in Heartland Park.

This year’s slogan – Tail-a-Bration! - celebrates the many rescues and adoptions the Headwaters Animal Shelter implemented in its 10 years of operation.

April Canada, who was the first to adopt a dog from the Headwaters Animal Shelter, is the grand marshal.

Food, vendors and fun for the entire family are on the dogget (docket). Live demonstrations will include the Central Lakes Search & Rescue Team, flyball teams and agility.

Central Lakes Search and Rescue is an all-volunteer K-9 unit that responds at the request of law enforcement for missing person searches. The K-9s are trained and owned by the handlers and certified to nationally recognized standards for search and rescue teams. These dogs search only for people, not other animals or things.

Agility is a dog sport where a handler directs a dog through an obstacle course in a race for both time and accuracy. Dogs run off leash with no food or toys as incentives, and the handler can touch neither dog nor obstacles. Consequently, the handler’s controls are limited to voice, movement and body signals, requiring exceptional training of the animal and coordination of the handler.

Flyball is a relay race matching two teams of four dogs each, racing side by side over a 51-foot course. The course consists of a starting line, four hurdles spaced 10 feet apart and a box.

Each dog must run in relay fashion down the jumps and step on a spring-loaded box that shoots out a tennis ball. The dog catches the tennis ball and runs back over the hurdles.

Each dog must return its ball across the start line before the next dog crosses. Ideal running is the nose to nose at the start line. The first team to cross the finish line error-free wins the heat. Penalties are applied if the ball is dropped or if the next relay dog is released early.

Flyball is not limited to the size or breed, as smaller dogs often compete with great success on teams consisting of various sizes and breeds. Smaller dogs are often prized as the hurdle height is based on the height of the smallest dog in the team.

Contests, with prizes awarded, include doggie musical chairs, a look-alike contest, a Strut your Mutt contest, Doggie Casino and a scavenger hunt.

A reduced cost micro-chip clinic will be in the shelter pavilion. Pre-registered dogs will receive personalized bandanas and prizes will be awarded for “top dog” pledge earners.

Proceeds from the dog walk and pet expo will support the Headwaters Animal Shelter and its programs.

In the first 10 years of operation, the shelter has “re-homed” 1,564 dogs and 1,458 cats; 429 were returned to owners.

An all-you-can-eat fish or chicken dinner will be served from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 8 at the Eagles Club, hosted by the Eagles Auxiliary. Proceeds will benefit the shelter.

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