Dogs jump for joy at America's River Festival in Dubuque - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dogs jump for joy at America's River Festival in Dubuque


DockDogs has drawn many people to America's River Festival in the Port of Dubuque.

About 90 dogs are competing this weekend.

It's a sport that requires a lot of energy and enthusiasm, where a great jump exceeds 20 feet.

11 feet, however, is good enough for the oldest dog in this weekend's competition. Tanner is a 13-year-old German Short-Haired Pointer. He was born in Dubuque, and his handler Susan Barnes said Tanner has a history of public service in the key city.

"I used to live here. I actually was the animal control officer here, and Tanner used to ride with me when I'd work, so a lot of people know him because he used to do the dog bit education programs, too," Barnes said. "He was born here, so this is home for him."

The two traveled to this Dubuque competition from their current home in Des Moines. At 13, Tanner is the oldest dog at this weekend's competition by a long shot.

"Last year at this event, he won the amateur division, and he was jumping 19, 18 feet," Barnes said. "Now we just jumped an 11, and I'm just happy to see him having fun, you know, getting in the water."

Sean McCarthy and his five-year-old Chocolate Lab Jordan came from Riverside.

"The main thing is, it's just having fun with your dog," McCarthy said. "It's another way to bond with your dog, and it's a great family sport. You can get your kids involved with it as well."

DockDogs is in its 12th year. In 2011, it held more than 200 sanctioned events in 151 cities.

Dubuque will be drawing in more DockDog enthusiasts later this year.

We're trying to also qualify for the world championships that will be here in Dubuque in November," McCarthy said.

It will bring canines like Tanner back to the key city.

"There's a lot of people that, quote, retire their dogs," Barnes said, petting Tanner. "He'll retire when he wants to. He'll tell me when he's done."

DockDogs competitions continue at America's River Festival Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

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