The Michiganders with trophies in hand after competing in the Canine2 Iron Dog Competition in Chicago on October 9, 2011. Pictured from left to right are (back row) Paul Hebeler, Lori Webster, Deb Hebeler, Renae Larsen, Katie Karhohs and Linda Ringle, (front row) Cheryl Carlson, Pat Riley, our host Willie (Sarge) McLaughlin and Mike Ivancevic. Notice that EVERYONE placed in their class (divided by age) and each won a trophy! (Photo courtesy of Wendi Riley.)
The Iron Dog Competition is a timed event along a course of approximately 1.5 miles with each K-9 team traversing through water, running up and down hills, over fallen trees, and hiking through winding paths in the woods with the handler having to discover the trail markings to negotiate the course properly. The course included obstacles such as hurdles, stairs, tunnels, a-frames, etc. The handler was also required to carry their dog a distance of about 20 feet, shoot a target with a paintball gun, and the dog had to defend its handler when attacked by a stranger in the woods… yet allow physical assistance from other strangers to help its handler without biting.
There were Two Divisions (women and men’s divisions), and four (4) age group categories in each division: #(1) age 18 thru 35, #(2) age 36 thru 47, #(3) age 48 thru 58 and #(4) age 59 & over.
Other activities included a scramble ramp and a toy pit (where the dog could NOT pick up a ball), crawling under tarps and through chain link enclosures just 18’ off the ground, running through tires and other obstacles. For any scenario not completed properly there was a time penalty added to the competitor’s finish time. The entire event is timed for each individual, and the goal was to complete the course in the fastest time!
The event is very intense, but in the best possible way. The Canine2 Iron Dog competition is an annual fundraiser for the FOSCIK orphaned shelter and outreach program. FOSCIK provides care to those children who are orphaned, destitute and abandoned and who may suffer with HIV / AIDS and physical challenges. FOSCIK also assists Battered Women and Children, Homeless, Substance Abuse Shelters and Senior Citizens Homes in the Chicagoland area by passing out clothing, food and toys. So not only is this event a remarkable bonding experience for a dog and handler team, it is a great way to contribute to a very worthy charitable cause!
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