Heidi is a yellow Labrador retriever who has a personal best of 25 feet, 2 inches, good enough for the 2008 DockDogs National Championships in Richfield, Wis.
OAKRIDGE, Ore. — An Oregon dog who loves to leap off docks is heading for a national championship to compete.
Heidi is a yellow Labrador retriever who has a personal best of 25 feet, 2 inches, good enough for the 2008 DockDogs National Championships in Richfield, Wis. The three-day competition ends today. Her owner, Hannah Gordon, is a 14-year-old freshman at Oakridge High School who had planned on training Heidi as a hunting dog.
But when Hannah told her P.E. teacher at Oakridge Junior High, John Warren, that Heidi could leap a 5-foot fence at home, Warren suggested Hannah look into DockDogs.
Since she started jumping as a 1-year-old in 2006, Heidi has won about a dozen first-place ribbons and trophies in DockDogs competitions, Hannah said.
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Heidi’s first big wins came at the Lane County Fair in 2006, when she won both the high jump and the long jump, said Hannah’s father, David Gordon, a fifth-grade teacher at Oakridge Elementary School.
Now Heidi and Hannah are ranked first nationally in the DockDogs youth-handlers category for handlers ages 15 and younger.
Heidi averages 24 feet and 1 inch in DockDog’s “Big Air” competitions — the long-jump event for dogs.
What’s the secret? Hannah hasn’t figured it out. “She just does it,” Hannah said. “She likes it.”
Hannah saved money for three years to buy Heidi, a purebred, from a breeder in Astoria for $350 in 2005.
DockDogs is a national organization founded in 2000 that hosts events all over the country in which dogs compete in three events: Big Air, Extreme Vertical (high jump) and Speed Retrieve, in which dogs swim after a duck decoy and return it as fast as they can.