Dock-diving dog doesn’t mind the cold |

Dock-diving dog doesn’t mind the cold

Susan Wood
Nevada Appeal News Service
Jim Grant/Nevada Appeal News Service Stateline resident Dan Dutil has Snapple, a competitor in Splash Dog competitions, retrieve a dog toy that he threw into the lake earlier this week.

STATELINE – Snapple isn’t an ordinary dog, even by Tahoe standards.

Stateline resident Don Dutil has discovered his Jack Russell-Australian shepherd has a penchant for competitive dock diving.

Snapple, named after a beverage like Dutil’s two other dogs, Cola and Pepsi, started diving off the pier at his home at Tahoe Shores Mobile Home Park a few years ago.

“It got to the point the neighborhood kids would come knock on the door and ask if Snapple could come out and play,” he said.

At 5 weeks old, Snapple, who came from a Cameron Park, Calif., breeder, accompanied Dutil on a 10-mile snowshoe jaunt. His boundless energy has continued ever since.

The dog’s ability came to light at his first competition – the Bark Festival set at Squaw Valley. His longest competitive jump in the Bay area was measured at 17 feet, 10 inches. He’s never won, but he competes against hundreds of dogs.

During the judging, a monitor points a laser beam at the landing to gauge the distance. Dutil said every time Snapple enters a jump, the announcer tells the audience he’s 11 years old.

Dutil plans to enter Snapple in Splash Dogs in Orange County next month. They just returned home from a Sacramento competition.

At home and in competitions, Snapple leaps for his toy with the focus of an Olympian.

He doesn’t seem to care the lake temperature could be just 40 degrees. After a practice run at home last weekend, he sprung out of the water and rolled in the snow.

“He’s putting his scent on (the toy),” he said.

Snapple jumps in the lake, no matter what season.

The canine has also jumped in San Francisco Bay, ponds and pools – most often for Splash Dogs, a competitive event circuit started by Pittsburgh resident Tony Reed three years ago.

Reed, a self-proclaimed dog lover, carts a trailer behind his vehicle to take the launching dock to his events.

“I wanted to bring more events to the West Coast,” he said.

Reed, who is aiming to spearhead an event at Truckee, said he’d like to form a nonprofit organization to benefit animal rescue missions.