Dogs strut their stuff at Mills Park | NevadaAppeal.com

Dogs strut their stuff at Mills Park

by Susie Vasquez, Appeal Staff Writer

photo by rick GunnDog trainer Dave Whitworth reacts just after Bandit sneaks a kiss. Bandit was saved from the pound and now performs in the Beggin' Strips dog show. The traveling show took place at the RSVP carnival Friday afternoon at Mills Park.

It was standing-room only at the Beggin’ Strips A-Mazin’ Bacon Race on Friday, but no one seemed to mind.

Four perky pooches raced around, over, under and through an obstacle course made in dog heaven at Carson City’s Mills Park.

Moms, dads, grandparents and children gathered around the obstacle course as dogs of varying descriptions zipped along, maneuvering their way around dancing fire hydrants, oversized newspapers, giant slippers and larger-than-life dog bones.

“This was fun, really a treat,” said Reno resident Jolie Glenn. “And I think it’s wonderful, that they’re promoting shelter rescues.”

Most of the dogs, coached by professional trainer Dave Whitworth, were rescued from shelters and are stars in this show, which has toured 22 cities in six months.

A tan-and-white Aussie named Scooter stopped in the middle of the race to leave a calling card and Flex, a Jack Russell mix, made off with the grand prize, a trophy full of Beggin’ Strips dog treats, before finishing the race.

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The fastest dog, a tiny black Skipperke named Zach, won the first competition. But they were all winners to the many more who are languishing in animal shelters across the country, said Wes Harder, tour organizer for the group.

“People think they have to pay a lot of money for a dog that will perform like this, but it just isn’t true,” he said. “When people consider bringing a pet into their lives, we want them to go to shelters.”

After the race, people gathered to watch Bandit play as dog trainer Dave Whitworth gave tips on dog training and care.

Sponsored by Purina, the races will continue Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.