Bubba is a 4-year-old chocolate Labrador retriever who will be partnering with his owner Marie Moy to compete in the National Dock Diving Championship in Stone Mountain on Friday through Sunday.
Dock diving is one of the fastest growing canine sports in the country. Competitions are hosted by the national organization DockDogs Inc. and challenge dogs and their handlers in three separate disciplines similar to a canine track and swim meet.
Dogs get a running start before they leap into a 40-foot pool to catch a toy. In the Big Air division, the dog jumps for distance like a human long jump. The Extreme Vertical tests the dog’s vertical jump for a toy, and Speed Retrieve is where the dog jumps and swims for the fastest time.
Bubba and Moy will be competing in Extreme Vertical and Speed Retrieve. They broke into the competition scene in September 2011 in Gainesville and have placed as high as third in Iron Dog Warrior, a combination of the events.
Born to a litter of puppies belonging to Moy’s neighbor, Bubba had humble beginnings. The biggest puppy in the group, he was picked over by early-bird owners looking to secure a successful duck hunting prospect that was quick, smart and compact.
Moy’s husband Alan Moy put Bubba into training for duck hunting, but because of a busy work schedule he ended up seldom taking the dog out for hunts. Encouraged by Bubba’s intelligence and athleticism, Marie Moy soon hatched a plan to turn her duck dog into a dock dog after she witnessed a competition.
“I just felt he was kind of a dog without a job,” said Moy.
Now with competitions under their belt, Moy said the bond between them has significantly increased, and she enjoys keeping him fit and in top notch condition to do his best. In the end though, she’s in the competition for the fun of it and to see Bubba enjoy himself.
“He loves it,” said Moy. “I can’t imagine not doing this with him. He was OK with hunting, but I think he really, really loves this.”
For more information about dock diving visit www.dockdogs.com.