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DockDogs fundraiser in Goldston is set for May

Feb. 13—One of the largest and fastest growing sporting events that will make spectators smile is coming to Chatham County this spring.

It's the "7th Bark at Noah's Ark" DockDogs competition that will be held May 2-5 at Indian Creek K-9 Aquatics on Indian Creek Road in Goldston.

"DockDogs is a sport where dogs jump into a pool off of a dock and are scored by how far and how high they jump, and how fast they can swim," said Allison Stedman, event spokesperson.

The dogs are judged in three categories dogs: Big Air is to see how far a dog jumps; Extreme Vertical is the height of the jump; Speed determines which dog is fastest.

The dog with the highest score takes home the title of Iron Dog. The competition is also a Wild Card Double Header "which means you can qualify and receive a world invitation at this event based on your results," Stedman said.

She and her husband had no idea what DockDogs competition was until they found it on social media. Immediately captivated, they began working with their dog Lawson, an energetic Labrador retriever.

Lawson loves chasing balls and loves being in the water, a perfect combination for the competition, she said.

The 2023 Bark at Noah's Ark was their first DockDogs event and she quickly learned about the canine competition community.

"While we are all competitors in the sport, we embrace each other as friends, family, and see ourselves as our own community. Incredible things can happen when a community comes together to take care of their own."

And that's what they're doing with the Bark at the Park.

Jay Harris, owner of the Indian Creek K-9 Aquatics, has been competing in dock diving since 2005 and was inducted into the DockDogs Hall of Fame in 2012 with his dog, the late Sir Harley.

He and his wife, Debra, are raising their grandson, Noah, who was born prematurely at 27 weeks, Stedman said. The birth parents were unable to care for the infant, so couple stepped up and took custody of the baby, Stedman said.

Noah was in the NICU — intensive care for newborns — for the seven months of his life and spent more than 200 days in the hospital.

"Noah has faced severe medical challenges his entire life and has been diagnosed with severe autism," Stedman said.

Bark at Noah's Ark began as a fundraising event for Noah, but it's become the one of the largest canine aquatic events with competitors from four counties and more than 20 states, according to Stedman.

The proceeds have gone into a trust fund for Noah's future and other nonprofits serving the autistic community, she said. Noah's service dog is his faithful companion and part of the proceeds are used to help fund service dogs for autistic children, Stedman said.

Pre-registration has sold out, but teams can sign up on site, Stedman said, and the cost is $35 per two jumps. The event is free and open to the public. The site will have bleachers and some food truck vendors.

For more information, go to dockdogs.com/event/7th-annual-bark-at-noahs-ark