Photos by Marty Gordon
Dogs of all sizes had a chance last week to compete along an obstacle course at Blacksburg’s Festival of Dog that tested their agility and ability to listen to their owner.

Dogs are man’s best friend, so why shouldn’t they have their own special day?

Dogs of many different breeds were honored by the Blacksburg Recreation Department at the “Festival of the Dog” last Sunday. This is the program’s third year, with activities that ranged from cutest dog, most to look like its owner, good citizen and most agile.

Recreation Director Dean Crane said the event raises money for the town’s two dog parks, located at Tom’s Creek Park.

“In addition to our department, the New River Valley Kennel Club organizes activities that help fund improvements, amenities, etc. at the park,” he said.

Blacksburg has a park for both large and small dogs. Other localities like Radford also have one with Christiansburg following suit in the near future.

“We are proud of our dog park and continue to make improvements for the public,” Crane said.

Participants at “Dog Day” included Yorkies not even a foot high and Great Danes that were as big as a small pony.

Crane smiled as the field was filled with over two dozen dog parents.

Area vendors that provide services to pet owners were also present, while the agility course was a hit for experts and novice dog owners.

Members of the kennel club lead well-trained dogs throughout the course, while those with neighborhood dogs were given a crack at it. Six jumps lead up to a bridge crossing and then through several tubes and then traversing through poles and back over a final jump.

No times were kept, but organizers said that typically that’s what makes the course competitive for the pet owners.

The canine good citizenship award included several tests that each dog had to pass including accepting a friendly stranger, sitting politely for pets, appearance and grooming, out for a walk, walking through a crowd, sitting down and staying in place, coming when called, reaction to another dog, reaction to distractions and supervised separation.

Contests at the special event that was sponsored by the Blacksburg Recreation Department and NRV Kennel Club included cutest outfit. First place was given to “Max”, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi owned by Margie Christianson of Radford.

The pet owner also had to make a commitment to be responsible for their dog’s health needs and their safety, will not allow their dog to infringe on the rights of others and will be responsible for their dog’s quality of life.

Crane said the bottom line for the special day is to promote responsible dog ownership.

“They (dogs) are truly our best friend and we should treat them accordingly,” he said.

The New River Valley Kennel Club is a licensed American Kennel Club. The members are involved in conformation showing, obedience, rally, agility, breeding, training and every aspect of responsible dog ownership and sport that the AKC offers. For more information, visit For more information on Blacksburg’s dog park, call 443-1100.

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