By Sue Moore
Dexter, not just a dog but an Ultimate Air Dog competitor, lives in Vicksburg on Sunset Lake, so it’s natural that he wants to run and jump off a dock to fetch a toy, say his owners, Robin and Tony Dipisa. He is so good at jumping that he has been placing in Ultimate Air Dog competitions in Michigan and Illinois.
“We are empty nesters, so I guess we are lavishing all of our attention on Dexter,” Robin said. Dexter’s most recent accomplishment was to jump 23 feet off a dock in competition, placing him in the Master Elite division, just below the Ultimate class that can jump more 24 feet or more. The length of the jump is judged from the edge of the end of the dock nearest the water to the base of the dog’s tail with the judges gauging this with their eyes. They stand right in line with the dog as it lands for greater accuracy. The dog gets two attempts. The best one is chosen for the contest.
“Dexter is a black lab and since he was a puppy he started dropping his toy in the water and we just kept throwing it out a little farther each time, watching to see how much fun he was having. So we decided to see how he would do in competition. He just earned eligibility to go the finals that will be held in Missouri in October by Purina Farms. He is one of the top five dogs in his class in Michigan’s divisions who are chosen to compete from ten total regions in the US,” Dipisa explained.
The Ultimate Air Dog competition was started 11 years ago by former Detroit Tigers pitcher Milt Wilcox and his son Brian. Many come to their events just to hear the pitcher who won the third game in the 1984 World Series for the Tigers, as he is the announcer that makes it all so much fun.
This three year old dog was something of a rescue dog, Dipisa said. They got him from a litter of nine puppies in Ann Arbor from a struggling University of Michigan dental school student and his wife. They needed to find a good home since they just couldn’t take care of all the brood. Dexter, “Is a huge people lover and enjoys going to Pet Emporium in Vicksburg, where we buy him special dog treats,” Robin Dipisa said with a chuckle. “We also take him to Dr. Christina Bowles at Shaver Road Veterinary clinic for his checkups. They help keep him happy and healthy.”