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Former Pulaski shelter dog becomes a flyball rising star

When Jennie Jones adopted her dog Tippet from the Pulaski County Animal Shelter last summer, she had no idea she was becoming the owner of a "secret weapon" when it comes to flyball.
For readers out there who are wondering what flyball is, the North American Flyball Association explains, "flyball races match two teams of four dogs each, racing side-by-side over a 51 foot long course. Each dog must run in relay fashion down the jumps, trigger a flyball box, releasing the ball, retrieve the ball, and return over the jumps. The first team to have all four dogs finish the course without error wins."
Jones first became involved with flyball about five years ago, with her Australian Sheperd, Oliver.
Eventually, she started looking for another furry four-legged flyball athlete to join Oliver, and had been looking for about eight months by the time Tippet was turned in to the Pulaski County Animal Shelter last July.
"She seemed like she had the makings of a good flyball dog, and I was hoping she would run times below six seconds," Jones said. "I had no idea she would end up as fast as she is."
Jones explained that in flyball, "the entire team of four dogs jumps the ‘jump height’ of the shortest dog, so most teams have three big dogs, who are faster, and one little dog, who brings the jump heights down for the whole team."
She noted that the jump height is determined by subtracting five inches from the withers of the dog, and seven inches is as low as the jumps go.
So, with Tippet being both a short and really fast dog, it has earned her the title of "secret weapon" by her teammates on the Blacksburg-based flyball team, the New River Rapids.
This Saturday and Sunday, the New River Rapids are set to compete in a flyball tournament— Spring Runoff 09— at the Blacksburg Community Center. The tournament will run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days, and admission is free. The general public and "leashed spectator dogs" are welcome.
A total of 29 teams from three states will be competing, including three local teams: the New River Rapids, the New River Express, which is also based in Blacksburg, and Heads or Tails, which is based in Roanoke.
However, this weekend’s tournament is not the first that Jones has attended with Oliver and Tippet.
"We go to tournaments about once a month and travel as far as Athens, Ga. in one direction and York, Penn. in the other," Jones said. "It’s a very full weekend of racing."
As for what spectators can expect when attending a flyball tournament, Jones said that many people describe it as "organized chaos" or "relay style drag racing."
She said the comment she hears most often from first-time spectators is, "Oh my goodness, this is wild! And loud!"
She noted that the loudness is due to the fact that "the dogs get pretty excited, so there’s lots of barking."
For more information about flyball, visit www.flyball.org/aboutflyball.html.
Along with Tippet and Oliver, Jones has a third dog named Zanzibar, who "prefers to skip the sports" and instead, likes to visit local elementary schools as a Humane Society ambassador, or simply likes to "hang out on the couch."
Having a positive experience with adopting a pet from the Pulaski County Animal Shelter, Jones said "whether you are looking for the ultimate lap dog or the ultimate athlete, shelter dogs are the way to go!"

For more information about the Pulaski County Animal Shelter, visit www.dogsaver.org/pchs.

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Former Pulaski shelter dog becomes a flyball rising star

When Jennie Jones adopted her dog Tippet from the Pulaski County Animal Shelter last summer, she had no idea she was becoming the owner of a "secret weapon" when it comes to flyball.
For readers out there who are wondering what flyball is, the North American Flyball Association explains, "flyball races match two teams of four dogs each, racing side-by-side over a 51 foot long course. Each dog must run in relay fashion down the jumps, trigger a flyball box, releasing the ball, retrieve the ball, and return over the jumps. The first team to have all four dogs finish the course without error wins."
Jones first became involved with flyball about five years ago, with her Australian Sheperd, Oliver.
Eventually, she started looking for another furry four-legged flyball athlete to join Oliver, and had been looking for about eight months by the time Tippet was turned in to the Pulaski County Animal Shelter last July.
"She seemed like she had the makings of a good flyball dog, and I was hoping she would run times below six seconds," Jones said. "I had no idea she would end up as fast as she is."
Jones explained that in flyball, "the entire team of four dogs jumps the ‘jump height’ of the shortest dog, so most teams have three big dogs, who are faster, and one little dog, who brings the jump heights down for the whole team."
She noted that the jump height is determined by subtracting five inches from the withers of the dog, and seven inches is as low as the jumps go.
So, with Tippet being both a short and really fast dog, it has earned her the title of "secret weapon" by her teammates on the Blacksburg-based flyball team, the New River Rapids.
This Saturday and Sunday, the New River Rapids are set to compete in a flyball tournament— Spring Runoff 09— at the Blacksburg Community Center. The tournament will run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days, and admission is free. The general public and "leashed spectator dogs" are welcome.
A total of 29 teams from three states will be competing, including three local teams: the New River Rapids, the New River Express, which is also based in Blacksburg, and Heads or Tails, which is based in Roanoke.
However, this weekend’s tournament is not the first that Jones has attended with Oliver and Tippet.
"We go to tournaments about once a month and travel as far as Athens, Ga. in one direction and York, Penn. in the other," Jones said. "It’s a very full weekend of racing."
As for what spectators can expect when attending a flyball tournament, Jones said that many people describe it as "organized chaos" or "relay style drag racing."
She said the comment she hears most often from first-time spectators is, "Oh my goodness, this is wild! And loud!"
She noted that the loudness is due to the fact that "the dogs get pretty excited, so there’s lots of barking."
For more information about flyball, visit www.flyball.org/aboutflyball.html.
Along with Tippet and Oliver, Jones has a third dog named Zanzibar, who "prefers to skip the sports" and instead, likes to visit local elementary schools as a Humane Society ambassador, or simply likes to "hang out on the couch."
Having a positive experience with adopting a pet from the Pulaski County Animal Shelter, Jones said "whether you are looking for the ultimate lap dog or the ultimate athlete, shelter dogs are the way to go!"

For more information about the Pulaski County Animal Shelter, visit www.dogsaver.org/pchs.

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