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Purina comes through for WAG, avalanche dog program

Hundreds of dog lovers in Whistler for Incredible Dog Challenge



The fur will be flying in early January, as Whistler gets set to host the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge - the canine equivalent of the Winter Games.

Hundreds of dogs are expected to take part, including participants from previous summer and winter Incredible Dog Challenge events that are televised in the U.S. and have a massive following.

Purina has also made efforts to get involved in the community. While most of the events are for trained dogs, an event called the Paw and Pole Challenge was created to get local dogs and their owners involved and to raise money for the WAG animal shelter. The cost is $10 to enter, with all the money going towards the shelter.

As well, proceeds from a social event at the GLC will go to WAG, while another avalanche dog contest will raise money for the Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog Association (CARDA).

"They've been amazing," said Paul Del Bosco, WAG's new executive director. "They approached us about doing something and came up with the Paw-and-Pole, which is a really fun event where people and their dogs get dressed up and get to cross-country ski around the Whistler Golf Course. There will be prizes for the fastest and for best costume, and things like that."

Local dogs and owners will also have a chance to qualify for the premiere events of the Incredible Dog Challenge, including the Freestyle Flying Disc contest where dogs catching Frisbees and the Skijoring event where dog owners are pulled along on skis by dogs.

Events take place over three days, from the opening demonstrations on Thursday, Jan. 7 to the final freestyle flying disc competition on Saturday, Jan. 9.

Most of the events take place around the Whistler Golf Club "Purina Arena," with the canine demonstrations taking place in Village Plaza and the avalanche rescue dog competition taking place on the mountains.

The events get underway on Thursday, Jan. 7 with canine demonstrations at Village Plaza at noon and 4 p.m.

On Friday the avalanche rescue dog competition gets underway at 9:30 a.m., with trained avalanche dogs performing mock searches and rescues while the clock is ticking.

Registration for other Purina events gets underway at the golf club at 10 a.m.  Skijoring race practice is at 11 a.m., the agility practice at 1 p.m. and the Freestyle Flying Disc practice and local qualifier at 2 p.m.

The Skijoring race is at 10 a.m. on Saturday, followed by the Paw-and-Pole event at 11 a.m. The agility competition is at 12:30 p.m., followed by the slalom racing at 1:30 p.m. with dogs going head-to-head on a set of 60 poles. The Freestyle Flying Disc competition takes place at 2:30 p.m.