Category Archives: Special Achievers

Rocket’s K-9 Comets Frisbee Dog Stars

Rocket Hoskins has the title of World Frisbee Champion and is a six time National Frisbee Champion (in people Frisbee), as well as being the original California State Frisbee Golf Champion, among his many credentials. He is the expert trainer of Rocket’s K-9 Comets Frisbee Dog Stars, and he has been the charismatic and dynamic human star of the show since 1982.

Rocket’s wife Ashley is the canine coordinator and commentator for the show. Together with their four legged family members and teammates, they travel the country doing performances at State and County Fairs, NFL and NBA halftime shows, and corporate and special events. They have been featured in countless newspaper articles as well as on TV shows including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, Fox News, ESPN and Animal Planet.

Back in 1998, Rocket and Ashley met Scott Whipple, one of the owners of CANIDAE Natural Pet Food Company, when Scott was personally handing out free samples of their dog food at the Jurupa Rodeo not far from where the CANIDAE Corporate offices are today. Rocket’s K-9 Comets were doing the half time entertainment for the enthusiastic crowd at the Rodeo. Scott saw how amazing the Frisbee Dogs were, and how much the crowd loved the show. Soon after, CANIDAE became the Official Dog Food of the K-9 Comets, and has been their sponsor for over 14 years.

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CANIDAE Sponsored Dog Performs on Canada’s Got Talent!

Photo by Kris Svela

By Julia Williams

It’s a given that all of the dogs and cats CANIDAE sponsors are talented; after all, they’re called Special Achievers for a reason. However, a 7-year old Pyrenean Shepherd named Rally is so good at freestyle flying disc that he (with his owner/handler Angela Ewtushik) recently got to show off his mad skills on Canada’s Got Talent, and made it to the Semi-Finals!

CANIDAE Sales Manager Caroline Pettersen said, “Although Angela and Rally didn’t win a place in the finals, they won a place in the hearts of Canadians. Angela and Rally went on a journey that most of us just dream about. We are very proud of Angela for being as brave as she was and putting herself out there the way she did. With an original desire to show people how to have fun with their dog…I believe she certainly made that impact on many.”

Indeed she did. In her CGT blog, Angela wrote “Eight months ago Rally and I waited in a hallway in the Rogers Centre for our turn to showcase our talent. I never thought that hallway would lead to several appearances on national TV and a huge fan base of Rally supporters from across Canada. This hit me minutes before the show. As the cameras were taping the audience, I gasped at the number of ‘Rally’ signs and the people cheering for him, many of whom I didn’t know. I had to turn away to find a makeup person to wipe my tears!”

I caught up with Angela recently to ask her more about this fun experience.

How did your act come to be? 
I was looking for an outlet for Rally’s energy. I saw some videos of canine freestyle disc and thought it would be something fun to try!

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Special Achiever Jay Harris Helps Chase Away K9 Cancer

By Linda Cole

Canine cancer is a hard topic for me to write about. It has touched my canine family several times over the years. However, it’s important to shed light on the disease to help dog owners understand how early detection can make a difference in a dog’s survival. Jay Harris, a CANIDAE Special Achiever, is using the sport of dock diving to promote cancer awareness and to raise money for Chase Away K9 Cancer, an organization trying to find a cure for canine cancer. If you’re into dock diving, you’ve heard of Jay Harris and his eight year old yellow Lab, Sir Harley, who is ranked 11th in the world as a Veteran. I had a chance to speak with Jay to find out more about both of his passions.

Chase Away K9 Cancer was founded in 2006 by Cera Reusser after losing her black Lab, Chase, to cancer. Chase was full of life and excelled at dock diving with an Elite Jumper status in Big Air and NW Challenge Championship in 2005 and had a designation of AKC Master. One day, Cera found a lump under Chase’s chin. It was nasal carcinoma. Chase was just shy of her seventh birthday when she died. This grassroots organization raises money for grants to fund cancer research. So far, they’ve raised over $530,000.00 and funded twelve cancer studies with more studies planned for later this year. They also aim to give support, understanding, comfort and guidance to dog owners.

Detecting canine cancer early can make a difference in the prognosis and treatment. Chase Away recommends a nose to tail body check on the 14th of each month. Start at the head and look in their ears, eyes and inside the mouth, checking for tumors. Feel and look over your dog’s entire body, searching for lumps or bumps. Know where to find the dog’s lymph glands and how they feel. If you notice any changes, call your vet. Weight loss should be a red flag.

Jay brings awareness to this disease through his love of dock diving and helps raise money throughout the season for canine cancer. This year, one of Jay’s fundraising events, the 2012 Sir Harley Veterans Tour Chase Away K9 Cancer kicks off the season in honor of his Lab, Sir Harley, who became a Veteran Competitor in DockDogs. Donations will be accepted all year and a check will be presented to Chase Away at the World Championships at Dubuque, Iowa in November. “To date, we are over $3,000 and the jumping season is only getting started.” Money is raised for Chase Away at all regional (club) events. If you attend an event, look for a dog wearing a K9 vest walking around in the crowd and if you are able to help, please donate.

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Jacqueline Rennebohm and Her Seeing Eye Dog Dexter

By Linda Cole

Jacqueline Rennebohm was diagnosed with Cone-Rod Dystrophy, a degenerative eye disease, when she was nine years old. However, she hasn’t let a little thing like failing eyesight stop her from pursuing her dreams. I had a chance to speak with Jacqueline via Skype and I’m proud to introduce to you an energetic and positive young lady and her German Shepherd seeing eye dog, Dexter. They are the newest Special Achiever team sponsored by CANIDAE.

Jacqueline attends the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, majoring in environmental health. On top of her studies, she’s also a 100 and 200 meter sprinter in track and field, training to hopefully nab a spot on Team Canada and represent her country in London, England at the 2012 Paralympic games in September. A human guide runs beside her when she’s on the track and guides her. Dexter sits on the sidelines and roots her on. His job is to aid Jacqueline off the track.

Dexter received his training at Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation in Bloomfield, Connecticut, and Jacqueline was matched with him last August. His training began two years earlier at the age of eight weeks when he was placed with a volunteer foster family for a year and a half. He was socialized and taught basic skills. The next six to eight months was when he learned how to be a guide dog. Dexter’s training required two years, and Jacqueline had to learn the basics of working with Dexter in just two short weeks. Guide dogs can take some time to bond with their owner, but Dexter and Jacqueline hit it off right from the start. You can hear the love and respect she has for Dexter when she talks about him.

Jacqueline has been feeding Dexter CANIDAE All Life Stages and has been impressed with the results. “The food works for him so well. He has the right amount of energy and his coat is so soft. We were at a function last night and there were other guide dogs there, all German Shepherds, and a couple of the owners asked, ‘What are you giving your dog? His coat is so soft.’ They are all blind, and they’re feeling the dogs and they started to notice the difference; they could tell Dexter’s coat was the nicest. It is, and I’m spreading the news about CANIDAE because he’s so chipper and looks really healthy and lean. I can truly say he’s being fueled properly and is able to keep up with my pace with ease, so he’s on the right food, for sure.”

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Special Achiever: Russ Fox and His Schutzhund Dog Artus

By Linda Cole

The word Schutzhund is German and means “protection dog.” Schutzhund is a very demanding canine sport for working dogs, to test their physical and mental abilities in a competition that measures tracking, obedience and protection. Although any dog breed can compete, the sport was developed for the German Shepherd as a way of showing off the dog’s intelligence, willingness to work, endurance, body structure, tracking ability, courage and ability to follow commands. It’s a sport that tests the dog and his handler. CANIDAE is proud to sponsor Russ Fox and his dog Artus who qualified for a spot on this year’s Team Canada and recently returned from the World Championships held in Kiev, Ukraine. I had a chance to talk with him about this exciting sport.

Russ and Artus live in Ontario, Canada. Russ is the K9 trainer for a large municipal police service outside of Toronto. He works with 12 service dogs which has helped him develop as a handler and trainer for his own sporting dogs. “Every dog is different in how he/she reacts to training. Where some dogs react well to food or toys in training, others will work for genuine praise from its handler.”

Russ was drawn to the sport of Schutzhund because of the precision needed in training a dog in all aspects of the sport in tracking, obedience and protection, and he wanted to learn how to develop that in his working dogs. “When selecting a sport dog, we look for many qualities, similar to selecting a police dog. We evaluate the dog’s various drives – food, toy, fight and play – all of these and more helps us train the dog to excel in the sport. We want a well-balanced dog that is a confident social animal with high drives and heart to do the work.”

Russ prefers to feed Artus CANIDAE All Life Stages formula dog food. “Schutzhund is a very demanding sport on the dogs both physically and mentally. Like any athlete, nutrition plays a critical role for these dogs to succeed. With CANIDAE, I know my dog is getting quality nutrition so that I will get the best performance from him. All Life Stages has met the demands that Artus goes through during training. I have also used the pureSEA Salmon formula for another sport dog, and she is doing extremely well on it.”

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Meet Disc Dog Champ Kirby McIlveen

By Julia Williams

It is my pleasure to introduce you to 17-year-old Kirby McIlveen, a CANIDAE Special Achiever. Kirby and her talented team of canine athletes compete in Disc Dog competitions across the United States. They not only compete, they excel, as evidenced by the many impressive records they hold. With her dog Torch, a McNab, Kirby became the first female and youngest ever at 17 years old to win the 2011 Skyhoundz World Championships!

CANIDAE is proud to sponsor Kirby and her dogs through its Special Achievers program. CANIDAE accepts only the very best canine athletes for sponsorship, and Kirby and her “Disc Dogs” are a perfect example of how premium dog food can contribute to athletic excellence. Kirby’s five dogs all eat CANIDAE food, naturally, and their good health and ability to excel at their sport helps promote the many benefits of a premium quality holistic pet food.

How old were you when you began competing in Disc Dog?

I started training and competing in disc dog competitions when I was 12 years old. When I was 13, I started freestyle with my Border Collie, Sketch.

How did you get started? What inspired you to try the sport?

I initially had a Shih Tzu, Lucky, who liked to play agility. I wanted to get another dog for agility, and decided to get a Border Collie. Sketch came into my life when I was 10 years old. He had a lot of energy, as most Border Collies do, so we needed another activity for him. We joined a disc dog class at an agility school. From there, we found out about the Disc Dog world and competitions.

How many dogs do you compete with?
I compete with five dogs, all powered by CANIDAE. Sketch, Flash, and Torch compete at a top level, while Blitz and Spirit are still “in training.”

Sketch – 7 year old Border Collie; Flash – 4 year old McNab; Torch – 1.5 year old McNab; Blitz – 4 year old Border Collie; Spirit – 1.5 year old Terrier Mix

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