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Calling All Pups: Stand Up for Warriors
Prop your pup on your paddleboard and race for fun, glory, prizes and to support a worthy canine cause at the first annual Pups & Sups event July 30 on St. Augustine Beach.
Humans and their pets will compete to see who can ride the biggest wave, take the longest ride, cruise in highest style, and take the best wipe-out– among other categories– in this family-friendly competition. Proceeds will benefit K9s for Warriors — a Ponte Vedra non-profit dedicated to supplying combat veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan with service dogs that ease their adjustment into civilian life.
Paw-ticipants will be divided into weight divisions: large dogs (51 lbs. and up); medium dogs (21 -50 lbs.); and small dogs (20 lbs. and under). They will be launched by their owner/handler, with winners in each weight division advancing to the finals.
Registration is $40. Check-in time will be 7:30 a.m. at 860 A1A Beach Boulevard– future site of the Guy Harvey Outpost Resort, St. Augustine Beach. Competition will begin promptly at 8:30 a.m.
Tahoma Guiry says it should be a fun time for both people and dogs. Guiry–chief marketing officer and education director of K9s for Warriors– says she and her three kids aged 11-18 really enjoy paddleboarding with their 1 1/2-year old Labradoodle Nash. The family adopted Nash last year after he washed out of the organization’s rigorous training program for service dogs –(“He got guarded with his toys, so I took him home,” Guiry explained.) Today Nash fits right in with the Guirys and their other dog and enjoys SUP-ing on local lakes.
“He just chills out and goes along for the ride,” Guiry said. “He loves the water and loves being with people and our family.”
Since launching in 2011, K9s for Warriors has matched 323 military veterans with service dogs– mostly pets from shelters, other rescue organizations, and a few breeders. The dogs perform a multitude of tasks for their warriors who may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, brain injury and other conditions. The dogs help them avoid panic attacks, wake them from night terrors, enhance their physical mobility, and ease their anxiety in social situations.
U.S. Army veteran Matt Berg of St. Augustine was paired with his Labrador-mix service dog Sunny last year. At 98 pounds, Sunny is too big to ride Berg’s surfboard with him, but Berg says “he’s a good dog….always there….a good companion.”
more information and to sign up for Pups & Sups, go to http://bit.ly/2tKyPA3.