For the love of dogs
The beloved K-9 Uphill returned to Buttermilk Mountain on Saturday, April 7, 2007. It marked the 12th annual event (84th in dog years) with approximately 200 dogs and hikers. Hosted by Erik Skarvan and Sun Dog Athletics, the K-9 race raised funds for the new Aspen/Pitkin County Animal Shelter and Valley Dog Rescue.
Hikers and canines paired up as teams of two for the trek to the top. “It’s a lot like Mount Everest for the little guys,” said Skarvan of the 2,000-vertical-foot climb from the base to the summit.Just after 10 a.m., the teams were off in hot pursuit of an adventure. Most dogs were on leashes with some even tethered to their human counterpart’s waist. They trudged through the slush with occasional sniffing stops and bathroom breaks.
The huskies charged in the front, setting the pace for the rest of the pack. For those who didn’t have a dog of their own, the Animal Shelter and Valley Dog Rescue provided “demo dogs” for the day, many of whom placed pretty high in the race rankings.”Allez, Allez,” a Frenchman exclaimed the entire time in an effort to persuade his pooch to carry on quickly.
A few pups who were too tired to make the push to the top sought solace in the comfort of their owners’ coats, peeking out on occasion.
Despite the wide variety of breeds, there didn’t appear to be any type of race discrimination. Puggles played with Jack Russels, corgies climbed alongside Airedales, chows hiked in stride with Chesapeake Bay retrievers. From designer dogs to pound puppies, all had a fine time assimilating with one another.Following the race was a barbecue back at the base. Hungry hikers feasted upon hot dogs and chips while dogs devoured bones and sipped from water basins.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled by the turn out today,” said Skarvan at the finish line. “The weather, the conditions, the scene – it’s all been great.”If you would like to walk a shelter dog, call 544-0206, visit http://www.dogsaspen.com or stop by the first-rate facility at 101 Animal Shelter Road just west of the ABC. These lovable animals are always up for a spin around the shelter’s hiking path or even to spend the day on a field trip with a new friend.
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U.S. Forest Service ready to make happy campers with the opening of facilities in the Aspen-Sopris Ranger District.