Greatest dog day ever |

Greatest dog day ever

Joel Stonington

There were more people saying “sit,” “down,” and “good dog” all in one place Saturday at Buttermilk than at any other time of year. And the hundreds of doggies were running around sniffing each other, barking, chasing balls, licking things and enjoying the sunshine.Yes, another successful Canine Uphill (the 11th annual) at Buttermilk.Emmy, Wren, Oliver and Grace were there with their owner, Mary Kobey. The four poodles each had on a frilly collar. “It’s probably very silly,” Kobey said, “but we thought it would be fun. They’re a handful, but poodles are smart, easy dogs.”Indeed, Emmy, Wren, Oliver and Grace were not barking their heads off like some of the dogs there. They were just chilling out, sniffing interesting things and looking stylish.For some, it was just an average dog day, but a major idea behind the uphill is to spread consciousness about abandoned dogs.”We raise a substantial amount of money for dog food and that sort of thing [for shelters in the area],” said one of the organizers of the event, Greg Gissler. “Dogs get abandoned in bad situations. This is about taking care of animals in the valley.”Hence, the Animal Rescue Foundation brought 10 or so dogs to be walked and hopefully adopted, Valley Dog Rescue brought another 10, and some people drove over to the Aspen Animal Shelter to pick up a dog for the day. Leila, from the Aspen Animal Shelter, got to walk with Kerek Swanson of Blue Lake. Before the race, Leila, a small terrier/lab mix, was sitting on Swanson’s lap looking around, ears perked, happy as a clam. “It’s a way I can have a dog without having one,” said Swanson, who mentioned he doesn’t have the ability to adopt a dog right now, “plus, it gets him out of the kennel for a day.”Courtney Sorrell, of Aspen, lucked out and ended up with Reno from the Animal Rescue Foundation. Reno was the winner of last year’s event.”I told him, ‘I’m not racing, I’m walking,'” said Sorrell, to somewhat ashamed and hurt looks from Reno.Yeah, just like the people, some of the dogs there had that competitive spirit and some just didn’t. All the competitive types gathered up front for the beginning of the race, while the recreationals stayed behind. For a few minutes, while everyone was standing there, dog barks filled the air and leashes were pulled tight. Then the race began, and 20 seconds later the bottom of Buttermilk was silent. Looking up, all that could be seen were hiking people and wagging tails. The race was followed by a raffle and barbecue.”With hot dogs,” Gissler said, “of course.”Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is

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