Big dogs. Small dogs. Fluffy dogs. Funny dogs. Dogs with bandanas and dogs who go bananas. Galt’s furriest friends gathered at the Monterey Dog Park on Lake Park Avenue on Saturday for a casual contest to find the best dogs around.
Thirteen entrants tried their paws in six categories, including Best Costume, Owner Look-Alike, Cutest, Best Personality, Special Talent, Obedience, and Best in Show.
“They’re just fun categories. It’s all to get the dogs outside,” said organizer Liz Aguire.
Volunteers from the Galt Kiwanis Club and Key Club members from Liberty Ranch and Valley high schools registered each contestant and served a free hot dog lunch.
The tallest competitors were Tinkerbell and Peter Pan, a pair of black Great Danes owned by Nancy and Les Hart.
“We’ve actually got a small backyard,” said Nancy Hart while Tink and Peter ran around and over other dogs in the park. “This is their backyard. They come here almost every day.”
When they aren’t out enjoying the dog park and new friends, both dogs travel cross-country with their owners in a trailer.
Zeke, an Australian shepherd, wasn’t interested in playing. He wanted to work. His owner, Jim Sawyer, says the dog likes to herd goats and cattle, and was even trying to herd the other dogs. It worked, too. The animals were clustered in a sudden circle before they realized what happened. Zeke ran back to stand by Sawyer, as his job was done.
“We’ve been coming for four or five years,” said Sawyer, of Galt. “He’s won first place nearly every time in some category.”
One dog owner was thoroughly enjoying her two border collies.
“When they look at you, it’s total unconditional love,” said Jacquie Hill of Galt. “You can see it in their eyes. Just complete trust.”
Bella, a glossy brown collie, and Cowboy, a black and white, were helping one another through the agility course.
The dogs were killing time between the focus of each contest and the announcement of winners. Costumes and leashes were off while the dogs introduced themselves to new furry friends.
Finally, the judges called out the winners. Third-place winners earned a ribbon and $5, second place got $10 and a ribbon, and first-place competitors earned $20 and a ribbon.
Tinkerbell the Great Dane took first in the Costume division for her tutu getup.
Zeke won the Owner Look-Alike contest, sharing the same focused and hardworking expression as his owner, Sawyer.
Bella, the sleek brown collie, won the Cutest category and in Obedience.
A shepherd mix named Rebel took home a prize for Best Personality. And Coco the Boston terrier won for Talent.
The owner that took home the most awards was Hill, with her dogs taking three prizes each, along with Bella earning Best in Show.
“It’s a border collie thing,” she said with a grin.
Contact reporter Sara Jane Pohlman at firstname.lastname@example.org.