Some dogs can jump … Otis can fly.
The Stapleton pooch became a world champion in the 2013 DockDogs competition.
The annual aquatics challenge attracts thousands of canine competitors from around the world, and Otis is one of about 200 in his size of dogs age 8 and older.
“He’s part of the old-man division,” said owner Erika Jones. “But he beat out 40 dogs and made it through two qualifier rounds at the national competition.”
The championship event was held in Iowa last November.
“This is my third time attending, but the first time winning,” Erika said.
Otis won in the Big Air division, which is the long jump for dogs.
“His personal best is 25 feet,” Erika said. “But he won this year with 22 feet, 11 inches.”
She wasn’t ready for the winning moment.
“I was just quiet – I was in shock,” Erika said. “Otis kept getting better and better … and he was ranked fourth in the world before he competed this year.”
The road to this year’s challenge began in 2010, when Erika and Otis saw the DockDogs competition on ESPN.
“I thought ‘my dog swims – he could probably do that,’” she said. “We’ve been pretty much hooked since then.”
Otis also competes in DockDogs’ vertical jump, speed trial and Iron Dog. And he’s one of the top challengers in all three.
“What makes a good DockDog is certainly the ability to swim and a love of the water,” Erika said. “But we use a competition toy to get him to jump higher, faster and farther.”
Erika adopted Otis and his brother, Kirby, as puppies.
“We joke that Otis is a fifth-generation farm dog. He’s an “O” dog. His mom was rescued from a Steamboat farm, and Kirby’s a lab mix from Safe Harbor Lab Rescue,” she said.
Both were October runner-ups in the 2014 Dogs of Stapleton calendar.
Kirby is also a DockDogs favorite.
“Kirby competes. He is very good and jumps in the 19- to 20-foot range, but Otis is just such a superstar,” Erika said. Otis even has his own Facebook page.
“The championship was a huge, special moment for Otis – I couldn’t be prouder,” she said.