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Marvelous Mutts fly and float at the Walworth County Fair

By Catherine W. Idzerda
September 3, 2015

ELKHORN—Frisbees are delicious.

This is so obvious it almost doesn't need mentioning.

On Wednesday, several champion Frisbee connoisseurs were at the Walworth County Fair, impressing crowds with their skills on land, water and in the air as part of the Marvelous Mutts, a Canine Spectacular.

The mutts ran through agility courses, leaped off a dock into a pool and caught—and gnawed on—Frisbees.

The best part of the show?

Almost all the dogs are mutts, mixed breed dogs adopted at animal shelters.

Take Shazam, a dog that was at a shelter in Jefferson City, Missouri.

“She was just a little brown dog that people overlooked,” said Kara Gilmore, co-owner of Marvelous Mutts and a trainer. “But she had a heart of gold.”

After seeing the Marvelous Mutts show, a humane society sent Gilmore a video of Shazam chasing a ball in the shelter yard.

“We're looking for dogs who like toys more than anything,” said Gilmore..

Often, it's herding dogs such as border collies and cattle dogs who like toys best.

But there was Shazam, a little brown dog that took astonishing leaps into the air just for the fun of it—and for the opportunity to catch one of those delicious flying discs.

Once caught, she would give it several thoughtful gnaws before releasing it.

Bam-Ba-Lam was adopted when she 5 years old and is a shining example that old dogs can be taught new tricks, Gilmore said.

The small black Labrador mix entered the ring, immediately headed for the bleachers and looked ready to make friends with everybody.

“She going to look for some nachos, first,” Gilmore said.

After being called to order, Bam-Ba-Lam ran through the obstacle course, deliriously happy about her career choice.

Most of the herding dogs in the show came from breed rescue groups. Mucho, a border collie, was surrendered because she had trouble with “over-herding,” Gilmore said.

Apparently, in Mucho's mind, herding is a nonstop activity. What else would you want to do with your time?

Catching Frisbees and running obstacle races is a good second, apparently.

The show's finale included dogs flying off a dock into a huge pool of cool water. Again, the dogs looked like they'd be willing to play in the water all day.

If the best part of the show was the dogs status as mutts, the second-best part was their lives outside the show ring.

When they're not performing, the dogs are the owner's pets.

“They live in our houses, they sleep in our beds,” Gilmore said.