Walter, a Jack Russell terrier and border collie mix, leaped through the air and clenched his jaws around a plastic Frisbee.
“Beautiful catch,” came a voice from the loudspeaker as Walter trotted back to his owner over a small turf arena surrounded by packed bleachers at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center in Spokane Valley.
“Two points,” the announcer said as the audience applauded. “Walter’s always a crowd-pleaser.”
Disc Dogs was just one event showcased at the second annual Northwest Pet Expo on Saturday. More than 3,500 people, including exhibitors, flooded the fairgrounds to celebrate, advertise and showcase all things pets, including a “Smooch booth” and “Kitty City.”
It wasn’t just a dog event – llamas, calves, kittens, turtles and snakes all made appearances, and some were looking for a new home.
“Hundreds of animals are up for adoption,” said Suzie Dunn, event organizer for KXLY Radio, host of the expo.
Dunn said this year’s Pet Expo saw a 50 percent increase in size, including the Disc Dogs competition.
Disc Dogs was demonstrated on a smaller-scale field on Saturday inside one of the expo’s buildings, but the competitions are typically held on large fields around Spokane, where dogs can sprint up to 50 yards to catch the disc.
“This is an excellent way to get others involved,” said Rodney Jameson, coordinator of the local Disc Dogs competitions. “Next year I want to see if we can do a real event in the grass.”
Saturday’s competition featured 14 dogs from breeds such as Australian shepherds, golden retrievers and whippets.
“There’s everything,” Jameson said. “That’s what makes it so fun.”
Disc Dogs is a 60-second timed Frisbee catching competition held on a field with varying zones – the further away the zone, the more points. If the dog catches the Frisbee while jumping, it’s an extra half point.
Walter’s owner, Michael Paul, said Walter has won five championships out of “many, many tournaments” for Disc Dogs.
“He started catching Frisbees at 3 months old,” he said. “If it will leave your hand, he will chase it.”
Kami Kurg stood in the crowd and clapped as she watched the dogs leap for the Frisbees.
“I love it,” she said.
Kurg has an Australian shepherd border collie mix, Rambo, that she said would have trouble letting go of the Frisbee if he were to compete in Disc Dogs.
“Every time I give him a Frisbee, he destroys it,” she said.
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