TOP DOG – The Winners Profiled

The TOP DOG Contest hosted the month of February on the Dirt Bag Paddlers was a total success. We were amazed at how many great puppy photos were posted to our page by paddlers from all over the US and Canada. We were able to share stories of some great river dogs, especially Dojie and Crawdad, and highlight four rescues working to provide help and homes to our four legged friends.
We then selected one winner each Friday to receive a DBP Doggy Bandana and a stack of stickers from us and our friends. Ruffwear was gracious to award great prizes to the four weekly winners we selected, all of whom faced off on the last day of the month to vie for some great prizes. We also were glad to send $30 donations to their favorite shelters in the pup’s honor to help with food, vet bills, utilities or whatever. These great folks often operate on shoestring budgets, and we are all about spreading the word as well as some much needed cash! We are pleased to introduce the winners and the rescues they selected! 

Our WEEK Three Winner was Duley and best buddy Dave Kersey, who won stickers from Ruffwear after the vote. “Everyone loves Duley,” Dave told us, “so it’s fun sharing his love and fun in life.  Most paddlers I’ve met have known Duley for a while, so when they see him they are like ‘oh you’re the guy who owns him’…” Duley (‘dually’), a Harpers Ferry Area Dirtbag Doggie, “was named after my first cattle dog who didn’t get a chance to live a full life due to a horrible set of circumstances.  They say that the breed bonds very closely with a specific person.  His is so strong that I find myself almost as equally bonded in return with him.  He’s with me everywhere where possible in life and has helped me heal quite extensively from post deployment issues. Dogs are amazing friends and we owe it to them to try and make every day of their short time with us, full of love and good times.” So true, Dave!
After being selected as a weekly winner, Dave sent us this heartfelt message. He is a true winner! “Thank you guys for having this contest. Our little furry friends need lots of love. I think it’s really top notch that you donate to a rescue/shelter. The Australian Cattle Dog Rescue Asdociation would be mine and Duley’s choice. I’ve been meaning to donate to them; its been a couple years (last one was crowd sourced medical fund for an  abused dog they were trying to give a second chance at life to).  So yeah, I’ll match ya.” This meant A LOT to us. The true spirit of TOP DOG fulfilled! 

Dave also won a hand-made leather biscuit patch crafted by Taz Riggs for his dog Crawdad. Taz had made two, and in honor of HIS Top Dog ‘Dad, he presented them to the last place and the first place vote getters. Dave got first dibs. 

WEEK Two winner Ms. Bear and her best friend Tom Carvajal. We reached out to Tom but didn’t hear back from him for a few days… When he did respond we laughed at the response: “Sorry about that, been dirt bagging it up on the road, traveling from Salt Lake City utah to the coast of Cali…  via Subaru Wagon, ever so slowly.” RIGHT ON BRO – good living! We asked Tom to tell us a bit about his Top Dog. “Ms. Bear is a Class V doggy paddler, pictured rocking out on the Hudson River in the Adirondacks on an overnight trip. Please donate to these guys,
Homes for Orphaned Pets Exist.” Gladly, guys! Tom and Ms. Bear scored the Hydro Plane float toy from Ruffwear for entering. 

Coming in second place in the vote was WEEK Four Top Dog Buddy Nuk-Nuk and his guy Tyler Kloss. Tyler has a heart warming story of how he and Buddy came to be paddling partners. “Buddy is a pure bred Siberian Husky who was born on October 26, 2009. He was given the name Diesel the Destroyer by his first owner. He then bounced from home to home and renamed Demon. After escaping his caretakers’ apartment (again), he ran into traffic and was hit by a truck. Luckily, the driver behind has a good heart and had been considering fostering a dog for Fur-ever Loved. He was taken immediately to a vet and after being treated the owners were located. “Yeah, we don’t want him anymore”. He was then introduced to his foster home for yet another relocation. We were able to take him for a “trial run” to see how he would do at our favorite places and how he would get along with our other rescue, Sara, a pointer/lab mix. He was great in a car, even better in a boat, and loves camping. We rescued him thru Fur-ever Loved in April, 2013. and do that’s our choice for the DBP donation. 
“He taught me that few things on earth give you a better feeling than a soaked husky in your canoe. He’s a g’boy. High maintenance, but he’s my Buddy.”
Tyler doesn’t get Buddy out on whitewater quite as much as the other pups, but he sure was stoked to win the aptly named Dirtbag Carseat cover from Ruffwear. “There’s not a lot of whitewater near us, but we are dirt bags and paddlers. We are JRR – Juniata River Raiders (our pirate shock troops) and CACKC. HQ is on the Conodoguinet Creek in Carlisle, PA. Thanks again. Feel free to search for the group “CACKC- Cumberland Area Canoe and Kayak Club”. Ask to join and I’ll gladly accept. I enjoy dirtbags, you may enjoy a glimpse at our shenanigans too.”
The overall winner of the TOP DOG CONTEST was WEEK One winner Kassi “Z Sand Dog” and Tye Dudley. “She’s a 7yr old Pitbull Staffordshire terrier who’s been riding Class V since she was a puppy, rocking the same CFD since day one.” Therefore it was most fitting that Kassi won the new Ruffwear K-9 Float Coat! 
Kassi has an AMAZING dirtbag life story, which we will be featuring in a few weeks. You will love this pup’s tail, erm, tale, so we won’t give it away much… Upon finding out that we were interested in writing about Kassi at length, Tye answered, “Awesome! Thank you so much guys. I’m really stoked that Kassi is going to get her story told. It means a lot guys.” 
Tye told us a bit about Kassi for this article. “Since Kassi has been   a little pup she has never needed a leash and she loves to sit on my foot and stay right by my side. And when she is at the put-in of a river she has never been on before, she knows she’s going down the river. She doesn’t know what’s on the river, but that doesn’t matter – she is a seasoned vet and she is going!”
Kassi selected Shaw Pit Bull Rescue, Inc.
as the recipient of the $30. They are the only Pitbull rescue in the state of Mississippi, where Kassi and Tye are wintering until the rivers start to flow and the raft guiding season begins anew. Please check them out.
Tye sent these pics, highlighting the many top rank rivers Kassi has high-sided in her long dirtbag career. “The 1st pic is the Royal Gorge, with Kassi on a commercial trip. 2nd pic is Kassi in a canoe on a lake in Mississippi. 3rd and 4th is Frank Bells on the French Broad. Pic 5 is Jaws on the Nolichucky. Pics 6 and 7 are at the dam at the Ocoee, pic 8 is Kassi last fall in WV. Pic 9 is kassi after her first run down the Numbers of the Arkansas River, and pic 10 is Kassi at Three Sisters Beach on the Taylor, both in Colorado. Pic 11 is  Kas and I at Big Pillow on the French Broad. Pic 12 is Kassi on the Lower New. Pic 13 is the only pic of Kassi at the put in for the Upper Yough. Pic 14 is Kassi on the Nolichucky. Pics 15-18 are Kassi postage stamping the rock in the mud room of the Royal Gorge and swimming pics 19-25 are Kassi running Double Trouble on the Ocoee. Pic 26 is Kassi at Pinball Island with Pinball Rapid in the background, French Broad River. Pic 27 is Kassi at the top of Sledge Hammer Rapid, pic 28 is Sunshine, both on the Royal Gorge. Pic 29 is kassi swimming on the Royal Gorge. Pic 30 is me, Kas and my tall bike riding aound on the gorge rim, and 31 is the Dirtbag Doggie Bandana.”

We are stoked to be partnering with the good folks at Ruffwear Performance Dog Gear! DBP only reps high quality gear, and from personal experience these guys make THE BEST PFD for your pup! My dogs have one! Much thanks is in order to them for helping us to make this contest a reality. 
Hyping the rescues was the best part of the contest, and most rewarding part by far. We love our doggies and we’ve rescued four legged friends before, and believe very strongly in being good neighbors in the community. 
The idea behind TOP DOG Month and the ensuing contest was Dojie the Rescue Dog, and the telling of her tale. Dojie was best friends with a true Dirtbag rubber pusher named Marlin who is a friend to us. Dojie lived an incredible life both on and off The River, but sadly passed away at the end of January from illness after leading a good long life with a loving friend. We dedicated February and TOP DOG to this true Dirtbag Doggy! Gone Never Forgotten… Her life story was featured in the February Spotlight series, and we encourage you to read it. 
Thanks again to all who participated and helped celebrate our furry friends! The contest is over, but their love for us remains. Go pet your pups for DBP, because all of us are winners in the end. 
Some links: 
And their amazing Facebook page
Dojie’s Facebook page
Dojie’s Law Facebook page

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