Wag ‘n’ Walk helps develop doggy skills

For Koda, a rat terrier/chihuahua mix, Sunday’s WAIF Wag ’n’ Walk festival at Greenbank Farm was more about coming out of his shell than getting in his smells.

Sure, Koda sniffed like the best of them, but when he got to the event, he was uncertain around the festival’s canine camaraderie.

For example, when Koda arrived at the hot-dog pools — three wading pools filled with water and wieners — he approached a pool, sniffed the meat, then backed up again. Koda performed this dance several times before he mustered up enough courage to take his first bite.

To complicate matters, a horde of huskies gallivanted into the pools, claiming the hotdogs as their own. But in the end, Koda put his fear to rest and got into the thick of things.

Melissa and Heidi Darling rescued Koda a while back and brought him to the festival to help him conquer his fears.

“Once we get him introduced slowly, then something like this becomes so great for him,” Melissa Darling said. “It’s just a huge difference…a lot less barking and a lot more wagging.”

Wag ’n’ Walk featured dozens of vendors that ranged from a Red Cross booth espousing proper pet emergency care to tents offering handmade collars and doggie beds. There were also events, like a safari dress-up contest and an agility competition.

There is usually a 5k walk and a 1k walk, but it was postponed until next year to optimize sign-ups, according to the WAIF website.

And of course there were doggy treats of pretty much every type imaginable. One stand even had puppy Oreos for a four-legged ones only.

Over at the agility course, Rikki the Australian Shepherd and his trainer Peggi Lavier watched as Patty Stallone and the experienced Reba ran the course before them.

Reba whizzed through the tube, flew over the jumps and weaved around the poles like an old pro.

Rikki might have been nervous because it was his first public run and he was up next, but he didn’t let it show.

When the announcer said he and Peggy could run the course, he conquered every obstacle with an effort of concentration. His run wasn’t fluid, but it was determined. And by the end, Rikki could strut with pride.

“He did good, he was a little distracted, but that’s OK, that’s why we’re here,” Lavier said. “He’s young, and hasn’t been out much in this big of a crowd, so I was pleased.”

Veteran agility runners, Patty Stallone and Reba, run the WAIF Wag ‘n’ Walk’s central agility course Sunday at Greenbank Farm. Photo by Daniel Warn/Whidbey News-Times

Rikki the Australian Shepherd and his trainer Peggi Lavier run the agility course at a public event for the first time. Rikki did well, even if he was a bit distracted by the crowd. Photo by Daniel Warn/ Whidbey News-Times

More in Life

Island Transit offering guided tours

Get on board for whales, woods, wine and more

Plant sales a blooming bounty for garden clubs

It’s raining plant sales this month as community garden clubs kick-off growing… Continue reading

Holland Happening going global

Chamber celebrates many cultures of Oak Harbor

Cloudstone: Where art grows in earth

Sculptors to honor Hank Nelson’s visionary work

Whodunit revealed at Whidbey Playhouse

Cast cleverly conceals murderer in Agatha Christie’s ‘The Hollow”

Trading her keyboard for kale: A rock farmer’s tale

Farmers have little time for chit-chat. If it’s not planting time, it’s… Continue reading

Quirky collection framed in ‘Found Objects’

Glass artist Richard Marquis reveals ‘stuff’

Kids of many kinds at North Whidbey Farm

Goat farm tour set for April 15, 16

ISLAND UNSEEN: Just say no to OSPI’s superfluous science assessment for class of 2019 students

This spring, about 83,000 11th-grade students in Washington will become the first… Continue reading

Coupeville United Methodist Church as it stands today, still uses the building constructed in 1894. The church has since been added to and renovated.
Methodist church celebrates 165 years of worship

This weekend, Whidbey Island’s oldest church and one of the oldest in… Continue reading

SVC student named to all-Washington Academic Team

Christopher Leyva Vera admits he procrastinated while attending Coupeville High School and… Continue reading

Bringing stories to life

Students at Oak Harbor Christian School brought stories to life recently at… Continue reading