Friday, Dec. 17, 2010 | 9:46 a.m.
Juice is a 2-year-old border collie who loves to swim. In fact, he loves the water so much it almost killed him.
Last summer, Kyle Canyon resident Stephanie Malone took her dock-diving competition dog to a barbecue party. Juice spent a little too much time playing in the pool and had to be taken to the veterinarian and treated for water toxicity.
“He likes being in the water that much,” said Malone, 25. “Now I have to watch him.”
Despite the near-death experience, Juice still can’t seem to get enough pool time. On New Year's Day, Malone and Juice will be featured on the Natural Balance Pet Foods float in the Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif.
Juice beat out hundreds of dogs across the country in a November competition to become one of 12 dogs on the float that will be showcasing skim boarding and dock diving, a canine agility sport in which dogs leap into a 40-foot-long pool to compete for the farthest jumping distance.
For the duration of the three-hour parade, Juice will don a special canine wet suit and rotate with five other dock-diving dogs to jump into a 20-foot-long heated pool on the 35-ton float, which has been certified by Guinness World Records as the world’s heaviest.
Malone and Juice have been training extensively for this “opportunity of a lifetime,” she said.
“I’m super excited. I can’t wait,” Malone said. “It’ll be so much fun, anytime my dog gets to go with me to something like this.”
Juice, a 34-pound border collie, has been practicing for a moment like this since Malone first took him to a pool when he was 8 weeks old. Juice and Malone are part of the Las Vegas DockDogs Club, which trains at Sit Means Sit, 1235 Eldorado Lane.
“It takes a little bit of training, time and confidence,” Malone said of the sport. “The more confidence he has, the farther he jumps.”
Juice’s dock-diving record is 22 feet, 4 inches, which is above the average of 20 feet. The world record distance in the event is 28 feet, 10 inches.
“I’m really glad I started his training so young,” Malone said. “It’s leading to opportunities like this.”
One might think it takes hours of training each day to teach a dog to jump off a 2-foot-high ledge into a pool. But for Malone, who has been training horses throughout her life and won several rodeo queen competitions, working with Juice on the canine sport came naturally.
“I find training quite boring,” she said. “I like playing with him, teaching him tricks five minutes here and there. I’m not out there every day for an hour training him. The end result is that it’s so much more fun.”
The pair will travel to Pasadena on Dec. 26 to prepare for the parade. They will also be featured on a reality television show about the making of the world’s heaviest float.
The Natural Balance Pet Foods float will feature more than 4,000 gallons of water and is heavier than a 747 airplane.
“I’ve never been to the Rose Parade. It’ll be an amazing experience,” Malone said. “I love animals. It’s so much fun.”