Tribune-Courier features editor
Clay and Tracey McElya have started stirring water and plenty of it. The McElya’s are the owner’s of Wren’s Pet Lodge on Moors Camp Hwy in Draffenville and they are sticking to their motto of being “More than just a kennel!” Recently the lodge opened a free fenced-in dog park as well as a retail store inside. Today, they will open their twenty-seven-foot portable dog pool and dock. The pool is mainly used to host Ultimate Air Dogs competitions but will be set up for all dogs to swim in until the end of the month. Clay will then be transporting the pool to St. Louis for a competition.
The Ultimate Air Dogs is a sport that was started by former Detroit Tigers Pitcher, Milt Wilcox and his son, Brian. The pools connect to a forty-foot dock for dogs to participate in dock jumping. The lengthy amount of space gives the dogs enough room to gain speed while running so that they are able to dart out as far as they can go into the pool.
“It’s a competition, but it’s not. You’re competing against yourself and working to get better” Clay said. There are other dock jumping organizations but this one likes to put more of their focus toward family and a friendly environment rather than the prize at the end. However, titles are still given out.”
The McElya’s are in hopes that by bringing a dog pool and the Ultimate Air Dogs events, that it will not only help certain people and pets in the county but also bring in more tourism. “Its great therapy for dogs that are having problems walking, or are injured” Clay said, “We also want to get the pool involved with the Animal Shelter/ Humane Society adoption events.”
Any dog is able to enter the Ultimate Air Dog competitions, from Chihuahuas and Bulldogs to Labs and mixes, all are welcome. There are six different titles to be earned, and only a few restrictions. Along with UAD rules, the McElya’s just ask that you see your local vet to guarantee your dog is current on all shots including the Bordetella vaccine.
“I know some people will just think they can go to the lake, but you can’t always trust it. I took my dog out there the other day to jump and she snagged and ripped her nail while running on the dock.” Clay explained, “We’ve heard of dogs jumping in and they just keep swimming the wrong direction across the lake too. This pool is clean, safe and enclosed.”
The cost is $10 a day to practice or to just use the facility. Wren’s Pet Lodge will then be open Monday through Saturday from 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.; 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. and Sunday from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. For a list of all the rules or to learn more about the Ultimate Air Dogs organization visit www.ultimateairdogs.com. Wren’s Pet Lodge is located at 501 Moors Camp Hwy in Draffenville, a couple miles off of US Hwy 68 East. If you have further questions about the pool phone 527-5529.