Jennifer Atkins Brown
EDEN – Visitors to this year’s RiverFest will have the opportunity to see the Purina-Incredible Dog Team in action as some of the world’s most athletic dogs and talented trainers take to the stage.
“The Purina-Incredible Dog Team has been around for decades, serving as ambassadors for the strong connection between pets and people,” said Michael Zerman, Purina’s director of public relations. “People get inspired by the amazing tricks and routines they perform.”
Athletic feats accomplished by the team include footstand, back arch, hop through hoops, roll and jump to incredible heights to catch a flying disc.
“People will be amazed by the focus and energy the incredible dogs bring, as well as the strong bond between the dogs and their trainers,” said Zerman. “The team’s energetic performances entertain and educate people about responsible pet care and how proper nutrition and training can bring out the best in every dog at every stage of life.”
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The team of 50 canine performers represent a variety of different breeds including Labrador Retrievers, Poodles, Australian Cattle Dogs, Icelandic Dogs, Whippets, McNab Shepherds, Border Collies and Australian Shepherds. Some of the dogs on the team come from animal shelters or rescue organizations.
A staff of Purina trainers work with the dogs and develop their skills, and all of the dogs on the team are owned and live with the trainers in their homes.
“The puppies are great artists, but first and foremost they are pets,” Zerman said.
Purina also has an annual athletic dog competition called the Purina Pro Plan Incredible Dog Challenge, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. The program consists of two regional competitions, culminating in a national final held at Purina Farms outside of St. Louis.
As Purina nears the official opening of its new Eden facility, company leaders felt it was a timely and appropriate idea to have the Purina Incredible Dog Team perform as part of Eden’s RiverFest.
“We want the community to know that at Purina, we’re about bringing pets and people together,” said Zerman. “Pets enrich our lives in so many ways, and the Incredible Dog Team is the most exciting example of the amazing things pets can do and the incredible ways pets and people get better together.”