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Dogs go for gold at inaugural ‘Pup-lympics’ in Brooklyn Heights

Thirteen pups went for gold at the inaugural Pup-lympics on Saturday, July 6, at Hillside Dog Park, a 1.4-acre canine playground in Brooklyn Heights, recently voted one of New York City’s best dog parks.

Cheered on by their “hoomans,” the pooches showcased their athletic abilities by running through weave poles and a tunnel, jumping over hoops, and competing for “Best Swimmer” in two portable dog pools. The tail-wagging fun also included “Best Ignorer” and “Best Rollover” competitions, as well as a cheese and ice cream eating contest.

Calligraphy and portrait artist Samneang Sin immortalized competitors with watercolor portraits, while professional yoyo player and rapper Richard Pickett entertained the crowd with his gravity-defying moves.

The pooches clearly enjoyed the ice cream eating competition.Photo by Gabriele Holtermann The inaugural Pup-lympics included competitions like ‘Best Listener.’Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

Organizer Hilda Rodriguez, founder and owner of Aunt Hilda’s Pet Care Services, told Brooklyn Paper that she and her dog-loving neighbors brainstormed pup-friendly events to bring the community together.

“The Puppy Olympics were one of [the events] because we just love getting people together and just seeing the dogs have a great time, get to know each other, and just being silly and creating laughs for us,” said Rodriguez, who worked for New York City Children’s Services for 16 years and currently serves as a guidance counselor at an elementary school in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

Dog mom Yesenia, who lives on the Lower East Side, attended the event with her two-year-old Sharpei-Beagle mix Edward and thought the event was a “wonderful” way to spend the morning.

“I think it’s a wonderful way to bring a community together [and] explore different places where dogs and people can meet and hang out,” she said.

Dog dads Edward and Adan Ma with their prize-winning participants, Alfie and Ernie.Photo by Gabriele Holtermann Pekingese Bebe won the hoop-jumping competition.Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

Manhattanites Edward and Adan Ma learned about the ruff competition through Instagram. The dog dads of eight-year-old Staffordshire English bulldog mix Alfie, who took home first prize for “Best Ice Cream Eater,” and four-year-old Ernie, a Hound Rhodesian Ridgeback mix, who was the “Best Ignorer,” thought the event was “cute.”

“It’s so fun to be with the community and see these kinds of things for our dogs because they don’t really get to participate in regular stuff,” Adan said. “And there’s an award for everyone.”

Left to right: Samneang Sin and Richards Pickett with Pup-lympics organizer Hilda Rodriguez and her two sons.Photo by Gabriele Holtermann Dogs gave their seal of approval.Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

Edward was glad their pups had some space to roam at the Brooklyn Heights dog park.

“This is probably one of the largest dog parks that we’ve been to in a while,” he said, “so there’s a lot of room for [the dogs] to run around and play.”

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