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Originally published October 6, 2008 at 12:00 AM | Page modified October 6, 2008 at 12:23 PM

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Oregon Labrador headed to DockDogs National Championships

Heidi is a yellow Labrador retriever who has a personal best of 25 feet, 2 inches, good enough for the 2008 DockDogs National Championships in Richfield, Wis.

OAKRIDGE, Ore. — An Oregon dog who loves to leap off docks is heading for a national championship to compete.

Heidi is a yellow Labrador retriever who has a personal best of 25 feet, 2 inches, good enough for the 2008 DockDogs National Championships in Richfield, Wis. The three-day competition ends today. Her owner, Hannah Gordon, is a 14-year-old freshman at Oakridge High School who had planned on training Heidi as a hunting dog.

But when Hannah told her P.E. teacher at Oakridge Junior High, John Warren, that Heidi could leap a 5-foot fence at home, Warren suggested Hannah look into DockDogs.

Since she started jumping as a 1-year-old in 2006, Heidi has won about a dozen first-place ribbons and trophies in DockDogs competitions, Hannah said.

Heidi's first big wins came at the Lane County Fair in 2006, when she won both the high jump and the long jump, said Hannah's father, David Gordon, a fifth-grade teacher at Oakridge Elementary School.

Now Heidi and Hannah are ranked first nationally in the DockDogs youth-handlers category for handlers ages 15 and younger.

Heidi averages 24 feet and 1 inch in DockDog's "Big Air" competitions — the long-jump event for dogs.

What's the secret? Hannah hasn't figured it out. "She just does it," Hannah said. "She likes it."

Hannah saved money for three years to buy Heidi, a purebred, from a breeder in Astoria for $350 in 2005.

DockDogs is a national organization founded in 2000 that hosts events all over the country in which dogs compete in three events: Big Air, Extreme Vertical (high jump) and Speed Retrieve, in which dogs swim after a duck decoy and return it as fast as they can.

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