Most people would think nine years old would be a little young to end your professional career. However, after two ACL surgeries on both back knees the Van Fossen family thought it was best that yellow Labrador and competitive DockDog Rosie Lee’s jumping days come to an end.
Chet Van Fossen, Rosie’s proud dad, said Rosie has been competing in DockDog competitions most of her life.
“When Rosie was a puppy we saw a DockDog competition on ESPN,” Van Fossen said. “Kathy (Rosie’s mom) and I looked at each other and we both said ‘I bet Rose could do that.’”
It did not take the Van Fossen family long to enter Rosie into her first competition and Rosie proved to be a natural at the sport.
“The next day we went to the lake and tried it out and she did really good, absolutely no fear. Her first competition was an event at the Bass Pro Shop in Concord Mills where she took second place overall with a jump of 20’ 2”.”
The Van Fossen family practiced anywhere they could and the family settled into Bass Lake as their permanent DockDog practice home.
Van Fossen said Rosie loved competing and loved hearing the crowd cheering for her.
“Her last competition was at Charleston and the crowds are really big and they make a
lot of noise. She takes the dock and runs back and forth waiting for me, the crowd is
yelling and she really loves it. I put her on a sit stay at the front of the dock, I tell her to wave at the people, and she raises her paw like she is giving me a high five and the crowd goes crazy.”
Van Fossen said it was the crowd’s response that helped Rosie meet with success during her last competition.
“At that meet she barely made the finals (I think this is when she tore her ACL the first time) She wasn’t limping or anything just didn’t seem to go as far as usual. Anyway we take the dock for our last jump and she needs a 21’ 7” jump to win. We go through our routine; the crowd going nuts. She is really amped up and has a really great jump at 21’6” and she takes second place.”
Although Rosie is no longer competing, the Van Fossens still keep up with their DockDog friends.
“We still stay in touch with all our DockDog Friends through the National DockDog website and most importantly our local club Carolina DockDogs out of Sanford, N.C. That is the club that put on the DockDog event at Womble Park a few years ago.”
Van Fossen said he and Rosie really enjoyed competing in the DockDog competitions.
“When we were really active in the sport we traveled all over the States in competitions from Myrtle Beach to Wisconsin and a lot of places in between. We met some really great people and enjoyed every minute of it. Carolina DockDogs is a place where you and your best friend can get together and have fun. It is also where dogs get excited.”
Van Fossen said he and Rosie have an extremely special relationship.
“Rosie is the greatest dog ever; I know everybody thinks theirs is the best. But Rose is the smartest dog I have ever had the pleasure of sharing my life with. She has a vocabulary of about 50 words and knows the differences and nuances of your voice. She is really a treat to be around.”