Raleigh, NC–The Raleigh Flyers announced Friday the signing of the first professional ultimate dog for play in the American Ultimate Disc League 2016 season. Last summer, the Flyers sported a 12-4 record and claimed the 2015 Southern Division title, but fell short of the AUDL Championship by only a few points. In an effort to remain relevant in an increasingly competitive division, the Flyers knew thinking outside of the park was key to their pursuit of a 2016 Championship title.
Where There’s a Woof There’s a Way
The Flyers held tryouts for three dogs considered elite by the fursbee community.
Determined to not let size rule her performance, Jessi Bones outwitted her fellow competitors with clever decisions and quick movement. Bones, a purebred rescued from the streets of rural North Carolina, explained her strategy to Ultiwoof: “Bark bark, woof woof, bark woof bark, yip yip woof.” Bones’ innovation on the field was admiring, but her obsession to catch her own tail might’ve tarnished her otherwise impressive results.
After witnessing the dramatic last-second Flyers victory over the Jacksonville Cannons seven years ago, Jarrett Bowwowen (Labrador Retriever, 2’9″, 75 lbs) knew fursbee was in his blood. Bowwowen proved himself with extreme mental toughness, but some paws were raised about his physical concentration while in the presence of treats.
The final tryout, Jonathan Nethermutt, floored the Flyers with excellence in disc control, speed and intelligence. Trained from birth to be a fursbee champion, Nethermutt knows what it takes to rise to the top of the box of treats. Fueled by an intense love for the game and several pounds of doggie kibble, Nethermutt presented a nearly spotless performance, tainted only by occasional distractions of sniffing the other competitors’ butts.
All Bark, No Play
All three dogs underwent gritty physical and mental challenges, fighting for the opportunity to represent dogkind on a world-class team. The dogs faced nonstop grueling exercises for three days straight, only allowed eight naps per day. Coach Michael DeNardis, who leads his own team of pups at the collegiate level with UNC Barkside, spoke about the commitment and dedication shown by all three competitors:
“They were doggone awesome,” said DeNardis choking through tears, “they fought terrierbly hard fur the oppawtunity to represent dog.”
One Small Step for Dog, One Giant Leap for Dogkind
Saliva dripping from their jaws, gazing intently at the delicious bacon goodies suspended from Coach Mike D’s hands, the three furry tryouts awaited their reward. A long weekend of hard work, drills, and napping had led to this moment – who would be signed and enjoy the chance to pave the way for dog future?
Time froze as bacon strips plummeted from DeNardis, falling into the open mouth of… Jonathan Nethermutt! A powerful and balanced tryout had proved Nethermutt was best dog, DeNardis told the other disappointed pups. Their disappointment quickly vanished, however, as DeNardis distributed additional bacon strips and agreed to sign Bowwowen and Bones as practice pups for the 2016 season.
DeNardis was pleased about the signing: “Nethermutt pawssesses great pawtential in his pawsuit of greatness.” DeNardis also discussed the potential for offering tryouts for other animals. When asked if cats would be the next foray into the Flyers’ animal squad, Denardis replied, “It is certainly within the realm of the litter box.” –Raleigh, NC