[Courtesy Underdog Rescue]

Join Moab nonprofit Underdog Rescue for the first annual Dog Paddle, a dog party by and on the water at Ken’s Lake Recreation Area on June 12.

Underdog Rescue provides transport, vet care, foster homes and adoption services for the reported 250,000 stray companion animals found on Native American reservations in the region. Underdog partners with many Moab organizations and businesses to coordinate volunteers to care for, socialize, foster, and adopt rescued dogs—and also for fun events like this one, where the community can meet adoptable pups. The Dog Paddle will include music, food, yoga, a boat crafting competition, and water toys.

About 10 adoptable dogs, a mix of adults and puppies, will be at the Dog Paddle for attendees to meet. Local DJ Christopher Conrad will provide music throughout the event—Underdog advises everyone to “bring their water-friendly dancing shoes!”

Attendees are also encouraged to bring their own dogs and/or watercraft. This could be the perfect opportunity to get your dog used to being on a water vessel. If you don’t have a boat or a paddleboard, Moab Watersports and Wild West Voyages are supplying paddleboards for the event, but ask that they be used for human transport only, not canine. Moab Watersports is also loaning a floating trampoline for humans to play on during the event.

Local food truck Moab Kitchen will take a break from its usual downtown parking spot to provide lunch and snacks at the Dog Paddle. Moab Kitchen offers an all plant-based menu starring the “Moabetter” burger patty. Other items appearing on the rotating menu include curries, tacos, and a variety of sweets. The Moab Brewery will bring kegs of its signature beers as well as root beer.

Courtney Reese, owner of local studio Desert Power Yoga, is offering a one-hour stand-up-paddleboard yoga session. Reese partners with Underdog to offer puppy yoga sessions at her studio, and has herself adopted an Underdog named Biscuit.

“Courtney is just amazing,” said Chiara Solitario, outreach coordinator for Underdog. “It should just be really fun out there.”

Attendees can bring their own SUPs and pups and practice dog-partner yoga, or “doga.” If you have a dog and not a paddleboard, you can also follow along with the yoga session from the beach. Underdog will have doggie life-jackets to loan.

Attendees can also sign up to participate in a “Bring Your Own Boat” regatta. Underdog is reviving the “cardboard boat race” tradition once sponsored by the Grand County Public Library. Participants must craft their own vessels from cardboard and duct-tape, or from other recycled materials (just not an old boat!) Boatbuilders will board their vessels and compete to see which one makes it the farthest. Baskets of both human and dog treats, supplied by Colorado-based pet supply store Chow Down, will be awarded as prizes to the longest-running boat, as well as to the “most creative” craft.

Certified lifeguards from the Moab Recreation and Aquatic Center will be keeping an eye on safety for both two-footed and four-footed swimmers throughout the event. Underdog asks that dog-owners keep their pets leashed within the event area unless they are in the water. Underdog will supply pet waste bags to keep the area neat.

“We’ll have poo-bags galore,” said Solitario.

Solitario said Underdog is grateful to have so many generous community partners. She notes that some of those partners, like Reese of Desert Power Yoga, have adopted Underdogs and so have a strong connection to the nonprofit.

“I think we have really awesome dogs,” said Solitario, adding that an adopted pet is a contant reminder of the potential to do good. “You have this lifelong companion, who is the best representative you could have of hope and possibility and what you can do to make a difference in the world,” she said.

Underdog is still looking for volunteers to help with set-up, take down, paddleboard handling, trash pick-up, and dog-play monitoring during the Dog Paddle. To volunteer or for more information about the event, contact Chiara Solitario at 435-260-8861.


What: First Annual Underdog Rescue Dog Paddle

Where: Ken’s Lake, 10 miles south of Moab

When: Saturday, June 12 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Cost: $10 in advance, $15 at the entrance. Tickets available from Back of Beyond Books, WabiSabi, Mill Creek Animal Hospital, Moab Vet Clinic, and The Moab Barkery.

Info: 435-260-8861 or the Underdog Rescue Facebook page