By Cassie McClure and Suzanne Michaels
Published in the Las Cruces Bulletin 8/2/19
In the sweltering Las Cruces summers, it’s not just humans who feel the heat, but also our pets. For both the adventurous dog and owner, a cool way to cool off is at Las Cruces Dock Diving and K9 Event Center (LCDD) at 335 S. Valley Drive.
Opened in May, the Center has worked around the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) road reconstruction of Valley Drive, especially while transforming the warehouse filled with floor-to-ceiling shelving into the now wide-open and astroturfed area with a long 45-foot pool.
“With the road construction at the front, we worked with NMDOT to use the back gate to the property,” said Vic Villalobos, one of the co-owners of LCDD along with his wife Shannon Murray, Nancy Chanover and Steve Stochaj. “It took a year to get the space ready and we knew that we’d have to figure out traffic issues. We can tell that the Valley Drive traffic count is down, but that’s why we’ve focused on scheduling most of our classes in the evenings or on Saturdays, working around the construction hours. And everything can be arranged online at http://dockdivinglc.com/ or by phone at (575) 323-1250.”
LCDD is a certified location with North America Diving Dogs so that dogs can win ribbons and titles here and compete nationally. In August, a North America Dock Diving event will be hosted in Las Cruces, so Villalobos is providing reroute suggestion to attendees who bring their RVs. The couple suggests Sunny Acres on Valley Drive because navigation will be easier. They also plan on giving out maps with the registration.
“Overall, I keep telling people it’s not so bad,” said Villalobos. “Any time in the evenings or on Saturdays, when most of our classes are scheduled, there isn’t that much traffic.”
Safe Haven Animal Shelter brings its adoptable dogs, like Cody the wolfhound, to LCDD to give them a leg up on finding their new “forever” home with a new set of skills like dock diving or experience on the agility course. Cody works first on the ramp down to the pool, then overcoming her hesitation, she flies into the air. This, after an orientation class, is now available for all Las Cruces dogs, no matter their size or breed.
The NMDOT Valley Drive road reconstruction project is scheduled for completion in early 2020; in the meantime, the City of Las Cruces encourages residents to continue supporting local businesses and stores on Valley Drive. More information on monthly update meetings www.valleydrive.net.
PHOTO 1: Cody – available for adoption from Safe Haven Animal Shelter – splashes in the water at Las Cruces Dock Diving on Valley Drive, learning to be a dock diving doggie.