It is springtime and we've already seen some great catches on the baseball field.  But there's other great catches happening in the area that do not involve a baseball.

It's practice time for K-9 Frisbee. Lisa Yan is on the field with her dog Shay, a 15 month Australian Shepherd Mix.  Brad Blasco is here too, with his dog Zoey, also an Australian Shepherd Mix.  They all are practicing for the next competition sponsored by Erie Ultimate Disc Dogs.  Lisa founded the group in February 2020. She remembers that day well.

"It was like 20 degree temperature but a lot of people in Erie came out to start and play and learn with their dogs.  So I knew it would be pretty successful.”

The group now has 40 teams, each comprised of one dog and one handler.  The teams play many types of games but the most popular is a simple contest called ‘Toss and Fetch’ played on a 50 yard field.

"Every ten yards they get a certain amount of points,” explains Lisa.  “Obviously if you throw right in front of you, they're not going to get much, but if you throw way down the field, they earn points.  The dogs retrieve and you try to get as many points in one minute as you can."

Brad had been playing Frisbee with his dog Zoey even before he knew such a club existed. He's happy he discovered the group.

"Lots of good competition.  But it's all friendly competition.  It's nothing but going out and having fun with the dogs,” he said.

Lisa had many long successful throws with her dog Shay during the practice session.  Each throw was greeted by squeals of joy from her son Luke.  Luke became the youngest competitor with Erie Ultimate Disc Dogs last year... at age three.  Lisa was amazed at Luke’s throwing skill.

"One day I said, 'Instead of watching, do you want to try and throw it?’  He did and he actually chucked it pretty far.  So I said, 'We might be able to do this."

Luke loves to throw the Frisbee and watch Shay try to catch it.  The dogs do a lot of running, but Luke covers a lot of ground too.  K-9 Frisbee is a blast for kids.  A major goal for the group is to recruit more junior members, age 13 and younger.    So far, Luke is the only one.

"Sometimes he throws better than mama,” said Lisa with a laugh. 

The next completion for Erie Ultimate Disc Dogs will be held May 21 at 9548 Laura Brown Rd. in Meadville.  Six Frisbee games will be played.  The event runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Admission is free for spectators.  

A “Toss and Fetch” event will be held on May 15 at 11 a.m. at Lucky Dog Stay and Play on Lake Pleasant Rd.  Spectators are encouraged to bring a blanket or chair.