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Al Erikson and his 6-year-old rat terrier, George, stood above the pack of 22 other teams from around the country and the world to win the division title last weekend in Chattanooga, Tenn. The 57-year-old said he and George are getting used to the winner's circle.
"We've had numerous titles of different kinds .... one of them is called the UFO, and he's won several titles with them," Erikson said.
Attending the competitions is a labor of love for George and Al. Erikson said he hasn't made any money off the events.
The Hyperflite Skyhoundz World Canine Disc Championship that George and Al took a title at last week has multiple divisions and also has an open division for all dogs of all sizes.
"George came in third against all the big dogs," Erikson said. "He's quite some little dog. Last year he came in fourth."
Erikson, who is married with four grown children, said George and his two other dogs -- Gracie, a 4-year-old McNab (an unofficially-recognized breed that most closely resembles a border collie with short hair), and a 4-year-old McNab, Roxy -- are his kids now.
Up next is the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge in Grace Summit, Mo. Erikson said they qualified for the national event at the Western regional held earlier this year during the Del Mar Fair.
These days, Erikson, a former manufacturing engineer, is a dog trainer who does some canine entertainment show and public outings, booking the events through his WhyDogsFly.com Web site.