Shorty's a regular rider

ANGELA CUMING
Last updated 05:00 25/10/2012
MIKE SCOTT/Fairfax NZ

Shorty the Jack Russell terrier is into everything including knee boarding behind owner Ian Witheford's boat. On Saturday he will star in the Bridge to Bridge Water Ski Classic on the Waikato River.

Shorty the Jack Russell on the water
CHRIS HILLOCK/Fairfax NZ
BOARD WALK: Shorty the Jack Russell on the water.

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While other dogs are gnawing on bones or worrying sheep, Shorty the Jack Russell terrier is busy riding in his master's wake.

Four-year-old Shorty first jumped on a kneeboard about three years ago during a family day out on Lake Karapiro.

"We are out on the boat all the time and when the kids were a bit smaller we would take them out on a kneeboard.

"One day my son had the board in shallow waters and Shorty just jumped on it," his loyal owner Ian Witheford said.

"After a while of doing that we put a yoke on him and took him out into deeper water.

"Does he love it? You bet he does. You should see him out there, tail sticking straight up in the air."

Shorty's feats are even more remarkable given he was originally another family's unwanted pet.

"He was a freebie off Trade Me," Mr Witheford said.

"His previous owners got another dog, a big labrador, it was a show dog and Shorty loved it, but maybe a little bit too much and so Shorty had to go."

He would, apparently, try to bite the larger dog's neck, fulfilling the role of annoying little brother.

"I reckon it was the best thing to have happened to Shorty, and to me for the matter."

The pair are inseparable, with the Karapiro farmer taking him everywhere.

"He rides on the tractor, on the quad bike, he'll ride on anything."

And if you head down to the Waikato River on Saturday morning, you might be able to catch a glimpse of Shorty and his proud owner as the pair warm up for this weekend's Bridge to Bridge Water Ski Classic.

And will Shorty be nervous when he takes his star turn on the river?

"Oh, heck no," said his proud owner.

"Every summer on the lake we do a couple of victory laps and everyone cheers and claps for him.

"I really do think he enjoys the attention."

Shorty will take to the water this Saturday, about 9.30am. The best vantage points to see him will be Grantham and Anne Sts, Hamilton.

The Bridge to Bridge Water Ski Classic will run over Saturday and Sunday. For details see skirace.co.nz

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- Waikato Times

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