Marlin, a three-year-old fox red labrador retriever, recently turned Las Vegas into his personal showcase.
The Pass Christian dog shined at the Splash Dogs Nationals held in Las Vegas. Owned by the Nunez family, Marlin took first place in the big air division and second for vertical.
After Marlin was invited to the Finals, Christian Nunez set up a Go-Fund account and raised $2,000. His father provided the rest of the expenses.
“The most amazing thing was how many people helped the cause,” Nunez said. “I can't thank Marlin's veterinarian, Jennifer Henderson (Live Oak Animal Hospital in Pass Christian) enough.”
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Once Marlin arrived in Las Vegas, he outclassed the competition.
The West Coast trip was a learning experience for Nunez, he said.
“I got to meet different dogs and their owners around the world,” Nunez said. “It was my first time visiting Las Vegas. We did more than attend the dog show. I got to see places like the Hoover Dam.”
Nunez said Marlin loves the spotlight.
“I can tell he enjoys people watching him,” Nunez said. “He loves putting on a show. I don't like the pressure, but he does.”
Nunez said that Marlin's routine is simple.
“He goes nuts over his tennis ball, like most dogs. He absolutely loves it,” Nunez said. “He likes to go and get it and I’ve always thrown it off the dock for him. So he has always been good at swimming and loves the water.”
Duck hunting is one of many activities Nunez and Marlin do together.
“Marlin think he's a human being,” Nunez said. “Whenever I miss shots, he always give me this strange look.”
Earlier this year, Nunez participated in the Splash Dogs competition held at Gonzales, Louisiana. He placed first in the senior finals with a leap of 19 feet and also won the super-vertical with a jump of 5 feet, 10 inches.
Marlin also competed in the Louisiana Sportsman Show and Festival.