To prepare for what organizers are calling the first canine bodybuilding show, plenty of dog owners are conditioning their four-legged friends for the new 'sport.'
The show is Scheduled for June 2 at the Madison County Fairgrounds.
"When she's competing, I like to give her 20 percent kibble, but her main diet is chicken leg quarters fresh from the store," said Patrick Gargett, who breeds and trains dogs in Anderson.
One of his female American Bulldogs pulled 1,000 pounds on Wednesday afternoon several times as practice for the big show.
"Weight-pulling, swimming, running, climbing over different things and other obstacles," said Reverend Scott Amos Sr., the event organizer and founder of the Canine Bodybuilding Association.
Rev. Amos said he wants to introduce dog owners to a new sport and form of entertainment that will be regulated by his Anderson-based organizations. He called it a healthy and legal alternative to dog fighting.
"People are going to have the bully, mastiff, and terrier-type dogs, and they don't have an outlet, and now, they'll have an outlet," said Amos.
"We'll probably do two cart days or heavy days to give the dog a rest, and then, we'll go with the chains," said Gargett as he described his exercise regimen.
"We actually composed the show in two different ways: One is a weight group category. Any dog can be in that specific weight group, but we also offer breed specific categories," said Amos.
He said while the majority of the dogs who have been pre-registered are the large, more muscular dogs, plenty of Jack Russel Terriers and Beagles are on the list.
Still, the 'sport' is raising eyebrows among some rescue groups and area veterinarians who have plenty of questions about some of the bigger dogs.
"This is the first time I've ever heard of it," said Dr. Gordon Lawler, an Anderson veterinarian who has been in practice for more than 40 years. "If you don't use sound judgement, then it leads down the wrong path."
"I know it's going to have the extremists come out, and take it too far," said Rev. Amos.
Amos said he is doing the research at Greyhound and horse tracks to figure out how to keep steroids out and to learn how to educate dog owners about bulking up their four-legged friends with diet, exercise and a few vitamins.