Pets to play at Paws at the Hill

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published July 12, 2013

Freedom Hill County Park will go to the dogs and their owners July 27 as the venue gets ready to mark its first Paws at the Hill event.

Freedom Hill Amphitheatre general manager Kevin Cassidy said the event is presented by Greater Media Detroit, which owns three radio stations. He said he was elated that the event’s organizers picked the park as a location to roll out the dog-centered event.

“Once again, we’re happy that Freedom Hill Amphitheatre and Freedom Hill County Park is in operation fully to bring events like Paws at the Hill,” Cassidy explained.

During Paws at the Hill, trained dogs will show off their talents and agility skills in several presentations. For example, the Disc Dogs of Michigan will show off their Frisbee-catching and jumping skills. The Michigan Wing Shooter program will demonstrate the bird hunting skills of pointing dogs.

The Ultimate Air Dogs program will encourage dogs to run along an aluminum dock and leap into a 30-foot pool while organizers measure how far the dogs jump.

Milt Wilcox, co-owner of Ultimate Air Dogs, said his program does about 80 shows a year. He said he started the business in Michigan after he left his pitching career at the Detroit Tigers and was “looking for something to do.”

While Wilcox said he plans to bring some dogs of his own to demonstrate, visitors may let their swimming dogs leap into the pool for a practice fee.

“You never know,” he said. “You might have the next big jumping dog throughout the country.”

Besides the talent exhibits, organizers hope to give hundreds of adoptable animals new homes, and guests may buy goods and services from vendors on location.

Marilyn McKiddie, director of Home FurEver Rescue in Detroit, said her group is bringing about 40 dogs for adoption. She had some advice for people who are interested in a new family member.

“You should be prepared to fill out an application and have references,” she said. “Know what kind of dog you’re looking for, whether it’s a puppy or an adult.”

Paws at the Hill will run 10 a.m.-6 p.m. July 27 at Freedom Hill County Park, 14900 Metropolitan Parkway, in Sterling Heights. Admission is free. Dogs that attend must be leashed and up to date on vaccinations. Visit or, or call (586) 268-9700. To pre-register a dog for Ultimate Air Dogs, visit