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Animal lovers capture dogs for a good cause

March 28, 2002|By DAVE McMILLION

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Toto can often be seen pulling his blanket through a window over top of The Old Store and laying on the roof for a nap.

Blue, a black Labrador retriever, likes hanging around with the bar gang at the Mecklenburg Inn.

Beau Didley greets shoppers at the Village Green shop, and Elvis, a hound dog that usually hangs around the post office on King Street, often howls along when the choir at the church next door practices.

They are all part of the population of canines that frequent the streets of Shepherdstown.

As photographers, Barbara Keech and Deborah Barr couldn't pass them up as an exhibit.

As part of a fund-raiser for the Animal Welfare Society of Jefferson County and Spay Today, Keech and Barr decided to photograph as many of the dogs as they could for an exhibit that will be held June 1 at the Entler Hotel in Shepherdstown.

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At no cost to the owners, Keech and Barr have been visiting the owners of the dogs and photographing them in their home environment. Each 8-by-10 photograph is then framed and double matted, said Keech.

So far, the dog photo count stands at 90, said Keech.

Keech and Barr plan to raise money for the two animal welfare groups by asking for donations from those who come to see the exhibit.

The two women also plan to raise money for the groups through two raffles. Winners in the contests will receive a professional wildlife photograph produced by the photographers.

Keech and Barr are owners of Wild Spirit Photography, a business that specializes in wildlife photography.

Keech said Shepherdstown's free-roving dog population seems to be a reflection of the people who live there. There are people in all towns who like dogs, but Shepherdstown residents seem to have a real love and respect for the animals, said Keech.

"Shepherdstown just has a warmth about it," said Keech.

And light-heartedness.

Other favorite dog stories related by Keech and Barr included the one about Duke, a dog that used to plop down in the middle of German Street.

"People had to go around him," Barr said.

Duke was such an item in town that there was an obituary in the newspaper when he died, the women said.

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