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Dogs have their day at clinic

May 06, 2002|BY RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

Bishop was trying hard to sit and stay, and he did fine until a greyhound walked by.

There was too much excitement at an exhibition Saturday at the Animal Health Clinic of Funkstown with dogs around everywhere. Bishop, a 6-month-old yellow lab pup, exploded into action when the greyhound got close.

Bishop is in early training to become a guide dog and is supposed to ignore such distractions, but he's still in kindergarten.

Tim Graf of Falling Waters, W.Va., Bishop's foster owner, patiently admonished the pup to sit down and stay.

Bishop is the ninth puppy to come into the life of Graf and his wife, Connie. They get the dogs at 6 weeks old, work on socializing them and give them basic training before turning them back to the guide dog agency two years later.

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The dogs get advanced training by the agency before they're given to their permanent masters.

"We do it because we love animals, but it's always hard when they go," Graf said.

Saturday's pet health clinic was run by veterinarians Virginia Scrivner and Charlene McCummons. Both put on presentations on pet care, from getting and raising puppies to helping owners care for older pets.

The event was held in conjunction with National Pet Week, Scrivner said.

Exhibits were sponsored by pet food and supply companies, a pet boarding kennel, the Washington County Humane Society, a greyhound rescue group and a groomer, among others.

Brooke Neville, 18, and Anna Verdel, 22, were each feeding 4-week old kittens from a bottle. The kittens were a week old when they were just dropped off, Neville said. A compassionate passerby brought them to the Humane Society.

"There were three, but one died," Neville said.

The survivors are brother and sister, she said.

Neville takes them home every night.

"They have to eat every four to six hours," she said.

A trick dog show was put on by Guy Rotz, 80, of Falling Waters and Sparky, his 9-year-old boxer/golden retriever mix. The two do about 70 shows a year, Rotz said.

Sparky has a long list of tricks, he said.

"He pretty much trained himself," Rotz said. "He brings in my paper every day, and my driveway is 1,000 feet long."

Hagerstown Police Department Officer Patty Shantz brought Noro, a shepherd the department got from Czechoslovakia, for a display of Noro's cross-training skills.

The dog's police duties include protection, patrol and drug interdiction.

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