Canines go for walk to help raise money

October 19, 2003|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

WILLIAMSPORT - Mayor John Slayman is beginning to wonder if there is something wrong with his face.

For the second year in a row Saturday, the mug of a female English bulldog was chosen as the dog's face that most looked like his.

This time it was Zelda, a 13-year-old so infirmed with arthritis that Jackie Dieterich, her owner, has to haul her around in a child's wagon.

"It doesn't say much for my face," Slayman said after the judges chose Zelda in the seventh annual Canines on the Canal, a fund-raiser for the Humane Society of Washington County.


It was held at C&O National Historic Park at the Cushwa Basin.

Last year, the event brought in about $15,000 for the humane society's coffers, according to Julia Draper, promotions coordinator. Volunteers collect pledges for a three-mile walk on the canal.

Last year, the society took in 1,545 dogs. Of them, 604 were adopted, 297 were returned to owners, 90 went to breed rescue groups and the others had to be put down, said Barbie Ginck, adoption coordinator for the society.

The walk was followed by games and contests for dogs and their owners. Among the favorites were the owner-dog look-alike contest, the best tail wagger, vocalist, trick and beggar.

Dogs of all types were there, young and old, purebred and mutt. Except for a few snarls now and then, the pups seemed to be enjoying the outing.

Frank Eisler of Berkeley Springs, W.Va., brought Umi, his 41/2-month old Scottish deerhound. He wanted to help her socialize with other dogs, he said. Eisler and Umi won first place in the owner-dog look-alike contest.

He said he has wanted a dog of that breed for 30 years, but knew they needed room to roam. His new home in Berkeley Springs sits on two acres, one of which he fenced off for the dog, he said.

Otto, a 4-year-old border collie Australian shepherd mix, brought joy to his mistress for the second year when he again won the best vocalist for his rendition of "Happy Birthday to You." Otto even beat out a few hounds.

Bandit, a 2-year-old shepherd that Greg Smith got from the society's shelter in February, won for collecting the highest number of pledges in the dog walk - more than $800.

Tamara McClanahan was a happy 9-year-old when she and her black chow mix, Romeo, 2, won for their cheek-to-cheek dance.

And there was Bear, a Yorkie, who took first place for the best trick. Bear had the rollover down pat.

Jake, a rottweiler mix, took the award for best beggar by standing on his hind legs for the treat held out by owner Craig Zibal of Hagerstown.

Brady, a 9-month-old white spitz, was one of several shelter dogs at the event hoping for adoption. Brady, a friendly, cuddly critter that one shelter volunteer said "is so sweet he looks like a female," came to the shelter about two weeks ago after he was hit in the hind leg by a vehicle.

His owners brought him to the shelter.

X-rays show he has a transverse fracture in his leg, meaning the broken bones have not yet come together. Surgery to fix it could cost $2,000 or more or he could be allowed to heal on his own and be a lifetime cripple. His fate won't be known until a second x-ray is taken in about two weeks, said Courtnay Sahaydak, an animal control officer for Washington County who knows Brady's life story.

Brady already may have found a home in Hancock.

Kim Hayas, a society volunteer, took Brady on the three-mile canal walk.

"He really did very well for about 21/2 miles, then his leg gave out," she said. "I had to carry him the rest of the way."

Hayas said she wants to adopt Brady, but she has five cats at home and Bob, a reluctant husband who said he doesn't like dogs.

"He didn't like cats either before we were married," his wife said.

"The cats grew on me," he said. "She still has to convince me. I'm not a dog person so I'm still resisting ... a little."

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