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Suns offer a dog-day afternoon to fans

July 26, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - The Baltimore Orioles' loss apparently was the Hagerstown Suns' gain Sunday as several dog owners from the Baltimore and Washington, D.C., areas came to a Suns baseball game so they could bring their dogs along.

While the Suns were badly defeated, the 10 dogs in attendance, along with their owners, didn't appear to mind.

Most of the dog owners suggested they are willing to drive long distances to bring their dogs inside to watch the game with them, as well as to eat some food.

While several fed hot dogs to their pets, Tim and Kathy Gordon of Falls Church, Va., instead opted for nachos for their pair of Irish setters, Archie and Johnny.

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The event, "The Dog Days of Summer," drew about the same number of dogs as last year, General Manager Kurt Landes said. He had hoped more people would bring their dogs, but the ugly weather may have deterred some, he said.

Three dog owners came together to the game after first going to a similar event allowing dogs at a Frederick (Md.) Keys games last week, said Marcia Tiersky of Alexandria, Va. That event - which drew about 50 dogs - made them want to come to another game, she said.

Sitting near Tiersky and her dog, Lily, a 120-pound Great Dane, in the first base line stands were Tamara and Patrick Ulrich of Washington, D.C., and their dog, Juno, a 12-pound miniature pinscher.

Patrick Ulrich said they like to bring their dog with them to baseball games and wish they could do it for games at Oriole Park at Camden Yards stadium.

Asked what drew them to the Hagerstown game, Jacqui Coleman, said simply: "It is because Camden Yards doesn't do 'Dog Days.'" The Silver Spring, Md., resident brought her dog, Henry, a blue Labrador, to the game.

Debbie Demski of Baltimore said she and her husband, Frank, took their dog, Holly, to a minor league baseball game in Wilmington, Del., last month, where about 300 dogs were present.

They wanted to take their dog to another game and heard about the Suns promotion on its Internet site, she said.

The competition for dog-related contests was less stiff at Sunday's game than at the Delaware game. As the game started, there were only three dogs in attendance, although that number grew during the game.

Debbie Demski was awarded prizes, including two free days of boarding at a kennel, after Holly, a Pomeranian, won the owner look-alike contest.

Beth and Nathan Valentine of Waynesboro, Pa., brought the family dog, Annabelle, to the game.

"It is great. There should be more (dog) events," Beth Valentine said. "It is nice to have places you can take a dog."

Annabelle won the contest for best dog tricks by first catching a thrown piece of hot dog and then turning 360 degrees on her back legs while more of a hot dog was held above her, Beth Valentine said. They won a gift certificate for a store catering to pet needs, she said.

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