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Fans enjoy dog day afternoon at Suns game

July 25, 2005|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

andrews@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - As humans on the field at Municipal Stadium threw 90 mph pitches and dove for hard-hit balls Sunday, dogs in the stands had talents of their own.

Owners were glad to crow about their dogs, who were there at the Hagerstown Suns' invitation, a once-a-year tradition. This year, about 15 owner-dog groups attended.

Ricky - who is either a large border collie or a small Australian shepherd, one of his owners said - knows two languages (not counting his native Bark).

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William Weakley of Hagers-town said Ricky understands certain commands in both English and Russian. So, when Weakley's wife, Nadia Weakley, who is from Siberia, calls in Russian for Ricky to "please come," he comes.

Pat Miller's Scottish terrier Dubhy (pronounced Duffy) won the best trick event at the game.

"Say your prayers," Miller urged Dubhy, who put his front paws up on a chair, then buried his head in them.

As for Bridget Sue the Pomeranian, it's equally interesting what she won't do.

"She eats out of a highchair," said her beaming owner, Ned McAllister of Clear Spring. "She won't eat off the floor."

McAllister said Bridget Sue helps him bottle feed a calf. When the calf is finished eating, Bridget Sue licks the calf's face, then gets in McAllister's truck.

"I call her my little daughter," he said.

Dixie, a miniature dachshund, won a prize for looking the most like her owner, Lloyd Geigley of Catonsville, Md.

Geigley, a tall man, figured the contest was a natural for them, "since I'm long and she's long."

Their only competition was Cheryl Frock of Keymar in Carroll County, Md., and her Bernese mountain dog, Baxter.

On the third-base side, Jennifer Hutzler of Martinsburg, W.Va., had her pit bull-boxer mix, Lotus, on a leash. "She thinks she's a Shih Tzu," Hutzler said. "She doesn't know she's a big dog."

Which made Lotus the yin to Kayla's yang.

Kayla, a Shih Tzu, "thinks she's a big dog," said her owner, Debbie Stikeleather of Hagers-town.

Kayla attracted a small crowd of small children, perhaps drawn to Kayla's pink and white dress. Stikeleather said she put the dress on Kayla because she looked too bare after being shorn.

Regardless of Lotus's self-perception, she looked nothing like Kayla and a lot like Jake, an American Staffordshire terrier who belongs to Ryan Thomas of Hagerstown.

Jake's sit-up trick lost to Dubhy's prayer pose.

Thomas' friend, Chad Ferris of Hagerstown, brought Gauge, a Weimaraner, to the game. Ferris said Gauge has been training to retrieve birds.

Nicole Boudreaux of Hagerstown said it was good for Bugsie, her boxer mix, just to be himself on Sunday. She said Bugsie had been "mopey" since Wednesday, when his 8-year-old boxer companion, Greta, had to be euthanized.

"It's good to get him out here today," Boudreaux said.

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