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TOLEDO MAGAZINE

Four-legged fans turn out for Hens and Hounds

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    Beverly Blanton, of Toledo, has Lilo, a 2-year-old mutt, on a leash during Hens and Hounds.

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    Chief, a 3-year-old pit bull, looks up as Sam Amodeo, of Toledo, watches during Hens and Hounds.

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    Miranda Phillips, of Deshler, Ohio, attends the game with Daisy, her 4-year-old pit bull.

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    Pat Lofy, of Alexandria, Va., carries Sarge, his 13-year-old toy poodle, during Hens and Hounds.

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    Fans watch with their dogs during Hens and Hounds.

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    Although dogs were not allowed out of the outfield area, fans patronize the aptly named Hen and Hound for some food.

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    From left: Ibrahim Awada, of Toledo, pets Leo, an 8-year-old Brittany Spaniel, as Nichole Wilkins, of Toledo, pets Buddy, a 9-year-old Lab and Chow mix.

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    John Wilkins' 3-year-old Australian Shepherd, Paws, takes a dip in the several pools provided for the dogs during Hens and Hounds.

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    Matt Melzak, Mud Hens play-by-play announcer, with dog Booter, a 7-year-old Jack Russell and Boston Terrier mix.

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    Robin Hopson, of Temperance, Mich., pets her dog Josie Blu, a 3-year-old Weimaraner.

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    Joel Berry, of Northwood, is led in by Curry, his 1-year-old Labradoodle, during the Hens and Hounds game at Fifth Third Field in Toledo.

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    Caitlyn Melzak takes a photo on her phone of Matt Melzak, Mud Hens play-by-play announcer, with dog Booter, a 7-year-old Jack Russell and Boston Terrier mix.

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    Matt Melzak, Mud Hens play-by-play announcer, with dog Booter, a 7-year-old Jack Russell and Boston Terrier mix.

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    Emily Durham, of Waterville, watches the game as 10-month-old Pekingese, Dixie, sits during Hens and Hounds.

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    Matt Melzak's dog, Booter, a 7-year-old Jack Russell and Boston Terrier mix.

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    Nick Dunlap and Emily Durham, of Waterville, try to keep their 10-month-old Pekingese, Dixie, cool by pouring water on her.

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    Muddy plays with dogs during the Hens and Hounds game at Fifth Third Field in Toledo.

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A poodle in the outfield? A mastiff at the beer stand?

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Miranda Phillips, of Deshler, Ohio, attends the game with Daisy, her 4-year-old pit bull.

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Welcome to Hens and Hounds, the first of three times this season Toledo Mud Hens fans are invited — encouraged, really — to bring their canine companions to Fifth Third Field to enjoy the great American pastime.

So on June 29, first-timers Nichole Wilkins and Ibrahim Awada who brought their two Brittany spaniels to the game along with their families. 

The dogs enjoy the environment and get excited being around people, Mr. Awada said.

“They like it because of the new surrounding, but they don’t socialize too much with the other dogs,” Miss Wilkins said.

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VIDEO: Hens and Hounds Night

Columbus natives Kelly Danaher and Chris Ellis also enjoyed the event for the first time with their 2-year old Siberian husky, Cooper.

“It stinks that it’s this one little section, but I don’t blame them for not letting us go in there,” Miss Danaher said, indicating the grandstand far removed from the outfield section where the dogs and their owners were sequested.

Still, she said there aren’t many places in Toledo that are dog friendly, so she’s glad she could bring Cooper to the game.

“Columbus has a lot of dog friendly bars and a lot of places like that but never like a sporting event we’ve seen before, so it's really cool,” Mr. Ellis said. “This is like the one weekend in town [everything has] matched up.”

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Pat Lofy, of Alexandria, Va., carries Sarge, his 13-year-old toy poodle, during Hens and Hounds.

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Already accustomed to this tradition, which has been going on for four years, Bruce and Kelly Michalak brought 8-year old Cruiser for a second time to a Mud Hens game.

“It’s a great opportunity for him to get out more, see other dogs, and be social,” Mrs. Michalak said.

She said Fifth Third Field is the only place Cruiser gets to hang out in public besides the pet store.

Also enjoying the dog-friendly environment, Tom Miller brought his two dogs, Gracey and Bella.

“We brought Gracey last year, and she had a good time,” Mr. Miller said. “The little one is getting used to coming to public places.”

He said since there aren’t many public places he can take his dogs, he often sneaks Bella into stores in a bag with him. 

The Mud Hens started hosting dog friendly nights in 2014, and owners have seized the opportunity to socialize their dogs with people and other dogs in a nonpark setting.

Jessica Taylor said she hopes that her dog Bailey gets more opportunities to attend events like Hens and Hounds.

“She’s a little hyper and wants to say hi to everyone,” Miss Taylor said. “If she ends up on the field tonight, I won’t be shocked. She is a fence jumper.”

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