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Published: Sunday, 8/26/2007

Dog Days afternoon isn't spoiled by shower

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Dante precariously perches on the raised feet of handler Chris
McLeod and expertly pulls in a disc without losing its balance
in an exhibition at Secor Metropark by the Purina Dog Team. Dante precariously perches on the raised feet of handler Chris McLeod and expertly pulls in a disc without losing its balance in an exhibition at Secor Metropark by the Purina Dog Team.
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It started off nice and sunny yesterday at Secor Metropark, but soon turned muddy with a hint of wet-dog smell.

The rain that fell briefly but hard didn't deter "Mason," - a towering great dane - from making new friends at the annual Dog Days, a festival for pooches and their people.

Todd Mason, the big pooch's owner, said the giant is gentle, but likes to get on the furniture and thinks he's a lap-dog.

"You have to be patient with them because they are so big and clumsy," Mr. Mason said as his dog sniffed a tiny pomeranian-yorkie mixed-breed puppy.

The annual Dog Days yesterday attracted several thousand people. And although it poured for about 30 minutes just before 2 p.m., dog-lovers gathered under trees and tents to wait out the passing shower.

"My little dog looks pitiful when she's wet," said West Toledo resident Lisa Schmidt, who owns a shih tzu mixed breed.

The event included local dog rescue groups, representing many breeds, and pet-related vendors.

Jim Sulinski, who, along with his wife, founded DogWorks Inc., Sporting Dog Rescue and Placement, said there was a lot of interest yesterday from potential adopters.

"Hank, a beagle-basset hound mixed breed, was due to be killed within three days when we got him from Hardin County," Mr. Sulinski said.

"There are so many dogs out there that need homes, so we want to do what we can."

Like many of the rescue groups represented at the event, DogWorks uses foster care for its dogs.

Kim McGuire, operator of All Rovers Rescue Friends - or AARF for short - has up to 50 dogs in her group that need homes.

"It seems to me that interest in adopting is down right now and maybe that's because school is starting up and people are dealing with a lot of stuff," Ms. McGuire said.

The big attraction yesterday was performances by the Purina show dogs.

Chris McLeod of Atlanta said it takes about two months to get her dogs trained.

"Purina takes a big interest in rescuing dogs who need help, so we do a lot of shows like this," Ms. McLeod said.

The "show stopper" dog was Dante, a border collie who seemed to fly after a speeding Frisbee.

Michael Ramirez of South Toledo turned to his dog, Stacy - a "total mutt" of which he has no idea what breed she is - and asked: "Why can't you do that?"

Contact Ignazio Messina at:

imessina@theblade.com

or 419-724-6171.



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