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Baltimore duo wins Mighty Dog's 'Big Guy, Small Dog' contest

A big guy needs a big dog. You know how it is. If a manly man walks a small pup, his testosterone might as well be sapped right through the leash.

Right? Wrong and wronger. And one big guy in Baltimore is helping to disprove the myth, all while winning a national contest.

Robert Fowner, who is a proud owner of an 10-pound Papillon, signed up for a contest earlier this year along with hundreds of other big dudes across the country. Sponsored by Mighty Dog, "Big Guy, Small Dog," aimed to show that a man's manlihood had nothing to do with his pup. And the coolest guys could rock a poodle or a Yorkie or a Chihuahua as easily as a Lab or a Golden Retriever.

Fowner and his little Doni ended up one of 11 grand prize winners in the contest. The duo won $1,000 and a trip to Los Angeles for a photo shoot. You might be able to see them in the "Big Guy, Small Dog" calendar along with linebacker A.J. Hawk, who happens to have a four-pound Chihuahua named Todd.

The calendar will be available for free download on the Mighty Dog website in 2012. For every calendar download, Mighty Dog will make a $1 donation (up to $10,000) to Adopt-a-Pet.com.

Fowner bought the little dog for his wife -- on his birthday. But guess who ended up really bonding with the dog?

" Since I’m the one who works out of the house, it wasn’t long before Doni and I became the best of buds," he says. "Being an avid hiker, it seemed only natural to take Doni along. He loved it! And quickly became an avid rock hopper. Today he is my constant companion with no need for a leash."

Fowner has taken Doni everywhere -- hiking in New Hampshire and across country to the Oregon coast. They play fetch together.

"Nothing could have prepared me for the “Don man” or the constant energy and love that make him the Mightiest of dogs," Fowner says. "What would I ever do without him?"

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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