The dogs steal the show at SPCA celebration


McGee, a 10-year-old, 13 pound Yorkshire Terrier, pranced to the front of the crowd with owner in tow to pick up his award -- for heroism.

Last December, the normally docile McGee momentarily turned ferocious, foiling a robbery attempt and pursuing two gun-wielding robbers. For this he earned a plaque from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) of Anne Arundel County.

The society gave McGee the plaque yesterday and handed out ribbons for first, second and third place to a dozen other dogs in celebration of the 77th annual Be Kind to Animals Week.

About 50 people came out to help celebrate the event at the SPCA's Mary E. Parker Animal Shelter in Annapolis. Some came looking to adopt a pet. Some came to enter their dogs in several competitions, including "waggiest tail." Others came simply to enjoy the warm day, good food and good company.

But Joanne Ross, owner of McGee, came to help the small terrier carry home his award. She said it was the least she could do for the little dog who came to her rescue.

As Ross was removing groceries from her car near her Eastport home last winter, she said she heard a "rustling noise" behind her. Then, two men approached her car and demanded she turn over her handbag.

"I froze," Ross said. "I was in shock. Then, I just stood up and I told [the attempted robbers] no. I told them I was going to call my dog on them."

Ross did call her dog. McGee, who had been sitting in a grassy area nearby, took off after the two men. "They ran like lightning," Ross said.

McGee wasn't the only star of yesterday's show. He had stiff competition from Misty Too and Tigger, two retired racing greyhounds. Misty Too was decked out in a straw Easter bonnet adorned with flowers. Tigger also was to wear a hat to the show, but owner Helen McMullen confessed that Tigger had eaten his hat earlier in the day.

"I was really upset with him," McMullen said. "I thought we had agreed on this last night. But I guess he decided he just wasn't going to wear it.

"Misty looks great in her hat though. She's the Marilyn Monroe of dogs, although she looks more like Minnie Pearl with the hat," McMullen added.

Both greyhounds received second-place awards. Misty Too won for prettiest eyes. And Tigger won a ribbon in the celebrity look-a-like contest. He resembles Tigger of "Winnie the Pooh" fame.

Pacer, a 120-pound Bernese mountain dog, had little competition in his category of largest dog. Owner Susan Richardson said she and her family decided to bring him out because they knew there was very little chance of any other dog matching Pacer in size.

There was even royalty at the dog show. Linda Anderson came from Edgewater with her dog, Penny, adorned with a tiara and braided cape. Penny, a mixed breed of unknown origin, took first place in the celebrity look-a-like contest. Her reddish-brown coat and tiara gave her a striking resemblance to the Duchess of York, also known as Fergie.

"I just wanted to bring her out so she could be with some other dogs," Anderson said. "Everything is geared toward people, no pets allowed. This is strictly for the pets."

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