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Making the most of the dog days


Tails wagged, panting was popular and fights were few at yesterday's Bark in the Park fundraiser for the Humane Society of Baltimore County. But the kissing booth was a bust.

It seems even dogged canine lovers don't want to pay $2 to get smooched by a pooch.

"A lot of people were taking pictures, but no one was kissing the dog," Frank Branchini, the Humane Society's executive director, said of the booth as he surveyed the waning hours of what was otherwise a hit event.

At least 500 people and their canine companions attended the event on the society's Nicodemus Road grounds in Reisterstown. The organization expects to bring in as much as $10,000 from entrance and event fees. The proceeds will go to the society's operating budget for items such as dog food, kennel fans and vet supplies.

Yesterday's attendees played games such as hide and seek (they had to find their human friends), pawed through the health and fitness expo or just hung out in the shade, listening to girl-and-guitar act Karen Goldberg - a former society board member - regale them with dog-friendly tunes.

"I'm very opposed to hunting, and this is a song about that," Goldberg said, introducing one, as her big golden retriever, Romeo, 3, wagged nearby.

Hal, a border collie-collie mix, night have found the best spot. He took up residence under a treat table at the Andy's Doggie Deli & More booth, sticking his nose out from under the table curtain in case a morsel fell.

"He loves their turkey jerky," said Sue Grott of Owings Mills, who had just purchased him some. No more brownies for him, though - he has had enough that the Reisterstown store named one for him.

Hal, 7, has eaten so many Hal's Brownies he is now on a diet. The turkey jerky is low-fat.

Many of the dogs in the crowd were back for a visit after being adopted from the society, which honored each with a bandanna and a "successful adoption and unconditional love" certificate.

To get it, each dog and a human friend walked to the front of the crowd as if on a runway, while a society representative announced the dog's attributes into a microphone - a la Miss America.

"Shelby Cohen, adopted in 1996," the representative said as Shelby and Nicki Cohen, 18, of Reisterstown made their way to the front. "Shelby is a dachshund. She can dance, and she can talk."

Waiting his turn was Teddy, a happy looking gray-and-black Australian shepherd-retriever mix who had three blue ribbons hanging from his collar. He won them at hide-and-seek, the 20-yard dash and dog pin bowling, in which he successfully knocked over the pins for a biscuit, said Charles Lazzelle of Reisterstown, who adopted him in 2004.

At home, Teddy loves to play with squirrels, employing a technique that involves chasing them up one tree, tracking them as they jump from branch to branch and planting himself at the bottom of the destination tree so they can't get down.

"These dogs," Lazzelle said, "you've got to take them out."

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