Dog Days of Summer: Dog owners strut their stuff at premier event
August 11, 2009
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Pet owners and their faithful companions enjoyed an afternoon of sun and fun at the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation's (FMWR) first canine-friendly event, the "Dog Days of Summer," at Sills Field, July 31.
Dozens of dogs of all shapes, sizes and colors gleefully met each other and ran to explore activities on the open grassy field.
"The goal is to bring together Soldiers, their families and their best friend," said Stacy Harding, chief of recreation activities, FMWR.
Towering above the four-legged crowd was Tate, a huge, 100-pound-plus Great Dane owned by Master Sgt. Ozzie Ellis, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii (USAG-HI) command group. Tate's presence prompted remarks from others, such as "that's not a dog; that's a horse."
"If I had a dollar every time someone told me that, I'd be a millionaire," Ellis said.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, Sgt. 1st Class Tiffanie Moore, USAG-HI, was accessorized by a 1.7-pound pomeranian named Thunder. While carrying the pocket-sized pet under one arm, like a handbag, she remarked how the event was a good opportunity for pooches to strut their stuff.
"You rarely have an event for people to bring their dogs to," Moore said. "I got (Thunder) for my birthday."
Many competed in the four-legged and two-legged contests held on stage, such as the dog/owner look-alike, costume, cutest dog, most patriotic pooch, and most talented dog categories.
Brodie, a Shar-Pei owned by Andria and Maj. Matt Gragg, 8th Military Police Brigade, wore a snorkel with swimming goggles to win the costume contest.
"You're a star, Brodie," Andria said, giving him a pat on the head. "We're animal lovers, and we wanted to be part of the first-ever Dog Days of Summer."
Other contest winners included the most patriotic pooch, Daisy, a three-legged hound/shepherd mix owned by Mary Frances Libecco. Daisy was adopted from the Humane Society as a companion for Libecco, but suffered an injury seven months ago, resulting in the amputation of one of her legs.
Household dogs weren't the only canines featured at the event.
Throughout the day, participants enjoyed military working dog demonstrations featuring Sgt. 1st Class Michael McPeak and his specialized search shepherd, Aldo, along with Spc. Chris Uhl and Arko, an explosives expert detection shepherd.
During a demonstration, Arko successfully found explosive materials, hidden in one suitcase, among several that were spread out on Sills Field.
Sgt. Nicholas Briggs brought his Belgian Malinois dog, Rico, who "bites the bad guys and searches for narcotics."
Kim Lyons introduced the crowd to Sampson, a Tripler Army Medical Center, Human Animal Bond (HAB) program therapy dog. The HAB program, sponsored by the American Red Cross, uses specially chosen pets to help patients recover.
The Dog Days event also included a few contests for two-legged participants, including a hotdog eating contest and a chili-cook-off.
The People's Choice award and the $100 prize for best chili went to B Battery, 2nd Battalion, 11th Field Artillery Regiment. Chili awards for Best Spirit and Showmanship went to 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment. Sponsors of the event included Cutter Family Auto Centers, United Services Automobile Association (USAA) and Ke Ola O Pokai Bay, along with numerous dog-friendly businesses and organizations from around the community.
<b>Dog contest winners and their owners</b>
<i>Aca,!Ac Dog/owner look-alike:</i> 1st Place, Baxter and Mac McDaniel; 2nd Place, Chili and Anastasia Story.
<i>Aca,!Ac Costume: </i> 1st Place, Brodie and Andria Gragg; 2nd Place, Rambo and Cara and Sydney Coleman.
<i>Aca,!Ac Cutest dog: </i> 1st Place, Candy and Danny Kaczmarczyk; 2nd Place, Shadow and William and Elena Edwards.
<i>Aca,!Ac Most talented: </i> 1st Place, Abby and Brandy Robertson; 2nd Place, Moocah and Julia Krampe.
<i>Aca,!Ac Most patriotic: </i> 1st Place, Daisy and Mary Libecco; 2nd Place, Koa and Laura and Jeremy Miller