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Put your pooch on parade

The 4-H Fun Dog Show lets kids show off their mutts. Prizes will be given for the ugliest dog, happiest-looking dog, loudest bark and laziest dog.

By JOY DAVIS-PLATT

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 28, 2000


BROOKSVILLE -- Deb Adams thinks every dog is special.

This weekend, she will judge the 4-H Fun Dog Show, where Hernando County children will have a chance to show off just how unique their pooches are.

"The dog is man's best friend, and there are so few places you can take them with you nowadays," said Adams, who breeds and shows Australian cattle dogs.

Show organizer Peggy Gist said the event originated about 20 years ago. The group decided to bring it back because it was so much fun.

"This is something for any dog," said Gist, whose son participated in a show two decades ago with his spaniel mix named Freckles. "Yard dogs, house dogs, any dog. And they don't have to be specifically trained."

Competition classes are appearance, performance, showmanship and training. Thirty-five specific categories include ugliest dog, happiest-looking dog, loudest bark and most laid back (laziest) dog. A special award will also be given for best smile, which amounts to cleanest teeth, Gist said. A costume contest also is planned.

"This is a good chance for kids to feel good about their puppy," Adams said. "It lets them know their dog is special for something."

Award ribbons will be given to all competitors, and 30 sets of leashes and collars will serve as prizes.

"Each child should be able to come home with something by the time they get though all the classes," said Gist, a 4-H program assistant.

Registration for all children ages 5 to 18 is free. Admission is also free. The 4-H County Council will raise money through hot dog lunches, available for a $2 donation.

The only entry requirement is that dogs be walked on a leash and that owners pick up after their animals, Gist said.

"Most kids who have dogs have mutts," Adams said. "And this gives them a chance to show them off."

Because she thinks mutts often make the best pets, Adams enjoys seeing the interesting things people train their animals to do. Her own rat terrier, Humphrey, for example, plays dead when she points her finger and says "bang."

Kids love to show off their dogs, Gist said, and the show will give them a chance to do just that while building their self-esteem and confidence.

"This is going to be very informal and interesting," she said. "It gives kids something fun and productive to do with their time."

The 4-H Fun Dog Show will be from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Hernando County Fairgrounds livestock arena, 6436 S Broad St., Brooksville. For information or to register, call 754-4433.

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