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Hershey, a black lab, crowned Bedford’s top dog

Friday, January 18, 2013

By LORETTA JACKSON

Staff Writer

Candidates from all parts of Bedford readied for their close-ups.

Some dogs had their nails clipped and their teeth polished. Most had their coats freshly brushed. They were looking good as the owner of each canine napped a photo in hopes of winning the 2013 Poster Dog Contest, sponsored by the town of Bedford,

Now, the suspense is over.

The winner, named on Jan. 11, is Hersey, a winsome black puppy belonging to the Catania family. Hershey won the majority of votes, as cast by employees at Bedford’s town offices.

Kathleen Catania, an active community member and co-president of the Bedford Women’s Club, accepted congratulations on behalf of her husband, Robert, and her three boys. She said Hershey, 2, is a female English black Lab the family selected from several lovable puppies at Starstruck Labradors in Goffstown. She said Hershey is a family dog who loves hiking, wading through streams and playing in the show.

“She is extremely laid back and loves visitors and other dogs,” Catania said. “Everybody on the street knows Hershey. You can frequently find her on the sidelines at Bedford Rec soccer games, Bedford Junior Bulldog football games and along the shore at the Bedford High School crew races.”

The contenders in the contest were mostly just plain cute, or sophisticated, or rugged in appearance. There was contender Bowie, a show dog with high credentials. He was photographed while peeking out from weeds in a grassy field. He is slated by the Russell family for showing at the upcoming Westminster dog show.

Dakota, a black Lab mix, was photographed reclining on the sand during a day at the beach. He joined the Ferriera family in 2009, upon his rescue from Manchester Animal Shelter.

Lucy, an amiable 6-month-old wiener dog living with the Collins family, needed to do nothing more than cock her head to one side to assume a classic pose.

Romeo, a feisty biker-dude dog owned by Patrick and Jennifer Rogers, was photographed standing proudly atop the seat of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. A bandana casually tied around Romeo’s neck was visible above his muscular, bowed legs. He seemed ready to put his knees in the breeze, all four of his knees.

There were about 30 dogs in the town’s fourth annual Poster Dog contest. Charlie and Casey and Bella preened for the cameras. Chloe, Bentley, Ryker and Dexter showed pizzaz. Georgio, Grover and Hershey captured hearts. Indy, KC, Lucy and Loki seemed star bound. Winston, Macy and Martha forged ahead. Gizzy posed on a waveboard floating in a blue swimming pool. Moo shu, Teddy, Stella and Tracker forged ahead. Then, Vino, Wiley, Dunkin, Buddy and Salvatore gained ground.

Town Clerk Lori Radke, supervisor of the contest, said the winning dog will be featured on this year’s dog poster designed to remind owners that dog licenses are available. A framed copy goes to the Catania family. Purchased dog licenses are good through May 1, 2014. Hershey, the winner, will receive a free dog license, valued at $6.50, a sum donated by Radke. She also arranged for the winning dog’s tag to bear the number 2013, an engraving meant to herald the year of victory.

Radke said the dog poster contest has grown in popularity since its inception four years ago. It’s purpose is to generate awareness among Bedford’s dog owners about licensing. A license ensures quick identification of a dog that may be lost or injured. In addition, dogs granted licenses are deemed rabies-free, as vouched by a current veterinarian’s certificate.

“Dog owners are a special breed,” Radke said. “They love their pets and they all believe their pet is the best. I know from experience. I have three dogs.”

The entries that came into town offices via email represented a wide range of breeds. It was no easy task for the judges to decide on their favorite dog.

“I believe it’s the unconditional love you get from your pet that makes them so special and cute,” Radke said.

For information on dog licenses or on the 2013 Dog Poster Contest, contact Radke at Bedford Town Offices, 24 N. Amherst Road, or call 472-3550.

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