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Bethlehem's Rocks Estate has gone to the dogs

Sunday News Correspondent

October 20. 2012 11:19PM

BETHLEHEM - Dogs of every shape, size and story gathered at the Rocks Estate Saturday for the 3rd annual 'Mutts Rock' celebration.

A fundraiser for Above the Notch Humane Society (ATNHS) of Littleton, the event drew more than 40 dogs and their owners for costume and trick contests, a trail walk and sled dog demonstration put on by Muddy Paw Sled Dog Kennel of Gorham. A barbeque was also a part of the event.

Bobbie McIntyre is a board member and the volunteer coordinator for ATNHS. She kept busy checking in visitors, taking entries for the raffles - and handing out dog biscuits.

'I love it,' she said. 'Everything for the dogs.'

Michael Tondra of Rhode Island and his yellow lab Amber were one of the first arrivals. They spend weekends in the Bethlehem area and came to the event after reading about it in their local paper.

'I love the Rocks and thought it would be fun to come with Amber,' he said. 'And it's fun meeting all the other dogs and owners.'

As dogs and owners gathered, music provided by the Grass Fed Boys band served as background to the dogs' barking and the humans' talking as they exchanged stories about their four-footed family members.

Kelley and Ian Sweeney dressed their mixed breed dog Penny in a princess costume. Penny was rescued from euthanasia in Texas and brought to a shelter in Conway where the Sweeneys adopted her.

While Penny patiently let Kelley adjust her hat for the costume contest, Kelley told her story and said, 'She's the best dog ever.'

Then Penny shook her head and the hat was gone. 'Oh, well, she's still beautiful,' Kelley said.

Even without the hat, though, Penny was a winner. She won for silliest costume.

Vendors of doggie art, supplies and photography were on hand, and donated part or all of the proceeds from their booths to ATNHS. Raffles were held for various prizes, including a sled dog trip donated by Muddy Paw.

Diesel, a miniature pinscher mix and current ATNHS adoption hopeful, wore a sign around his neck that said 'Adopt Me' as he toured the crowd with ATNHS volunteer Heather Demoranvile.

After the costume and dog trick contests, dogs and owners hit the trails and returned for a barbeque before watching the dog sled demonstration.

Dixie, a Shetland sheepdog originally from Texas, was voted most photogenic.

ATNHS is a non-profit, no-kill humane society that provides protection for unwanted animals in the Littleton area.

For more information about ATNHS, go to

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Kristi Garofalo may be reached at

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