Oak Crest dogs: Worth barking about

Created date

August 1st, 2009
MD_0809_dog show 21
MD_0809_dog show 21

Oak Crest recently held its second annual Canine Cup competition for those who live and work at the Parkville community to celebrate their best friends. Sponsors of the event included PETCO. President Harry Truman once said, "If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog." Throughout history, dozens of dogs have wandered the halls of the White House, providing its inhabitants with love, companionship, and a refuge from the daily rigors of the Presidency. The new First Family is no exception. From all accounts, the Obamas Portuguese water dog puppy, Bo, seems to bring a lighthearted air to the 132-room mansion. So what is it about having a dog that makes a house feel more like a home? For Gloria Tilghman, it s the unconditional companionship her dogs provide. "They just have so much love to give," says Tilghman, who lives at Oak Crest, the 62-plus community in Parkville. "They greet me when I come home, cuddle up to me on the sofa, and we sleep together all squeezed on one side of the bed. They ve taught me how much loyalty, forgiveness, and the pure joy of reveling in the moment mean." After moving to Oak Crest from San Antonio a little over a year ago, Tilghman s two German schnauzers, five-year-old Max and one-year-old Nicki, helped her get familiar with the community and make new friends. It didn t take long for "the boys," as they re known, to gain recognition.Pedigreed poochJenny recently competed in the Oak Crest Canine Cup, an annual dog show open to all residents and their pets, as well as staff whose dogs are registered through Oak Crest s volunteer program.Former Oak Crest Operations Associate Danielle Singley created and organized the Canine Cup, now in its second year. "We had a much bigger turnout this year than last," says Singley. "I was impressed with diversity of talent among the dogs some played catch and others even walked on their hind legs. A lot of people who attended the show waited all year to see their favorite dogs participate, and each of them had their own cheering section."

Best friends welcome

"People don t know me as much as they know my dogs," jokes Tilghman. "When they walk together, they look like two little soldiers both stepping at the same pace. Everybody seems to love them and want to pet them." The community s pet-friendly atmosphere is one of the things that attracted Tilghman to Oak Crest. With 87 sprawling acres, a lake, shade trees, and walking trails, Oak Crest has plenty of room for canine companions to stretch their legs on a leash without infringing on the rights of residents. From time to time, Oak Crest resident Bob McKeever and his black, 11-year-old standard poodle, Jenny, venture to the lake as well as to the resident gardening area where he grows a variety of flowers. According to McKeever, Jenny enjoys the attention she gets in the community and returns that love tenfold. "She is deeply affectionate," he says. "When she sees people she knows, she pulls on the leash, dashes toward them, and kind of dances around. You just have to look at her face and you melt away." Jenny ran the obstacle course, competed in the best dressed competition, and won the best trick category for longest sit-stay lasting over five minutes. "It was a lot of fun," says McKeever, whose family was in the audience. "Jenny was able to make some new dog friends, and I was really proud of her she didn t bark once." This wasn t pedigreed Jenny s first time competing. At just five months old, Jenny entered the American Kennel Club dog show at the Fifth Regiment Armory in downtown Baltimore. "We got her from a breeder, but before we took her home, they asked if they could enter her in an American Kennel Club-sponsored dog show," says McKeever. "That was the first and last time we showed her. We weren t interested in all the dog show stuff; we just wanted her to be a member of our family."

Cr me de la Crest

Singley says two crowd favorites were Max, a golden retriever who played football, and two Lhasa apsos, Miss Molly and Miss Daisy, who wore matching cheerleader outfits. The winners of the Canine Cup were decided by three guest judges: Gloria Tilghman, who lives at Oak Crest; Deb Simmons, a Pets on Wheels and Oak Crest volunteer; and Julie Ann Coyne, a Maryland SPCA volunteer. Local sponsors included PETCO,Baltimore Dog Magazine, White Marsh Pet Center, Dana s Dog Salon, the Maryland SPCA, Charm City s Junior Miss title holder Ashleigh Omorogbe, and Greater Baltimore s Junior Miss title holder Kristi Snyder. Local artist Donald Tyson Sr. also donated artwork that was raffled off during the show.