Furry friends take over Glen Park, Portsmouth

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PORTSMOUTH — For a while it looked like a sure bet that John Procter would repeat as champion in the “owner lookalike” contest.

The Portsmouth resident, whose salt-and-pepper hair and beard mimics the fur on his 9-year-old dog Tessa, won the contest at last year’s Heart & Sole Walk for the Animals, a fund-raiser hosted by the Potter League for Animals in Middletown.

But then there was a late entry: Mary Steele of Bristol, toting her young mixed breed, Piper. Both had long, brownish red hair that impressed the judges.

Ms. Steele said it was an “honor” to win.

“My sisters are always telling me that I look like my dog, so I figured I had better enter,” she said with a laugh.

Dogs of all breeds, shapes and sizes took over Glen Park Sunday for the 24th annual Walk for Animals, the Potter League’s largest fund-raiser that typically features more than 450 people and 250 dogs to raise money — this year’s goal was $100,000 — and awareness for the homeless pets in the shelter’s care.

Besides the lookalike competition, the event also featured contests for “smallest dog,” an egg race, creative pet tricks and “best tail-wagger.”

There was also an obstacle course and agility showcase, a “Year of the Cat” exhibit, games for kids, a healthy pet marketplace, a “Doggie Day Spa,” music by Rhythm Productions and more.

The one-mile walk took teams of two- and four-legged participants through the fields of Glen Park, which was followed by lunch and awards.

Anyone who couldn’t make the walk but still wants to make a donation can do so by visiting www.firstgiving.com/potterleague.

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.