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Crowd laps up canine keg pull

GREENFIELD — Undaunted by age, infirmity and rain, Moe the blind pug dragged two empty beer cans on a rope roughly half the length of a football field.

Moe or Moses, 11, and his compatriot Boris, a deaf 12-year-old French bulldog, were among the contestants in Sunday’s K-9 Keg Pull, an event that kept a modest crowd in Beacon Field for an hour after most Winter Carnival visitors had left under a steady rain.

Moe’s efforts were enough to garner third place in the can category. The beer cans were the lightest in the range of weights, beginning with a full-sized empty keg pulled easily by dogs such as Rosie and Clarence, Greenfield Police Lt. William Gordon’s Saint Bernard PTSD service dogs.

The Saint Bernards moved quickly and efficiently to the finish line.

Others needed some persuasion.

Owner Kelley Vallandingham of Greenfield led Maximus while her husband waited near the finish.

“I told him to go find daddy,” Vallandingham said.

Maximus, an unusually large golden retriever, had no trouble with the full-sized keg and made a bee-line for the finish.

“He’s going to go home and probably take a hot bath,” Vallandingham said after Maximus opted to lie down in a mud puddle at the finish.

Twiggy, an 8-year-old pitbull-boxer mix of some sort belonging to Bill and Peg Torello of South Deerfield, sprinted half the length of the mud lane, then stopped to bounce around.

“She did that last year, too, said hello to the crowd,” Bill Torello said. “These guys competed last year so we wanted to do it again, get them out of the house.”

“Also, we first came last year because of the fundraiser for the paws park,” Peg Torello said. “I’ve seen them in other cities and they look great, I’m glad the money is going to that.”

The keg-pull, in its second year, was a fundraiser for the Paws Park Initiative.

Organizer Rachael Kashner of Greenfield, with the Paws Park Initiative, said the plan is to create a fenced-in park for dogs in Greenfield. The initiative has the backing of a donor who has pledged 90 percent of the cost to create the park, Kashner said, but a location remains to be found.

More than 30 dogs participated in the competition that kept a crowd interested and cheering despite the rain for almost an hour.

Joanna Chattman of Greenfield, whose blind pug managed a respectable third place in his class, said the carnival was absolutely worth it. Chattman said her dogs had competed in keg pulls elsewhere, and her son Miles, age 6, had a Millennium Falcon sled to enter in the cardboard sled race.

The sled judging in Beacon Field was canceled, as was hockey match between the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and Franklin County Firefighters teams, ice bowling and other activities, but the sled-judging will proceed online. The Recreation Department asks contestants to email a photo of their sled to reco@greenfield-ma.govby 4 p.m. Friday.

Recreation Director Christy Moore said the carnival was well-attended Friday, Saturday and Sunday, up until the rain began around noon.

“Friday night it was beautiful,” Moore said, describing the fireworks reflecting off a field of snow.

You can reach Chris Curtis at: ccurtis@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 25

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