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A family pack of pups

Reid Williams
Summit Daily/Reid WilliamsProud "parents" of the Bazemore puppies - which include Comet, General, Merlot, Britney, Benjamin, Jordan - and their mother Annie's parents celebrate the litter's first birthday at Carter Park Sunday.
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CARTER PARK – In Summit County, where there are as many dogs as people, if not more, canines are part of the family, like a child to some, or a sibling to children. But for Bob and Becky Bazemore, that familial relationship extends to puppy grandchildren and the new family created by those who took them in.

Meet Comet, General, Merlot, Britney, Benjamin and Jordan – all were born in the first litter of Annie, the Bazemores’ golden retriever. Saturday, the pups’ owners treated them to a first birthday party and a family reunion, the first time all of the dogs had been together at the same time since leaving their mother’s den last year. (A seventh pup, Maggie, now lives in Leadville and couldn’t make it.)

“It’s great to have them in the county still,” said Becky Bazemore. “I even baked them birthday pupcakes.”

A year ago, the Bazemores decided to breed Annie. Even before the pups’ eyes were opened, friends had lined up to take one home, including some who never thought they’d want one.

Dillon resident Sandy Leach was “dead-set against” a new dog. The family’s former pooch had died, and Leach was plenty busy at home with a son and daughter. Things changed, though.

“I held Comet at three weeks old, and it was all downhill from there,” Leach said. Comet, named after the reindeer, came home on Christmas Day.

Leach said it’s natural for Summit County families to have a dog. With all the open spaces and all the activities, dogs make great companions. “For us, he really completes our family,” she said.

Allison Palmer had heard about the Bazemores’ coming litter and approached them at a mixer at Mi Casa, she said. She and her youngest son had been visiting the county animal shelter for a year in search of a dog, but hadn’t found the right one. Now her boys have a sister who looks after them and protects them, barking whenever they leave the yard.

“It’s just such a neat opportunity,” Palmer said. “We get to see the other dogs individually at times. We’ll dog sit or go on walks. To have them all here, it’s something else.”

The “parents” and admirers of the dogs enjoyed hamburgers and hot dogs while watching the pack play at Carter Park Saturday. Like proud mothers and fathers, they watched as the dogs chased balls and wrestled and remarked about whose hair had grown darker, whose faces still looked most alike and how the dogs all seem to recognize each other and the humans who show so much interest in them.

“This group is really special, I think, because of the way the Bazemores took care of them,” Palmer said, after shouting to the kids to go clean up after Merlot. “They kept them in the house, they took them to the office. Some of us and the Bazemores’ family were there to hold and pet the dogs. They could smell us all before they opened their eyes.”

The pack also has fans who don’t even own one. Breckenridge resident Tammy Baca, the puppies’ godmother, was there to take pictures when the dogs were first born. Baca has two dogs of her own but said there’s something irresistible about the bunch.

“It’s kind of sad, but I’m so proud to be their godmother,” she said. “They’re the socialites of the town.”

The family will only grow bigger. Annie is in heat and the Bazemores are planning to breed her again. And there’s already a waiting list for the next round.

Reid Williams can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 237, or rwilliams@summitdaily.com.


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