The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


September 5, 2013

Dachshund To The Finish: Dog Races Draw At PA Oktoberfest


— Fenway, 1, and Grover, 5 months, came from the same breeder. The two share the same sire, but Grover was born with a deformity on his back leg that would prevent him from being sold. The family adopted Fenway because Karen Simmers grew up with two dachshunds and loved the breed. The breeder asked the family to take Grover in too.

"She thought of us because we were so attached to Fenway from the very beginning," Karen Simmers said, adding his leg doesn't slow him down at all. "You'd never know it to watch him."

The two will race at 6 p.m. Sept. 14. The family is still deciding what they'll be wearing. Pat Simmers is leaning toward Batman and Robin costumes, while Karen Simmers considered ketchup and mustard outfits. She decided against dressing them as hot dogs.

Quite the athlete

Phoebe, a 2½-year-old miniature dachshund, will wear her sparkly collar to accent her black, brown and silver-dappled coat during her race. But her pretty looks shouldn't fool onlookers.

"She flies. She's as fast as the wind," said owner Gayle Sensei.

Phoebe came in second last year, and her owners, Sensei and Michael Erhard of Dunmore, are confident in her chances this year. Their girl is quite the athlete.

"We do a lot of walking with her," said Erhard, adding she enjoys running back and forth in the yard and chasing the squirrels.

Erhard's daughter adopted Phoebe, but asked him and Sensei to take care of the pup when she went away to college. They fell in love immediately with the good-natured Phoebe. She never growls or snaps - an all-around sweetheart, Erhard said.

"Now we're dog people," Sensei said. "Now all we talk about is our dog. She absolutely changed our lives."

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