FARMINGTON - Coming together for their third birthday party, six siblings raced around Prescott Field Saturday afternoon before taking a cooling dip in the Sandy River.
It was an unusual party. There was no iced cake but instead lots of running, sniffing and panting as the siblings greeted each other, some for the first time since their birthday last year.
The siblings, part chocolate lab and part sheep dog, were from a litter of nine. Each was adopted by different families three years ago from the Franklin County Animal Shelter in Farmington. The small six week old puppies now average about 100 pounds each.
Mort Stabulis of Farmington who adopted Charlie, one of two males from the litter, tries to bring the dogs back together for their birthday each year. This year the party actually fell on their birth date, May 19, he said.
While the animal shelter can’t reveal who adopted the dogs, an employee does send out a notice to each owner inviting them to the party. Two out of nine have never responded, he said. Stabulis expected six or seven to arrive for Saturday’s affair.
Jen Brown of Topsfield, Massachusetts, brings Beauregard, known as Beau, back each year for the celebration. She wouldn’t miss it, she said. Her family has a home in Rangeley and they adopted Beau to “fill the hole” left when another dog died a few years ago.
As each dog arrived, the siblings would chase across the field to greet and sniff the new arrival.
When Robin Sterry of Farmington started across the field with Maggie, four large dogs raced toward them. He, and probably Maggie too, didn’t know quite what to think, he said of the sight.
This was the first time Maggie and Sterry had attended the party. It was only seconds before Maggie relaxed and joined her siblings.
The dogs are so similar looking that when another one is seen around town the owners can’t help but question how old and where the owner got the dog, Austin Foss of Temple said. He and his daughter, Gracie, brought Sadie to the party.
From what he knew of the dogs background, the mother was a small chocolate lab that the owners intended to breed. They had another dog, a large sheep dog, who had other ideas, he said.
At the time of the birth, the family fell on hard times and had to surrender the dogs to the animal shelter.
Fortunately, the shelter was there and found good homes for each. Now they attend a “different” party but it’s good to get back together once a year, he explained.
The dogs are so similar it could be hard to tell them apart. Andre Burnell thought so when he and his parents first brought his dog, Sammi better known as Puppy, to the first reunion. Saturday Puppy came with a specially colored collar, said Andre’s mother, Brenda Burnell of Farmington.
Rebecca Kurtz of Phillips brings Olivia to the party each year. hree owners are related but had no idea that their relatives were also adopting a puppy from the same litter.
The owners spend time visiting and commenting on how each has grown and changed over the year while the dogs are oblivious to everything but the fun of running with their pack of siblings.