Pet feature: Playground pooch

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LEWISTON — Rex, like most other dogs, loves the park.

Unlike most other dogs, Rex happens to love it because of the swings. 

“I sat him on there and he stayed,” Rex’s owner, Rick Saucier, said. “He wants to go on there all the time.”

With help from Saucier, the 6-year-old poodle-terrier mix clambers onto the plastic swing at the Cedar Street Park every day and serenely sits there, eyes half closed, as Saucier gently pushes him. Saucier has no idea why Rex likes it — he’s never heard of a dog willing to even sit on a swing let alone stay there while it sways — but Rex seems to like it as much as his daily walks.

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“Every time I come out, he goes on the swing,” Saucier said.

Saucier owned Rex’s parents and has had Rex since he was born. The dog has a full repertoire of tricks, including smiling on command and dancing for a treat, but Saucier taught him those. Rex’s interest in the swing seems to be natural, coming as a surprise to Saucier a few months ago while the two of them were walking in their neighborhood park. Saucier wondered what would happen if he put Rex on the swing.

Designed for toddlers or children with disabilities, the swing has a high back and a scoop seat. Rex stayed on that first day, settling into the scoop seat. Over the next few months, he started asking to go on the swing, running to it and sitting at the base of the swing set until Saucier lets him get on. Saucier pushes the swing just enough to get it to sway. Rex has never fallen off. When he gets tired of swinging, he jumps off himself.

Now Rex swings every day. Saucier’s told his friends and family about it, but they aren’t sure what to think.

“It seems like they don’t believe me,” Saucier said.

Rex does have some rules. Since children make him nervous, he never approaches the swing set when it’s busy. And he only uses the modified swing.

The other swings are little more than a strip seat, and Saucier’s pretty sure Rex wouldn’t be able to balance on those.

“He’s smart, but I don’t think he’s that smart,” he said.

Have an idea for a pet feature? Contact Lindsay Tice at 689-2854 or e-mail her at ltice@sunjournal.com

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