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The Dog Days of Summer, Winter, Fall....

Evin Thayer
All that's missing is a slice of apple pie.

My first reaction to hearing about a 2007 Pet Calendar with Houston Astros players

Craig Biggio

,

Brad Lidge

and

Brad Ausmus

on its cover --

in and out of uniform

— was an interested "all right."

Alas, it's not what you might think. Only the dogs are nude. On the cover, in addition to action game shots, Craig and the two Brads pose with really big dogs. Manly men with big dogs. No poodles allowed?

Then it turns out that while the dog posing with Lidge actually goes home with him at night, the other two are loaners. The borrowed dogs came from the city's dog pound, more formally known as the Bureau of Animal Regulation and Control (BARC). The Astros and longtime animal rights leader Sean Hawkins' new group Saving Animals Across Borders are working together to find homes for all these animals. Calendar proceeds will benefit BARC's pet adoption center.

Oh and a poodle did make the cut. Gracie is Ms. September, posing with Astros outfielder Jason Lane, her owner. And a cat even got in there for June (National Adopt-a-Shelter Cat month) courtesy of pitcher Chad Qualls who brought Blu out to the ballpark.

To order a calendar, go to www.savinganimals.org. You get the Astros schedule for the season starting in April, little known tips (Did you know there's a take your dog to work day? Relax, it's on a Saturday.), and leafing through it, you might find a dog or an Astro who catches your fancy. — Margaret Downing


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