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Dog owners take pooches to Coolray for Bark in the Park

Photo by Nate McCullough

Photo by Nate McCullough

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Jumpin' Jack Flash and Ruby Tuesday are named after classic Rolling Stones songs, but don't let that fool you -- those are some baseball loving dogs.

Jack ("some type of Chow mix") and Ruby ("we don't really know") are the canine companions of Atlanta residents Steve McPeeks and Beth Staufenberg, and they've been attending games at Turner Field whenever possible for the last six years.

They got their chance to make it to the minors Wednesday night, as fans and their furry friends flocked to pet-friendly Coolray Field, with the Gwinnett Braves hosting the "Bark in the Park" event.

"Any time there's a baseball game that you can take your dogs to, we are there," McPeeks said from the outfield berm Wednesday, Jack, Ruby and Staufenberg by his side.

A few dozen dogs roamed the berm Wednesday night amid a light drizzle, playing with each other, kids and families, as well as barking their approval for the G-Braves.

In addition to a pre-game parade, there were contests for the dog that looked the most like its owner and the "best dressed," as well as other pooch-centered activities.

By all accounts, doggie interactions remained friendly -- aside from one food-related "incident."

"The only time where it's messed with her any is when a kid petted her and the kid had food in her hand," Auburn resident David Moore said laughing, speaking of his cairn terrier, Bailey.

"She didn't care about the kid, she wanted the food."

Ed and Linda Gonzales, who recently moved back to the Gwinnett area from San Diego, huddled in the shadow of a large inflatable (appropriately enough, shaped like a dog) to avoid the rain with their lab mix Maudi.

"This is our first time doing something like this," Ed Gonzales said. "So far it's been pretty good. I was surprised that she's been sort of mellow. She's not too much into crowds, but she's been great."

Back with the musically named, pastime-approving pups, McPeeks and Staufenberg toughed out the rain in their "Wag-A-Lot" jersey-style T-shirts.

"We love baseball and we love dogs," Staufenberg said, "so to be able to combine the two is perfect."