DEBBIE WALTZ is looking forward to her biggest event of this busy month when she and her dog, Peanuts, will participate in the Preakness Best Friends Walk Sunday between 1 and 3 p.m. at Oregon Ridge Park on Beaver Dam Road in Cockeysville.
Debbie hopes many people will bring their pets to walk in this benefit for United Cerebral Palsy of Central Maryland. Proceeds will go to its residential services program, which gives adults who have cerebral palsy the opportunity to live active, independent and productive lives as members of the community.
Debbie, 11, is this year's poster girl for United Cerebral Palsy.
She is best described as an exceptionally bright, sociable darling. Her mother, Barbara Waltz, adds ''and she is content.'' Born prematurely, Debbie has had cerebral palsy since birth. And although she has extreme physical limitations, she is an A and B student in the fourth grade at Riderwood Elementary School with interests that include music and baseball cards ''but not so much on dolls,'' says her mother.
Six-year-old Peanuts is a female border collie which the family adopted from a shelter just a few months ago. And while Debbie's mother, father Ed, and brother Tim, 12, also claim her, ''Peanuts is already specially devoted to Debbie. She waits for her in the morning and when she hears her . . . coming out of her room she begins to whine,'' says Barbara.
The family hopes to train Peanuts to help Debbie with some tasks. At the moment they are concentrating on keeping her from walking protectively in front of Debbie's wheelchair all the time.
Like any good sheep-herding border collie worth its salt, Peanuts does have the tendency to herd, and Debbie may already have become Peanut's little lamb, which she intends to keep in line.
The walk on Sunday is a 3-K (1.86-mile) walk which offers prizes for money raised. Look for Debbie -- her wheelchair has hot pink upholstery.
Join in a contest or two. If you think you and your pet favor each other, then enter the Look-Alike Pet and Owner contest. Or win a prize for having the biggest, smallest, best-dressed, hairiest or most unusual pet.
Cerebral Palsy requests that participants ask for donations from their sponsors up front and pay all money prior to the walk. This will avoid having to collect from sponsors later. A minimum donation of $10 is required to participate, all of which goes to Cerebral Palsy.
Prizes of T-shirts, sports bags, sweat shirts, radios, cameras and a clock/radio/phone can be won.
The Maryland Veterinary Medical Association is assisting with the walk. Edward Jendrek of the Carney Animal Hospital; Samuel Gehr, Randallstown Animal Hospital; and Gary Hauptmann of the Towson Veterinary Hospital will be on hand to help when needed and to answer animal questions, according to the MVMA's director Ray Thompson.
* The Carroll County Kennel Club is holding an all-breed dog show from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the county's Agricultural Center in Westminster on Sunday. Spectator admission is $2 and free age 12 and under. For show details call Carol Mentzell, 875-2750.
The Greater Baltimore Akita Club reports an unusually large entry of 110 Akitas, the national dog of Japan. For details of the Akita and the club, call Pat and Bud Happel, 744-4749; Sheila and John Proudman, 253-1684, or Marian Zak, 239-3565.