Six years, eight paws, one route


July 16, 2002|By Debra Taylor Young | Debra Taylor Young,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

A FRIENDLY FACE, smile and a wave - Richard Bagley, 66, of Sykesville and his two canine friends are a familiar sight to morning commuters along Route 32 in South Carroll.

Bagley has been walking his two dogs from Eldersburg to Sykesville every morning for six years. He started his walks with Lady, a shepherd-collie mix he acquired from the Humane Society about 15 years ago.

Bagley was a self-employed housepainter at the time. Before work, he and his wife, Kay, would drive from their home to an Eldersburg bagel shop for breakfast. Afterward, Bagley would walk back to their home with Lady, about three miles.

Six years ago, Bagley adopted Chino, a standard poodle, also from the Humane Society.

Both dogs attended obedience classes, and that training is evident as they walk shoulder to shoulder, keeping perfect step with Bagley.

The three make a regular halfway stop at a convenience store along Route 32. Louis Rosier, a frequent customer, has grown accustomed to seeing them.

"Those dogs would lay there all day if he didn't tell them they could get up," Rosier said as Bagley entered the store to purchase his morning cup of coffee. Rosier has observed the trio for the past six years.

After Bagley drinks his coffee and the dogs have their morning treat, the three take off on the last leg of their journey.

"People come up to me all the time," Bagley said, smiling his warm smile. "They call me the Dog Man or the Dude."

The dogs look forward to the walk, but Bagley said they are in poor health. Chino has cancer and Lady is suffering the normal pains of old age.

"There are mornings now when I have to call my wife to pick us up if the dogs are having a bad morning," said Bagley, who carries a cell phone in case the dogs become distressed.

"I'm not sure how much longer they will be able to do this," he said, petting them gently.

The distinguished trio's trek begins at Liberty Road in Eldersburg to Route 32 south. After their short stop at the convenience store, they return to Route 32 south to Springfield Avenue, past Sykesville Middle School, where they have become a familiar sight to parents and pupils alike.

After greeting the kids who walk to school, the three return to their home in Sykesville.

On cold days, the dogs sport colorful red coats, and Bagley wears a beret. Often, the dogs wear colorful scarves. Bagley always smiles and waves to people as they pass and the dogs are always mindful of his gentle commands.

Treasure of photos

Sykesville Gate House Museum of History recently received a gift of hundreds of photographs and negatives taken around Sykesville in the 1940s and 1950s.

The treasure of photographs was given to the museum by the Appalachian Outreach Mission Store. They are in envelopes and labeled with the names of families and individuals.

Curators Kari Greenwalt and Jim Purman said the collection is so large they have asked museum members to volunteer to help them archive the photos. The work is expected to be complete in September.

Information: 410-549-5150.

Debra Taylor Young's Southeast neighborhood column appears each Tuesday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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