Monday, February 20, 2012

Mary Beth Hall & Blaze, Cooper, Halle, and Benelli

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Mary Beth Hall and I am a Chief County Dog Warden in Ohio. I have authored several blog spots at Coonhound Companions and quite a few professional articles, but I have no books to my credit…never enough time in the day.

With me is Blaze the coonhound.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Blaze came to work with me today in Marysville, Ohio. I love a cup of coffee to warm me up on cold days. There’s nothing quite like the feel of that warm cup in your hand to bolster your soul.

What's brewing?

My favorite! Carmel Latte Light! I am a sucker for that treat. Blaze gets the whipped cream.

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

Not today. Blaze is very focused on the tennis balls resting in the door of my truck that I use to capture strays. Perhaps a game of fetch is at hand for lunch time.

What is Blaze’s best quality?

Blaze is a clown. He can always bring a smile to my face and make me life. He’s also incredibly affectionate without any personal boundaries at all. He loves to be picked up and held on his back like a baby…all 59 lbs of him! My dogs work hard to take care of me and make sure I’m happy.

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

My sister named Blaze for me. Everyone was encouraging me to give him a Harry Potter type name, but I kept focusing on the lightning blaze marking down his back. My sister said, “well, Harry Potter got his blaze thanks to Voldemort.” I instantly grabbed his papers and wrote Blazn’ Thanks to Voldemort. Blaze has many nicknames like Bob, Blazn’ Bobby G, Blaze-O, and more.

Cooper, aka, Grauschattens Ghostly Encore, or Super Duper Pooper Scooper, or Soup, picked his name. I had other ones picked out that didn’t suit him. Someone was reading the paper and saw the name “Cooper,” said it out loud, and the sleeping 9 week old puppy jumped up and came right to them. I gave up. He got the name he wanted.

Halle [photo right] was named for Halley’s comet. She recently succumbed at age 15 to laryngeal paralysis.

Benelli was named for a favorite shotgun. His nickname is Ben Jammin’, Bennihanna, Hanna, etc.

How were you and your dogs united?

I captured Blaze, a Treeing Walker Coonhound, at 4 months of age on a frigid day in February. He laid his head on my shoulder and snuggled up, and I’m sure you can figure out why I became a “foster failure” for the first time, even though I’ve fostered hundreds of other shelter dogs and never kept one. Perhaps that day out on patrol in the freezing cold was my best day on the job ever!

Ben is Cooper’s son.

Halle was a boyfriend’s dog who totally and completely stole my heart.

Cooper [photo left] was the “chosen one.” I had a Weimaraner that was my search and rescue dog that I lost to cancer at 8 years of age. I was so crushed that I made a search to find the healthiest, smartest, best Weimaraner in the world. That was Cooper!

Who are your dogs' best pet pals?

Cooper’s best friends have all passed away. He had lots of girlfriends including a Weimaraner, a Rottweiler, and a German Shepherd. Blaze adores me, but equally loves to play with anyone anytime. Ben is pretty happy go lucky and doesn’t play favorites. Blaze and Ben often sleep on one dog bed together. Halle and Cooper had a very special relationship.

Do your dogs have a favorite place to go for an outing?

Aunt Lynnie’s house or to go for a flat out run across the farm fields and through the woods behind my property.

Squirrel, postman, cat...?

Blaze unfortunately has an affinity for deer that I have to be very watchful about. Cooper has declared war on all groundhogs. The cat runs the house! And with all of them being therapy dogs, even the postman is welcome.

Squeaky-toy, ball, Frisbee...?

For Blaze it's squeaky balls. He is ball crazy! Ben and Cooper like soft fuzzy toys.

What role have your dogs played in your job?

They go to nursing homes, youth jail programs, schools, and libraries when I have a free moment from my law enforcement duties. They also helps me catch stray dogs with his winning personality. I once chased a dog through a pen with a bull and his lady friends. I was very concerned about the stray harming these very expensive and loved cattle. I basically tagged along behind this dog forever without making any progress at convincing the dog to come to me until I got Blaze out. I grabbed Blaze and a tennis ball and some treats. Blaze play bowed and wiggled and within less than a minute I had the stray on a leash and safely in my truck.

In your capacity as the County Dog Warden, what are three things about which people need reminding?

Everyone needs to license their dogs! It doesn’t matter if “my dog always stays in the house.” Bad things happen to good people and good dogs, and that dog license is great protection for those situations. Not only that, it’s a small price to pay to support local shelters and their work.

Second would be that being a Dog Warden doesn’t mean that you don’t love dogs. Au contraire, 99.9% of Dog Wardens adore dogs! We do this difficult job because it’s a way we can help the critters we love and a way to give back to the community every day.

Third, I would recommend people have patience with their neighbors. We always believe that Fluffy can do no wrong. Rarely do neighbors allow their dogs to bark, run loose, fight, get in trash, etc with the intent to drive their neighbors crazy. They believe in their heart that their dog is perfect and have a difficult time seeing their own dog’s shortcomings. These situations are often fixed by some education.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dogs could speak, which actors should do their voices?

Cooper, my Weimaraner would definitely be David Hasselhoff. He’s 100% Baywatch lifeguard in his personality (and he is both a show champion and very athletic with performance titles). Halle the Lab that I recently lost would of course been the beautiful & talented Halle Berry. Benelli, my Weimaraner puppy is a total goofball. He’s always happy and I swear he rarely has a thought in his head. Pick your favorite dog cartoon character and that would probably be him! Blaze, the Treeing Walker Coonhound would have to be portrayed by someone who is a clown yet has a booming voice. Blaze’s songs can be heard over a mile away!

If your dogs could change one thing about Ohioans, what would it be?

Legislatively, it’s been difficult to make improvements in Ohio’s animal cruelty and dangerous dog legislation. The legislators and interested parties work hard at it, but national organizations seem to stop up the good works with their lobbying. My dogs would love to see better laws to protect them and their friends!

If your dogs could change one thing about you, what would it be?

My dogs like to be happy all the time. They absolutely melts under stress. I stress at competitions and sometimes bring the stress of the job home with me. They would like me to always “Seize the Day” and be happy go lucky.

--Marshal Zeringue


  1. I loved hearing about the job of a Dog Warden. I'm originally from Ohio, so this especially touched my heart. Blaze sounds like quite the character! Thanks for sharing your story!

  2. My redbones lured Mary Beth, Blaze, and Ben out to meet us at National Redbone Days in Amish Country in Ohio last year. Blaze was amazed by all the other hounds and commotion as they competed in water races and field trials and on the show bench, Mary Beth charmed all the men, who were very impressed by her fancy professional dog boxes. Nice to see them here being ambassadors for the hounds. Coonhound Companions is a great website and does valuable work.
    Kudos to Mary Beth and her dogs!

  3. Fantastic!!!! I loved hearing about you and your pups. I am loving Blaze.. to cute!!!!!!

  4. Great story and lots of terrific information . Thank you for being such a wonderful representive of our coonhounds!!

  5. Hi Mary Beth, great to learn about your dogs and yourself. We don't know a thing about coonhounds but they sounds wonderful. No worries, and love, Stella and Rory