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Unless you were looking for it, you might have missed the chicken tucked in the child’s arm.

Gretta Stanley-Van Briggle — all of 5 1/2 years old — sat quietly on a folding chair with her chicken, named Brownie.

Later, Brownie sat atop Gretta’s pink cowgirl hat before the child put the chicken on a table where the bird laid on its back.

“I love animals,” said Gretta, who wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up.

But on Wednesday afternoon, Gretta said she was a cowgirl.

And with a fistful of ribbons, she was a pretty happy cowgirl at the Fremont Parks and Recreation Department Citywide Pet Show.

About 35 children took part in the annual event on Thursday in the Christensen Field Multipurpose Arena.

“It went well,” said Nate Schwanke, recreation superintendent. “We had a good turnout — about the same as last year. The event continues to be a bright spot over the summer for kids to bring their pets out.”

For Fremonter Stephanie Marshall and her children, Lilly, 8, Brianna, 7, and Ryker, 5, the pet show is a treat.

“We’ve been looking forward to this all year,” Stephanie Marshall said.

The Marshalls brought a German shepherd named, Harry, and a golden retriever called, Gus, to the show.

Lilly said the children’s dog, Harry, was accidentally hit by a car when it was about 2 ½ years old. One of the dog’s back legs had to be amputated.

That made Lilly sad, but she and her mom noted that even the loss of limb hasn’t slowed down the amiable dog.

Lilly and her siblings are fond of Harry.

“He’s really calm and nice and he always wants to be friends,” Lilly said.

Lilly gave Harry a shower before the show — and all the children brushed the dogs — which paid off when Harry earned the “Best Groomed” ribbon.

The children got Gus as a puppy.

“He slobbers,” Brianna said, “but he’s really friendly.”

Gus also won the “Best Kisser” ribbon in the large dog category.

Nearby, 13-year-old Madison Mostek of Fremont held the leash of Daisy, a Dogue de Bordeaux — a breed popularized by the 1989 “Turner and Hooch” movie with Tom Hanks.

Daisy doesn’t look as wrinkled as the dog in the movie, but then she’s only 8 months old. And she doesn’t drool like her Hollywood counterpart.

“They kind of over exaggerated,” Madison said of the film.

During the pet show, the 85-pound pup had a slightly unsettling experience when she walked on a rubbery patch on the floor and it squeaked.

“She ran away. She doesn’t like loud noises. She’s a baby,” Madison said, amused by her pup’s reaction.

Besides the large dogs division, the show also had categories for cats, small dogs and miscellaneous.

Gretta and Brownie, an Old English Game Bantam, sat quietly at the end of the miscellaneous division’s show.

Earlier, the little girl earned a “Best Trick” ribbon for putting the chicken on her hat. She also got the bird to lie on its back on a folding table.

“Every time we go to the farm, she takes Brownie out and plays with her,” said Gretta’s grandma, Georgia Stanley.

The child puts the chicken on her lap and goes down a slide with her and holds the little bird as she swings on a swing.

Gretta said she has a sheep, two goats and poodles.

Why bring Brownie to the pet show?

“I love her,” Gretta said.

Is a chicken a girl’s best friend?

“I guess so,” Stanley said, smiling.

Gretta added that Brownie is fed meal worms and laying mash corn. She knows how much protein is in the laying mash.

“17 percent,” Gretta said, adding that her Grammy told her so.

Besides Brownie, Schwanke said the miscellaneous category also included a bearded dragon, a tortoise and two guinea pigs.

There were four felines in the cat category, eight small dogs in that division and six large canines.

“We love having this event in Fremont,” Schwanke said. “It’s one more event over the summer where kids can come out and not just be sitting at home.”

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News Editor

Tammy Real-McKeighan is news editor of the Fremont Tribune. She covers news, features, religion stories and writes the weekly faith-based, Spiritual Spinach column.

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