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By Paula Reed Ward for Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pittsburgh — For 7-year-old Merlin, a golden retriever from Upper St. Clair, the only thing he wanted to do was to be in the water and chase the ball.

Not just any ball, though. Not random fluorescent green tennis balls that were a dime a dozen Monday at the Dormont Pool Doggy Dip.

It had to be his ball. Red and yellow. And only his.

But 1 1/2-year-old Griffin, another golden from Mt. Lebanon, had other ideas.

Each time Kristy Loeffert threw Merlin’s ball into the deep end of the pool, Griffin, with designs on stealing anything in his sight, snatched the ball away.

“He collects everything — whatever he finds,” said David Fusco, Griffin’s slightly embarrassed owner, as he watched his dog snatch someone else’s stick out of the water. “He goes for anything he can get his hands on.”

“But he shares,” he added, as Griffin swam to the side carrying both the stick and the ball. “He thinks they’re common toys.”

Griffin and Merlin were just two of nearly 300 dogs that got to swim Monday evening in the Dormont Pool for the unofficial last day of summer Doggy Dip.

A joint fundraiser between Friends of the Dormont Pool and the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society, the event is in its second year.

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