Trumpower dogs make the funny papers

PAT FRIDGEN
Ray Trumpower and Rocky reenact their morning ritual, with Buck and Hank staying obediently at a distance.

Rocky's protective nature garnered the Greencastle Schnauzer some widespread fame. One of three males of the same breed comprising the Ray and Barb Trumpower household, Rocky's breakfast habit landed him on the funny pages.

When Ray sits on the couch at their Roberts Road home to eat his cereal, Rocky plops right next to him. The canine puts his paw on Ray's shoulder to make sure no one else approaches 'his daddy.'

Barb sent the tidbit to the creators of the newspaper cartoon strip Marmaduke. Reader contributions are printed every Sunday. Ever since July she checked the paper weekly, thinking, "They'll never publish it."

On Feb. 7 Rocky's story and an illustration concluded the six-panel comic strip. Artist Brad Anderson's rendering was right on the mark, said Barb. It showed the other two dogs, Buck and Hank, forlorn on the floor, not benefitting from even a crumb.

The Trumpowers have had seven Schnauzers since 1974, and refer to the current three as 'the boys.' Each has a definite personality.

"Rocky is a southern gentleman," they said. "Hank is loving but a livewire, and Buck is back-offish because of what he's been through."

The couple finds their dogs from rescue organizations or through a breeder. And they name them for famous people. Buck Owens II, now eight years old, represents Ray's favorite singer. He was found abandoned in a forest last year, having been used for breeding purposes while housed in a cage. His new owners succeeded in housebreaking him and acclimating him to family life.

Hank Williams IV, three years old, was named after Ray's dad's favorite singer. The senior member of the gang, Rocky Marciano II, age 11, has the moniker of Ray's favorite boxer. They followed the pawprints of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Stonewall Jackson and Maxmillian von Trumpower, the latter name honoring the breed's German heritage.

The couple admits their pets are their lives. Ray shoveled a circular path for them in the fenced backyard so they can maneuver in the snow. The dogs delight Ray and Barb daily with their tricks and precociousness, which includes loving ice cubes.

Ray has four daughters, Vicki, Sharon, Tammy and Jackie; a granddaughter, Erika; and the couple has one son, Ray Jr. While the kids have flown the nest, the house remains full of activity with the boys.