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Ed the Dog Has His Day in the Sun and Then Some in Nebraska Hamlet : Lifestyle: The basset hound has become the center of attraction in this one-street town, and he doesn’t mind all the attention.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

A basset hound with sad but wise eyes sauntered out of the cornfields into this Plains hamlet one dog day three years ago. Ever since that muggy August day, Deweese has gone to the dog.

The brown-and-black pooch, who is known as Ed, had a dark side to his past. Someone had shot a bullet at him that creased his forehead.

It apparently had no effect on Ed’s affection for humans.

“I think he came here by divine intervention,” Eileen Sykora said.

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Always on offer in this south-central Nebraska town 5 miles off a highway is a cool porch or a warm kitchen to bed down. Nearly everyone among Deweese’s 70 residents feeds him, and Ed rarely refuses. Undoubtedly, he’s a town’s best friend.

In return, Ed greets people after church, tags along on outings and likely did not object when this one-street town formally adopted him this month at the annual Deweese Festival.

Ed, who is also known as Dodger, appears to be of slightly mixed descent, but he’s one purebred ham. A day doesn’t go by without someone mentioning what he’s up to:

- “He’s a free spirit. Nobody owns this dog,” Dorothy Skala said.

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- “He sleeps wherever he finds the coolest porch in the summer,” JoAnn Bischoff said.

- “Personally, I think he needs to go on a diet,” Sykora offered.

Ed’s a big dog, and he’s been putting it on of late.

“They weighed him down at the elevator one day,” Dee Kohmetscher said. “He tipped the scales at 60 pounds.”

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Ed is so fond of barbecue that many residents will throw on an extra piece of meat because they know lighting a grill is like whistling for Ed to come on over.

What does Ed do in return?

- “He’s great with the kids,” Bischoff said after Ed sauntered down the main street with her and her two preschoolers.

- “He wouldn’t hurt a flea,” Sykora added.

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- “He’ll tree a squirrel and sit there for two hours watchin’ it,” Barty Fry said.

- “He’s rather nondenominational, you know,” Skala said. Ed gives equal time to churchgoers after Sunday morning services, greeting those leaving both the Catholic and the Church of Christ churches.

During big doin’s at the Horse Shoe Inn, Ed wears a special ID collar.

“It says minor on it, and he wears it the whole time he’s in there at a dance or something,” Brenda Hansen said.

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He has become almost as big an attraction as the Keith Hansen Memorial Demolition Derby, named after the race started years ago by Hansen’s father-in-law.

Last year, “we had to stop one of the heats because Ed wandered out onto the track,” said Don Kohmetscher, president of the Deweese Community Club.

Make no bones about it, Ed will be an important attraction on festival day.

The community club needs $75,000 to build a new community building, a place for wedding receptions and dances and funeral dinners. Another place, most likely, for Ed to stand watch.

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There are already plans afoot for Ed’s designated birthday, Sept. 15. And if something, heaven forbid, should befall him, he’ll be taken care of.

“I think we’ll stuff him and place him above the bar so we can still party with Ed,” Lee Skala said.


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