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‘Ball Park Dog’ dies

Bruno was not the first thing that would come to one’s mind with the mention of a “Ball Park Dog”.

As the dog of Jerry and Donna Freeman, Bruno the boxer was at home on the third base side at Wilson-Rozier Park next to the concession stand run by his “parents”.

Since Bruno first came into the Freeman family in 1995 – at the same time Jerry and Donna began running the concession stand at the ballpark – just the mention of the word “ball game” set Bruno’s ears at attention and his eyes toward the door.

But the remainder of time at the ballpark this summer will be melancholy for the Freeman’s and the many friends Bruno made over the years. Due to illness, Bruno passed away on Fourth of July weekend, leaving many of those friends to inquire of the Freeman’s ” … where’s Bruno?”

“Bruno was such a familiar face to many teams, coaches and fans each year. Every spring through summer, Bruno enjoyed all summer baseball leagues, Mineral Area College Cardinal and Farmington High School ball games,” said Donna.

She said it was Bruno’s sweet personality, even temperament and nice manners that made Bruno “intriguing” to all who met him. In fact, that was what led the Freeman’s to adopt Bruno in the first place.

“Jerry and Karen Cowin (former Farmington residents and friends of the Freeman’s) were preparing to leave the country as missionaries to Brazil and Bruno was their two-year old dog. As a part of their leaving, they were required to sell or give away their possessions-including their dog,” recalled Donna.

She stated Jerry (Freeman) was hesitant at first to take in Bruno because they had just lost another dog.

“We told Jerry and Karen we would take him on a trial basis. Karen told us she had her prayer group praying for a perfect home for Bruno. That week was all it took for us to fall in love with Bruno,” she said.

And from then on, Bruno took his place every summer during every home game on his pillow. Watching the action from along the third base side, Bruno was a favorite for all the fans, no matter if they were there to cheer on the home team.

“The wife of the coach from Three Rivers Community College loved Bruno and would make a point of visiting with him every time she was here. It was nothing to see five to seven kids sitting around Bruno,” said Donna.

She even shared the sentiments of one eleven year-old baseball fan who made visiting with Bruno a regular part of her routine while watching her older brothers play ball.

“Natalie Hoehn told me, ‘he was the same age of me’. She loved to visit with him,” said Donna.

“With lots of pats from the fans and hugs and kisses from the many children, combined with a ball park hot dog (or two) each evening, that was as good as it could get for Bruno.”

In addition, Donna shared Bruno also enjoyed “car rides, walks, visiting with company and getting treats – especially ice cream.”

After Bruno’s passing, Donna and Jerry received a copy of “It’s Called Dog Heaven” from their son’s mother-in-law. The story tells of all the favorites of a dog that can be found, including plenty of biscuits shaped and flavored like ice cream and ham sandwiches.

For Bruno, there is certainly a hot-dog biscuit and a fluffy pillow to watch a few ball games from.

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