I am honored to be chosen to paint the winning dog for the 2008 Doxie Derby!

University of California, Davis
April 15, 2008



Ninety-six dogs from throughout California will come to race at
Picnic Day at UC Davis on Saturday, April 19. Some proud owners claim
theirs is the fastest dog on four legs, and they have boasted about
past victories and rigorous training regimens on their entry forms.

And while the competition for prizes and bragging rights is part of
the 30-years-plus tradition of the Doxie Derby, this annual running
of the long-bodied and short-legged dachshunds is really just
crowd-pleasing fun.

The races are among the most popular events with the 50,000 to 60,000
people who attend UC Davis' annual open house. The 94th annual Picnic
Day, believed to be the largest student-run event in the nation, will
feature more than 150 activities, including athletic and animal
events, departmental exhibits, tours, lectures, performances and

"The dogs are darn cute, and it's fun to watch them run as fast as
they can to get to their owners," said Cecily Bonadio, one of 20
student veterinarians who organize and run the derby.

Sara Sammons of Davis, also a second-year vet student, will bring
Nona, her standard-sized dachshund, to compete in the derby. "We're
very excited," said Sammons, who proudly shared that her dog has won
championships for field trials and conformation.

Nona, injured just before last year's derby, has recovered and has
been practicing sprints in grassy parks. Like all devoted trainers,
Sammons is wondering how her entry will adjust to the race-day
footing of a tarp-covered floor. But she said Nona's experience
tracking rabbits in field trials might give the dog an advantage when
it comes to chasing the rabbit pelt moving on a wire in front of the
derby dogs.

Dogs and owners will participate in a costumed post-parade at 12:30
p.m., and races will begin at 1 p.m. on the floor of the Pavilion on
campus. Amid the cheers of fans, the purebred dogs, wearing brightly
colored jerseys, burst through starting gates and scamper down a
100-foot stretch to their owners, who call loudly and wave squeaky
toys and treats.

The second-year class at the School of Veterinary Medicine organizes
the derby, which has now closed registration, to raise about $2,000
to offset the cost of review sessions and practice material for
licensing board exams, Bonadio said.

Tradition dates to 1909

The Picnic Day tradition began in 1909 when the University Farm
invited the surrounding community to view its new dairy barn. About
2,000 people attended, bringing along picnic lunches to go with the
coffee, cream and sugar provided by the university.

"The sense of community that this first Picnic Day fostered has since
become an integral part of the event," said student Michelle Chan,
chair of the Picnic Day board of directors.

This year's theme, Chan said, is "A Kaleidoscope of Voices."

"Out of the many voices that are heard, one message of hope and
tolerance is expressed," she said, "just as in a kaleidoscope, a
mixture of different shapes come together to form one brilliant

Although some events get under way earlier, opening ceremonies begin
at 9:30 a.m. on North Quad Avenue across from Wickson Hall. At 10:10
a.m., the parade starts there and winds through campus and downtown


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