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Popular Pups

Meet the Canine Companions of 3 Harrisburg-Area Celebs

As the old saying goes, we can’t choose our relatives. But when it comes to our pets,they seem to choose us. It was meant to be, we say, and we love them all the more for it.
Here, we meet three Harrisburg-area celebrities whose dogs marched right into their homes – and their hearts.


Robb Hanrahan, Anchor and Chief Political Reporter, WHP CBS 21
The transfer took place in a Hummelstown park. Stacey Hanrahan had seen a woman’s Facebook notice about a Yorkshire terrier seeking a new home. Seems the woman’s boyfriend didn’t like this engaging bundle of fur named Sandy. A few minutes at the park with Stacey and her husband, Robb Hanrahan, convinced the woman that Sandy would be in a good home.

“She said goodbye, and Sandy walked over to us and jumped in the car,” says Robb Hanrahan. “Sandy’s been our dog ever since.”

At their Susquehanna Township home, Sandy watches for cars up and down the mountainside street. Visitors get an enthusiastic welcome at the door.

“She walks the perimeter of the house a lot,” says Hanrahan. “They’re bred to work in Irish pubs to get rid of mice and rats. I read that after I got her and thought, ‘Hey, I got the appropriate dog.’” (For the Irish part, of course. Not the rats.)

When Stacey and Robb are in different parts of the house, Sandy occupies the middle, as if guarding both. The exception is a nighttime ritual, when Hanrahan comes home from the station around midnight. While the rest of the family slept upstairs, he lured Sandy from her central spot to his “basement lair” by taking down three treats. She gets one for coming downstairs, he says. Then they do that trick where the dog sits and waits for a treat placed on the floor, “staring at me and then the treat, me and then the treat.” Then she has to find one hidden in the couch. Finally, they settle together on the sofa, where she sleeps while he watches TV.

“She’s just an easy dog to have around,” Hanrahan says. He always wanted a small dog, for the easy-care aspect. Even when Hanrahan and Stacey, CBS 21 assistant news director and meteorologist, couldn’t leave work during 2011’s Tropical Storm Lee, Sandy didn’t make any messes in her laundry-room nesting place.

Sandy and Hanrahan’s 3-year-old son, Vann, are best buddies.

When Hanrahan leaves for work and tells Vann, “I love you,” Vann responds, “I love you, too. And I love Sandy, and I love Mommy.”

During a recent illness, Sandy changed her routine and slept on Vann’s bed.

Like many small dogs (“10 pounds, at the most, soaking wet,” says Hanrahan), Sandy refuses to recognize her petite stature. When family visitors bring their labradoodles and cockadoodle (yep, that’s a poodle-cocker spaniel mix), “she runs the herd.”

Hanrahan had to weave chicken wire through the backyard fence because Sandy would slip away through the slats – but only when freshly groomed, and not when her hair was grown out. Sensitive to thunder, she once bolted from her previous owner in a panic over fireworks, so Hanrahan had her microchipped.

Sometimes, Sandy goes to the station. There’s lots of room to run the halls. She once ran into the studio during a broadcast.

“I just picked her up and said, ‘Look, here’s my dog,’” Hanrahan says. “She’s a big hit at work. She makes a lot of friends.”

Sandy’s entry into the family “was kind of a meant-to-be thing.” Hanrahan remembers that when his wife showed him her picture online, he said, “I have always wanted a Yorkie.”

What has she brought to the home since then?

“A lot of love,” Hanrahan says. “Just because she’s so lovable.”


Earl David Reed, Comedian/Radio Personality, WQXA 105.7 The X
Who was that dog I saw you with last night? That was no dog. That was – well, actually, that was my dog. Two of them, in fact.

For Earl David Reed, life as a rising comedy star is enlivened by the two dogs who live with him, go on the road with him and sometimes provide fodder for his act.

Reed is a comedian/radio personality, appearing in comedy venues nationwide and heard daily on The People’s Morning Show with Nipsey, Earl and Jen Shade, on 105.7 The X. At the Lewisberry home he shares with longtime girlfriend Tina Strausbaugh, visitors get a rousing welcome from a pair of 1-year-olds – the handsome, 95-pound Boxer mix Gabe and the beautiful, 55-pound Catahoula mix Zadie.

Reed thought he’d never get another dog after his beloved, constant companion, Missy, a Rottweiler-Bernese Mountain mix, had to be put down. In her twilight years, he built her a ramp to the patio.

“To this day, the ramp’s still there. I can’t throw that out,” he says, before adding, “I might need it for myself someday.”

But then Strausbaugh found PA Caring for K-9’s rescue through a dog-fostering friend. Gabe’s picture on the website (pack9rescue.org) caught her eye, and when they met, the connection was immediate.

Soon, Gabe needed a playmate, and again, Strausbaugh saw a picture. Zadie’s sad eyes give the appearance, in Reed’s words, “like she’s auditioning for a Sarah McLachlan commercial.” The two dogs “have been friends ever since.”

On May 13, Reed headlines PA Caring for K-9’s fundraiser.

“You should always try to rescue a dog,” he says. “When I was a kid, you went to a pet store to buy a dog. Now, there are so many dogs out there, I can’t imagine not being able to find a rescue dog that you like.”

Of course, Reed and Strausbaugh have those dog-parent moments. Zadie steals the TV remote. She also uses her paw like a hand to pull food off the kitchen counter. When Gabe swallowed part of a disposable razor on Christmas Eve, the vet advised feeding him cotton balls that would wrap around the razor and let it pass without harm. It worked.

The razor story, happy ending and all, found its way into Reed’s routine. After all, everyone gets it because “everyone has a relationship with a dog.” Like when a dog sits up at a nighttime sound that might be a burglar but turns out to be ice falling in the ice maker.

“I’m thinking, ‘Oh, great,’” Reed tells audiences. “‘Not only is someone breaking in the house, they’re stopping to get a beverage first.’”

When Reed takes his comedy act on the road, everyone comes along in his RV. Zadie and Gabe “have more mileage than a lot of people.” Reed and Strausbaugh find the nearest dog park at every stop, where they bond with fellow dog lovers. Theater owners often welcome the dogs in their green rooms.

Reed tries to spend as much time with his dogs as possible and just wants them to be happy. With Gabe and Zadie around, “there’s more feet in the house.”

“Just like everything in life, all you can do is be the best you possibly can,” he says. “Sometimes it comes down to nothing that you can do, but when I see them, they don’t have a care in the world. That’s what they bring to me. They bring a certain peacefulness.”


Valerie Pritchett, News Anchor, WHTM/abc27
In the annals of dog training, teaching a black lab to keep her head off the teleprompter pedal is probably unique.

But after all, this is the partnership of Valerie Pritchett and Molly. When Pritchett anchors an abc27 newscast, Molly is on the set – under the desk, stretched out at Pritchett’s feet.

“I can get up and go talk to someone, and she just stays there,” says Pritchett. “That’s part of her training. Once in a while, she’ll pop up and say hello to the viewers and go back down.”

Pritchett is caretaker for Molly, a 3-year-old breeding dog for Susquehanna Service Dogs (SSD). This is Pritchett’s third dog from SSD, the Keystone Human Services division that trains and provides service dogs and hearing dogs to help children and adults become more independent. Molly goes everywhere with Pritchett – to work, to church, to nonprofit events.

Molly has all the desirable qualities needed in a breeder – strong work ethic, even temperament, good eyesight and joints. There might be a couple more litters in her future, but for now, she’s resting while SSD evaluates the characteristics of her first two litters.

“Considering the puppies that Molly will have and how much of an impact she’ll have on someone’s life is phenomenal,” Pritchett says. “Susquehanna Service Dogs does a wonderful job. The dogs are well-trained. They love their work.”

In this newsroom, colleagues who stop to talk at Pritchett’s desk might feel a tail wagging against their legs. On-air, Pritchett’s co-anchors are sometimes surprised at broadcast’s end.

“Oh, my goodness!” they’ll say. “Has she been here the whole time?”

Pritchett “can’t thank the station enough” for allowing Molly’s presence. When a new parent company took over in 2016, they told her, “We love community service! Bring her in!”

Local television stations thrive within healthy communities, says Vice President and General Manager Robert G. Bee, and “service dogs make for a healthy community.” Besides, there are workplace benefits.

“She adds smiles to the faces of people who are oftentimes involved in stories that don’t make you smile, so it is wonderful relief,” Bee says.

SSD-trained dogs stay alert for the needs of their human partners while remaining well-behaved. Imagine your dog trying to stay calm all day, and you realize that’s hard work. So when Molly arrives home after a day of quiet conformity, she “gets to be a dog,” Pritchett says. “She can bark. She can run around and play. Her harness is off. She knows she’s not working now. She knows she can be a dog.”

At home, Molly has plenty of canine company. Pritchett’s German Shepherds Deko and Abid are older and typically play with each other. Molly usually romps with Adobe, aka “Scrappy,” a high-energy Belgian Malinois who went on-air with Pritchett as a puppy during the 2016 blizzard.

“Scrappy is Molly’s boyfriend,” Pritchett says.

SSD decides Molly’s next steps. Puppy-raisers and caretakers have first rights to adopt after retirement, so Molly might find a permanent home with Pritchett or her original puppy-raiser. Pritchett hopes that someday Molly comes to her and can continue serving as “demo dog,” an ambassador “not only for community service for the station, but also for service dogs.”

“When you see the difference these dogs make, and the people they serve and love, it’s just amazing,” says Pritchett. “It gives them independence. It gives them a sense of freedom.”

In the annals of dog training, teaching a black lab to keep her head off the teleprompter pedal is probably unique.

But after all, this is the partnership of Valerie Pritchett and Molly. When Pritchett anchors an abc27 newscast, Molly is on the set – under the desk, stretched out at Pritchett’s feet.

“I can get up and go talk to someone, and she just stays there,” says Pritchett. “That’s part of her training. Once in a while, she’ll pop up and say hello to the viewers and go back down.”

Pritchett is caretaker for Molly, a 3-year-old breeding dog for Susquehanna Service Dogs (SSD). This is Pritchett’s third dog from SSD, the Keystone Human Services division that trains and provides service dogs and hearing dogs to help children and adults become more independent. Molly goes everywhere with Pritchett – to work, to church, to nonprofit events.

Molly has all the desirable qualities needed in a breeder – strong work ethic, even temperament, good eyesight and joints. There might be a couple more litters in her future, but for now, she’s resting while SSD evaluates the characteristics of her first two litters.

“Considering the puppies that Molly will have and how much of an impact she’ll have on someone’s life is phenomenal,” Pritchett says. “Susquehanna Service Dogs does a wonderful job. The dogs are well-trained. They love their work.”

In this newsroom, colleagues who stop to talk at Pritchett’s desk might feel a tail wagging against their legs. On-air, Pritchett’s co-anchors are sometimes surprised at broadcast’s end.

“Oh, my goodness!” they’ll say. “Has she been here the whole time?”

Pritchett “can’t thank the station enough” for allowing Molly’s presence. When a new parent company took over in 2016, they told her, “We love community service! Bring her in!”

Local television stations thrive within healthy communities, says Vice President and General Manager Robert G. Bee, and “service dogs make for a healthy community.” Besides, there are workplace benefits.

“She adds smiles to the faces of people who are oftentimes involved in stories that don’t make you smile, so it is wonderful relief,” Bee says.

SSD-trained dogs stay alert for the needs of their human partners while remaining well-behaved. Imagine your dog trying to stay calm all day, and you realize that’s hard work. So when Molly arrives home after a day of quiet conformity, she “gets to be a dog,” Pritchett says. “She can bark. She can run around and play. Her harness is off. She knows she’s not working now. She knows she can be a dog.”

At home, Molly has plenty of canine company. Pritchett’s German Shepherds Deko and Abid are older and typically play with each other. Molly usually romps with Adobe, aka “Scrappy,” a high-energy Belgian Malinois who went on-air with Pritchett as a puppy during the 2016 blizzard.

“Scrappy is Molly’s boyfriend,” Pritchett says.

SSD decides Molly’s next steps. Puppy-raisers and caretakers have first rights to adopt after retirement, so Molly might find a permanent home with Pritchett or her original puppy-raiser. Pritchett hopes that someday Molly comes to her and can continue serving as “demo dog,” an ambassador “not only for community service for the station, but also for service dogs.”

“When you see the difference these dogs make, and the people they serve and love, it’s just amazing,” says Pritchett. “It gives them independence. It gives them a sense of freedom.”

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