Marsupials, tortoise, pilot dog — oh my!

A small Australian marsupial that glides from tree to tree, a tortoise that absorbs and stores water to endure the harsh climes of the Sahara Desert and a dog that may some day assist a human were among some of the unique entries in this year’s small animal show at the Logan County Fair.

Kelsie Nicholls, a senior in Ohio Hi-Point Career Center’s animal management class and FFA program, showed seven sugar gliders, which are tiny arboreal and nocturnal marsupials native to Australia.

Having been raised by humans, the animals do not learn.

The male tortoise, which is about four years old now, must be allowed to crawl in shallow, lukewarm water regularly so it can absorb and store water in it’s carapace. The tortoise does not drink water, Meggan said.


Franklin, a four-year-old African spurthi tortoise, crawls on the floor as students watch during the small animal show Thursday at the Logan County Fair.


Clyde, a five-month-old Australian sugar glider, crawls on the shoulder of Ohio Hi Point FFA member Kelsie Nicholls.

FRONT PAGE PHOTO: Winners at the Logan County Junior Fair small animal show Thursday were, from the left, front row: Shelby Lake, exotic pets; Meggan O’Brien, aquatic science; Hailey Miller, dog care; and Jade Wical, best overall 4-H small animal project; and back row: Ashley Raines, guinea pigs and breeding rabbits; Paige Fulton, birds; and Chris Thomas, hamsters, gerbils, rats and mice. (EXAMINER PHOTOS | REUBEN MEES)

Hailey Miller and Lori Harbour, both seniors in the Ohio Hi-Point program, said their senior projects are raising pilot dogs to assist individuals who are blind or live with other disabilities.

 “We were introduced to it through our class and it seemed like a good thing to do to help out our community,” Hailey, whose black Labrador retriever Andi helped her win a first place award in the dog care class, said.

The girls will have their animals for 12 to 14 months and be required to teach them basic and intermediate commands while socializing the dogs.

After that time, they are returned to Pilot Dogs Inc. of Columbus, which tests the animal’s fitness for service and then places it with an individual or adopts it to a loving family if it does not meet the requirements.

Contest winners were:



Exotic pets: 1. Shelby Lake, 2. Hailey Miller, 2. Kelsie Miller

Aquatic science: 1. Meggan O’Brien, 2. Shelby Lake, 3. Chris Thomas 

Dog care: 1. Hailey Miller, 2, Shelby Lake

Guinea pigs: 1. Ashley Raines, 2. Paige Fulton

Breeding rabbits: 1. Ashley Raines

Birds: 1. Paige Fulton, 2, Lori Harbour, 3. Hailey Miller

Hamsters, gerbils, rats and mice: 1. Chris Thomas, 2. Meggan O’Brien, 3. 


You and Your Dog: 1. Chelsea Horne

Purr-fect Pets: 1. Alex Rogers, 2. Courtney Roach, 3. Megan Richardson

Overall Cats: 1. Ale Rogers

Pet Rabbits: 1. Jade Wical, 2. Jade Wical, 3. Abby Austin

Best overall 4H small animal project: Jade Wical