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cheese car becomes dogs' delight

Sculptor Jim Victor created a replica of Terry LaBonte's #5 Chevrolet from yellow cheddar cheese provided by Cabot Creamery. The carving is the first of its kind, weighing nearly 3,000 pounds and standing 5 feet tall, 12 feet long and 6 feet wide.

When Victor was finished, a sizable pile of scrap cheese remained. The ADA called the shelter to see if it wanted the shavings, which weighed about 500 pounds. (The cheese couldn't be eaten by people because of health regulations).

"At first, they were going to donate the whole car to us," says SPCA Executive Director Robin Starr. But the nonprofit had to turn down that offer, having no place to store a Chevy's worth of cheddar.

The 500 pounds is packed in "every nook and cranny" of the SPCA's freezers, Starr says. Staff will use it as rewards in positive reinforcement training. It's a great treat, she says — "Cheese is right up there with hot dogs as really high value to dogs."

Even a quarter-ton won't last forever. But maybe the pups will get lucky again in September at the Chevrolet Monte Carlo 400. If dog dreams come true, the National Pork Board will commission a 10-foot statue of Dale Earnhardt, made entirely out of bacon. — Melissa Scott Sinclair

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