By JOSEPH SAPIA
At the Holmes A. Adams Recreation Complex, teams gather to play baseball and softball.
“The balls they hit in the woods, they don’t got get them,” said Cathie DiGironimo, who lives next-door to the fields. “You can’t see theM.”
But her dog, Simon, sniffs them out on walks. He is a golden retriever of lost baseballs and softballs, gathering, according to DiGironimo’s husband, Frank, an estimated thousand-plus in his seven years.
“I don’t know how he finds them,” said Frank DiGironimo, who operates Neptune City Barber Shop at his house on West Sylvania Avenue.
At the barber shop, a small trash can and a full-size garbage-style container holds an estimated 100 baseballs and softballs. Donations are accepted for the balls, the money going to animal-related charities.
In 2014, about $250 in donations went to the Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Popcorn Park Zoo in Lacey and Guide Dogs for the Blind, according to the DiGironimos.
Originally, the DiGironimos gave the balls to such recipients as friends, schools and scouts. Then, two years ago, the DiGironimos put a bucket of balls in the barber shop and began accepting donations.
“Sometime, they don’t even take the balls (when making a donation),” Frank DiGironimo said.
“If anybody needs balls, come and get them,” said Cathie DiGironimo, who, in 2014, retired as a library aide at the borough’s Woodrow Wilson School.
Simon, a bear of a dog at 126 pounds, is sort of a greeter at the barber shop. As big as he is, that is how gentle he is.
“Kids come in, play with him, sit on him,” Frank DiGironimo said.
On his walks, though, Simon is a vicious hunter — of baseballs and softballs.
“I think he’s amazing he does that,” Frank DiGironimo said.
Yet, if a game is going on, Simon will not touch the balls being used. And…
“He doesn’t like tennis balls,” Cathie DiGironimo said. “He won’t bring tennis balls home.”