After seven weeks of voting, the people have spoken. The winners of our 2012 Pet Photo Contest have been named.
Now is your chance to get to know them a little better.
The cats have won this round, with Ernie and Riley taking the top spot in the finals. But two dogs round out the top three. Bo captured second place while Marty was third.
The finals included six weekly winners. Votes were cast online at www.thedcregister.com, www.theharrison-press.com and www.theohiocountynews.com.
You also will have the chance to learn a little about our runners-up, Karmen, Bella and Who-Dey.
But in honor of their big wins, a total donation of $300 will be given to PAWS Of Dearborn County in their names.
Tale of 2 kitties
At night sometimes, Ernie will crawl up with owner Megan Crone to snuggle and watch television.
In the mornings, Riley often paws her and butts his head up against hers. Overall they are really good, sweet cats, said Crone, Harrison.
But what about their winning photo that shows the brothers sitting inside a paper accordion file. Were these sweet kitties just placed there for a cute photo?
“No. They did that on their own,” laughs Crone, who is the owner of Ernie. Riley is her sister Amy’s cat, but she currently lives in LaFayette, while Riley stays with Ernie.
“They get into trouble a lot. They rough house with each other, steal ornaments off the tree, torture the dog,” said Crone.
And don’t even think of wrapping any Christmas presents with ribbon. That is just asking for trouble.
Ernie, who usually takes the lead, climbed into the file first while she was on the computer one day. Riley soon followed, said Crone.
“Whatever one does, the other one is right behind him,” she said.
Ernie and Riley became part of their family around Christmas time in 2007 at about 2 months old. They were adopted from the Stray Animal Adoption Program, Newport, Ky.
Crone owned a cat previously that had to be put to sleep. After Ernie and Riley were adopted, she found out they were born Oct. 10, the same day her cat and been put to sleep. The match just seemed meant to be, she said.
A big NASCAR fan, Ernie is named after Dale Earnhardt Jr., who also shares the Oct. 10 birthday, said Crone.
“I talked to Amy and she said she picked Riley’s name by going through a book of baby names and picking a name that rhymed with Callie, who is her other cat,” she said.
Amy Crone also owns a greyhound, that lives with her in LaFayette, she said.
But even though she lives somewhere else, Ernie and Riley never forget about Amy. They are excited when she comes home for a visit, said Crone.
Riley will wait by the door for her. There also is a way she calls for Ernie, the way she calls him “best friend,” that he knows it is her,” she said.
“They both have very lovable personalities,” said Crone.
It can make them difficult to resist.
When she is in the bathroom they sometimes start to meow because they love water. She fills up a Dixie cup for them and they take a couple sips before knocking it over to have some more fun with the cup, she said.
But as much as they like to have fun and get into trouble together, sometimes they do fight too, she said.
Yet at the end of the day, they love each other very much too.
One time Riley was away at the vet for a few days. When he came home, Ernie went over and put his paw around him, said Crone.
“Even though they fight with each other, they’re brothers,” she said.
Get to know Bo
Stephanie Menchen, Greendale, wanted a dog. She would look on Petfinder, spot dogs she liked and send the photos to her boyfriend, Dylan Wittenstrom.
“He would always say, ‘No, No. We are going to have to wait,’” said Menchen.
But, the more he considered it, he began to think a dog would make a great gift, said Wittenstrom.
He started sending her photos of dogs he found too, while still telling her the time was not right.
“So I was, ‘Well, too bad, we are not going to get one,’” he said.
“I wondered why he was torturing me,” laughed Menchen.
In 2010, when the couple was set to exchange gifts for Christmas, Wittenstrom, asked Menchen to step into the other room while he prepared her gift. When she walked back out, there was little puppy Bo in a Christmas stocking.
“I was so shocked, I fell into the closest,” said Menchen.
He had gotten Bo (short for Bocephus), a Corgi/Husky mix, from Pet Connection in Northern Kentucky.
“I love him very much. I’m obsessed with him,” said Menchen.
In addition to his love of the Cincinnati Bengals and Animal Planet, Bo loves to cuddle, play catch and tug-of-war, she said.
He also likes to sing with any high-pitch sound he hears, she said.
And if you ever have the chance to meet him, you might learn quickly that he likes to lick.
When he was a puppy he licked his paws raw. They put a cone on him, but he was still able to reach his paws. They had to add an inflatable tube, said Menchen.
“He looked absurd,” she said.
Bo, who turned two in October, also loves a good belly rub and gets a lot of attention when the couple takes him on walks, she said. People always ask what kind on dog he is, said Menchen.
Meet Marty (& Karmen)
The hope was to meet the third place winner in person, or rather person to dog.
But it turns out four-year-old Marty (full name Martin Robert Shimbackler) lives in Chicago with Anthony and Elizabeth Kahny.
Lisa Kahny, Guilford, however, is more than happy to brag about her granddog.
“Marty is a rescue dog. My daughter-in-law found him in an ad for an ‘8-month-old yorkie puppy in need of a good home,’” said Kahny.
He was in a small pen with two other dogs, looking tiny in comparison, she said.
“Right away she fell in love with him and brought him home,” said Kahny, who gets to keep him a couple months in the summertime.
But just because he is small does not mean he is a pushover.
“He is the sweetest little guy, but not afraid of anything! He does not take any ‘you know what’ from any dog... no matter how big!,” said Kahny.
Her daughter’s dog, Toby, a playful spaniel-lab mix loves to torment Marty. He is 22 pounds bigger, but Marty puts him in his place, she said.
“It is hilarious to watch them play,” said Kahny. Marty also loves to play fetch for endless hours, she said.
“Every time he comes in for a visit, the first thing he does is jump out of the car and finds a stick and brings it to me,” said Kahny.
He also is a snuggler.
“One of his favorite things to do is hide under the covers and attack you when you come near. Every time I make the bed he waits until I’m done and then burrows under all of the pillows and sticks just his nose out,” said Kahny.
At Easter she put little treats in plastic eggs scattered around the yard. He found every one, jumping on them to get them open, she said.
If you want to stay on his good side, however, make those baths quick, and his trips under the hair dryer nice and long. “He loves to be pampered and is completely spoiled rotten! And he deserves it,” said Kahny.
When he summers at grandma’s house, Marty also gets to see Kahny’s dog, Karmen. Hopefully this year, Marty will not rub it in that he made the top three in the contest. German Shepherd, Karmen, however, did not do too bad himself, making the finals after a win in Week Two.
“Karmen will be 7 this month. I got her from retired K-9 officer, Al Gill, in Wapakoneta, Ohio, when she was 18 months old,” said Kahny.
He trains dogs from Germany for police agencies all over the Unites States, she said.
“Al and K-9 Charley (one of his bomb dogs) were called on numerous times to work sweeps for President Bush before and after he was elected. He also breeds the top lines and raises and trains the puppies. Karmen was one from a litter of his two top dogs. She was being trained in security and on the bite sleeve but she just wasn’t aggressive enough so he put her up for sale as a family companion dog,” said Kahny.
Quite simply, she is a “sweetheart,” she said.
You might see her sometimes at the Music on the River concerts in Lawrenceburg and other spots around town.
“People see her and just want to pet her, but are a little intimidated by her looks, but I assure them that all she wants is to be petted,” said Kahny.
Soon, she might have another way to put some of her sweetness to good use.
As a Light The Night walk volunteer, Kahny brings Karmen with her to the event every year, which raises money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. This year she was approached by Vitas Innovative Hospice Care about Karmen becoming a part of the Paw Pals Therapy program, said Kahny, who is considering the request.
“The only time I have seen Karmen aggressive was when my daughter and I were out with Marty and Karmen. Another dog came too close to Marty, and Karmen reared up and barked at the other dog. She was just protecting her little buddy,” said Kahny.
Who They? Très Bella
Of course the pet photo contest could not have been complete without two other weekly winners, and overall runners-up, Bella, owned by Nanci Gober, Harrison, and Who-Dey, owned by Jennifer Proffitt, Versailles.
“Bella was adopted at the animal adoption foundation outside of Ross, Ohio, in February of 2011 with her brother, Chewy,” said Gober.
Chewy also took part in the contest.
“When we got her she weighed 3 1/2 pounds. She is now up to 5 pounds. She doesn’t know she is that tiny. She is truly the sweetest and most loving little girl,” said Gober.
Both Bella and Chewy have brought a lot of joy into her life, she said.
“We often call her ‘belly’ because as soon as you meet her she rolls over to have her belly rubbed. She loves to give kisses and play peek-a-boo with you. Also loves going across the street with Chewy to visit papaw on the porch for treats,” said Gober.
Runner-up Who-Dey, is a pure bred Bengal cat.
When entering the photo Proffitt said her “little baby ... sure is handsome.”