Like most dogs, Remington, a yellow Labrador retriever owned by Carol and Dale Cook, likes to know what’s going on around his home.
He likes to know who’s home and who isn’t, and he’ll alert his family when a delivery man comes to the door, or when there are “animals in the yard that aren’t supposed to be there,” like possums and skunks, Carol Cook said.
Carol’s photo of Remington poking his head through a peephole in the fence – framed by a Christmas wreath and red bow – won first prize in The Eagle’s 12th annual Holiday Pet Photo Contest. His photo was chosen out of 165 entries, winning Carol a $50 gift card to a pet store.
To see a gallery of all the online entries, go to http://www.kansas.com/2011/11/30/2122326/holiday-pet-photo-contest.html .
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A couple of years ago, when Dale Cook realized the wooden privacy fence on one side of his home limited Remington’s view of their rural Cheney neighborhood, he got out his saw and cut a round, dog-head-sized hole in the fence.
Remington, now 5 years old, often can be seen with his head sticking out of the peephole, keeping an eye out for critters, visitors and the family car, Carol Cook said.
Carol framed the peephole with the wreath and bow with the intent of taking Remington’s photo for the contest. When she got ready to take the picture, Remington wasn’t interested in looking out, so she brought their other Labrador, Mattie, into the front yard to get his attention.
“He wasn’t liking that,” Carol said. “He had to look to see where she was. He thought he was being left out of something.”
With his fluffy white fur, roundish head and ears and coal-black eyes, Toby, a bichon frise-poodle mix owned by Karen Baird of Andover, is an easy stand-in for a snowman. His photo took second place in the contest, winning Baird a $30 gift card.
“He’s the best of both breeds,” Baird said of 3-year-old Toby. “He’s a ‘people dog’ like a bichon and smart like a poodle.”
Baird got the idea for the photo when she spotted a stuffed snowman at a Goodwill store. “I thought the hat and scarf were about the right size for my dog,” she said.
She added elastic to the hat so it would stay on Toby’s head; the black “buttons” are no-skid felt pads that stick to the bottom of chair legs.
She adorned her deck with a sign featuring three snowmen and the words “Live, Love, Laugh,” made a snow backdrop out of a white tablecloth, and added some greenery.
In the photo, Toby is sitting up, begging for a treat, with his paws in the air. All that’s missing from this “snowdog” is a carrot for a nose.
Toby is “a good sport about letting me dress him up, and he’s good about posing,” Baird said. “He’s a real ham for the camera.”
Itsy is not a cat that’s always into everything, owner Nicolette Nuessen says. But there’s something about a Christmas tree that a kitty just can’t resist.
“They like the colors, and the sparkles, and when the lights are on, how the bulbs reflect the light,” Nuessen, of Americus, said. “And, of course, cats really like trees.”
Nuessen’s photo of Itsy perched inside the tree, staring at a shiny red bulb, took third place in the contest, winning her a $20 gift card.
If the Christmas tree is up, Itsy often can be found in it, Nuessen said, although the gray-and-black tabby is careful not to disturb the ornaments.
“She has never thrown down a bulb,” Nuessen said. “She just winds herself in there and sits there and looks.”
At just 3 1/2 pounds, Itsy has a name that fits her. She was the runt of her litter and wasn’t breathing when she was first born to a neighbor’s cat more than two years ago, Nuessen said.
“She had to be revived when she was born,” Nuessen said. “They kind of had to shake her and rub her and warm her up. And she came to.”
Itsy is a sweet cat but can be ornery and quirky, Nuessen said. The only way she will drink water is from a running faucet.
“She has her own way,” Nuessen said.