Four-Legged Stars

Every year, for the past five years, Chautauqua County Humane Society has played host to a fundraiser that features the hottest dogs and the coolest cats in the area.

The fundraiser, entitled “Hot Dogs, Cool Cats Photo Contest,” is an online program that allows users to vote on photos and stories submitted by area residents. But, those who wish to vote on the photos of more than 140 submissions only have two days left to do so as the fundraiser, which started Jan. 1, will conclude at midnight on Thursday.

According to Roxanne Wendling, community relations director for CCHS, the pet which wins the contest will become the CCHS’s pet of the year, and will be one of the top 12 pets featured in the calendar that is slated for a late February release.

“The program is neat for a couple of reasons; one being that people are so proud of their pets and their pet photos,” said Wendling. “When you read the little stories that are posted with the photos, many of these animals were originally adopted from our shelter, another shelter or were rescued in some way. So, it’s nice to go through these stories and see how many people have had good results from adopting or rescuing an animal.”

The program serves as a fundraiser by allowing users to make monetary donations via a voting platform located on CCHS’s website: Proceeds from the contest will be applied to the cost of caring for homeless and neglected pets awaiting adoption.

“For us it serves as a fundraiser that does decently each year,” said Wendling. “Being a nonprofit, every little bit helps. And, this is a way for people to show off their own pet, and help the Chautauqua County Humane Society at the same time.”

In addition to recognition for the animal who wins the contest, prizes are also awarded to the pet’s owner. The grand prize includes an iPad 2, 16 GB, a medium-sized Woodland orthopedic pet bed and 10 complimentary CCHS pet calendars.

The first runner-up will receive a photo session that includes a 16-by-20 canvas from Panebianco photography, a medium-sized Woodland orthopedic pet bed and 10 complimentary CCHS pet calendars. The second runner-up will receive a $75 Wal-Mart gift card and 10 complimentary CCHS pet calendars. The owners of the pets featured in the calendar will also receive 10 complimentary CCHS pet calendars. Plus, every voter is entered into a drawing, and every time they vote their name will be put into a drawing for a $50 shopping spree at CCHS’s 2nd Chances Thrift Store.

Votes, which are $1 each, can either be cast online at or by calling Wendling at 665-2209, ext. 213 to schedule an in-person donation.

The winners of the contest will be notified on Saturday. The contest is sponsored by Media One Group.