By Peggy Scott
While every dog may, indeed, have his day, 18 Kensington canines can lay claim to a whole month. And one top dog fetched himself an entire year by winning the cover spot on the 2010 Tails of Kensington Dog Calendar.
The photogenic pooches were selected during a Memorial Day “casting call” that included more than 120 hairy hopefuls — from Chihuahuas to American bulldogs and standard poodles — parading past a three-member panel of judges. The large turnout both pleased and challenged organizers.
“I was just relieved that I had enough batteries and memory cards,” said Janice Roudebush, the calendar’s photographer.
Once the 19 finalists were selected, Roudebush created a portrait of each dog and it was up to the community to pick the “coverdog” via a public voting event, held July 17. Would the cover be graced by coquettish Coconut Ruffles? King the handsome husky? Doggie diva Georgia Mae? Once all the votes were counted, it was Skipper the English mastiff who earned bragging — or wagging — rights as the winner.
A pet project of Margaret Downing, whose husband Rex owns the Rex Downing & Associates real estate brokerage firm in Kensington where the balloting party was held, the idea of a community dog calendar started with the Dogs of Kensington Calendar in 2008. Margaret Downing and local photographer Lilian Cooper came up with the concept as a “get to know people” opportunity.
“I had noticed long before this that I often knew the names of people’s dogs but not the owners,” Margaret Downing said. “This was the genesis of the project.”
The contest actually serves multiple purposes. Both Margaret Downing and Roudebush are members of the Friends of the Kensington-Normal Heights Library Board, and a community-wide project such as a pet calendar seemed a good choice as a fundraiser for the group (calendar hopefuls, who must live in the 92116 ZIP code, pay a $10 entry fee). It was also a way to bring people — and their dogs — together.
“It was a great way to get to know the community,” said Liana Reed, who, with husband Rich, owns Kensington Pet Supply, which supplied prizes and other goodies for the contest. “Dogs bring people together.”
Margaret Downing expects the 18-month 2010 Tails of Kensington Dog Calendar to be available around the end of October. It can be purchased through www.tailsofkensington.com, as well as from select area businesses such as Kensington Pet Supply.
Peggy Scott is a freelance pet writer. She can be reached at email@example.com.