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Animals to star as United Way models

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

The Tri-County United Way is looking for pictures of cute "Fidos," and "Sylvesters," to show off in the organization's 2011 Pet Calendar.

The United Way chapter, which serves Clayton, Henry and Butts counties, is accepting photograph-entries from the tri-county area, for its second annual calendar fund-raiser, according to Sheri Willis, the organization's associate director of resource development.

She said the deadline to submit an entry is Aug. 30.

Only photographs of dogs, or cats, will be accepted, Willis said.

The money raised from calendar sales, she said, will be used to support community programs in the three counties. The calendars will be sold throughout metropolitan Atlanta. The Tri-County United Way raised $1,300 through sales of last year's calendar, she said. "It was such a success last year, and we're hoping it's going to be an even bigger success this year."

Willis said the idea for the calendar came about because all four people who work in her office are pet owners, and they regularly bring their pets to work with them. A Georgia Power executive working with the group, through its three-month "Loaned Executive" program noticed this, and suggested the calendar as a fund-raising initiative, Willis said.

"We were trying to think of a different way to raise money for our programs," she continued. "Pet lovers are true pet lovers, and they love to see their pet's pictures published, so it seemed like a good idea."

Willis said there is no set criteria for what the pet must be doing in the picture, to get it published. It is really up to the pet owners to decide which pictures they will submit as an entry. One photograph, equals one entry, and there is a fee of $10 per entry, she said.

"Last year, we had several entries where people dressed up their pets in some sort of outfit, whether it be a sweater, or a Halloween costume," Willis said. "But, also we had some where the pets were not dressed up. We had one where someone took a picture of their dog just laying on the coach, and we had another one sitting on a boat.

"If your pet is doing something interesting, and he [or she] looks really cute, we'd love to have it," she added. Pictures can be e-mailed to tricountyunitedway@yahoo.com, and a picture must be accompanied by the pet's name, breed, and age, as well as his, or her, parents' names, home address and phone number.

Willis said entries will not be considered until the organization receives the entry fee, which can be mailed to United Way Calendar Event, 107 Westridge Industrial Blvd., McDonough, Ga. 30253. Checks should be made payable to "United Way," she said.

The top 13 photos, as voted on by a panel of community members, to be selected by Tri-County United Way staff, will be featured in 8-inch-by-10-inch formats in the calendar. Willis said the judges will be people who do not have pet photographs entered, and have no stake in which pictures are selected.

She added that one of the 13 photographs will be used for the calendar's cover, and each of the other 12 pictures will be used as the main photo for a month. All other pictures submitted will also make it into the calendar, but in smaller sizes, and they will be spread out through the calendar. Last year, 28 photographs were submitted, she said.

Willis said Tri-County United Way is also selling advertising space in the calendar. The calendar is scheduled to be released in mid-to-late-September, according to Willis. For more information about the calendar, call (678) 623-2876.