If you have a pretty pooch or a cute cat, they could be a calendar girl or boy in the now on Animal Refuge Center 2011 "Pet Pin-Up" Photo Calendar Contest. ARC is searching for 12 of the area's most bright-eyed, bushy tailed pets to be next year's pin up in ARC's 2012 photo calendar.
The cost to enter is $5 per photo, to enter one pet per photo entry.
Voting for your favorites is free. "There is no cost to vote, thanks to all the local businesses that support this calendar with advertising," said ARC Board Trustee Diane Zabell. "It was very popular last year with over 100 entries and we hope to do it that again year as well.
SandBar Photography has donated services to the winners. Pictured is one of the studio’s family portraits of the Walker Family and their dog Max.
The photo entry period is now through June 30. Voting will run from July 1 to 31. The public will vote on all photo entries, and the 12 photos with the most votes win. Winners will be announced during the first week of August.
Calendars will be sold online, at various ARC events and in local area businesses throughout Southwest Florida, helping to raise funds for one of the area's largest animal shelters. "Throughout this economic downturn so many families have had to give up their animals," Zabell said. "ARC has opened its arms to the community and taken in as many animals that we possibly can. The result in turn has been that costs have went up as well."
She said she hopes the community will help by supporting the calendar.
Not only will the winning pets be featured in the calendar, they also get some great prizes.
The Grand Prize winner will receive the pet's photo featured on the calendar cover as well as one month of the owner's choice in the 2012 ARC photo calendar. There is also a free Family & Pet Photo Session with SandBar Photography ($150 value), a $25 Gift Certificate to Paw-radise Estero Pet Grooming and Bakery, a $25 Gift Certificate to Tender Magic Pet Grooming to get your pet primped before your photo shoot, a hand-painted, customized dog or cat dish for your pet by Cassandra M. Designs ($100 value) and a $10 Petco Gift Card.
Eleven additional winners will receive the pet's photo featured on one month of the 2011 ARC calendar and the free Family & Pet Photo Session with ($150 value).
Both SandBar Photography of North Fort Myers and Cape Coral's Arthur Printing are major contributors to the calendar cause.
The owners of SandBar Photography are Sandy Rose and Barb Stratlin, who have an impressive variety of samples of their work online. They've been in business for the last five years in the area, taking photos and portraits of families, babies, pets and more.
"One of our customers, a mom having a baby portrait taken, suggested we do the ARC Calendar," said Rose. "We then offered our services for all the winners - the pet portrait sessions. We're now the official photographers for the calendar."
"They were a different breed," said Stratlin. "It was a lot of fun. The cats were the most challenging to photography - they can have an attitude but we captured what we wanted for the calendar."
"Cape Coral's Arthur Printing did a fabulous job of printing for us," said Zabell.
"We got involved through a local real estate agent from the Cape that was a client," said owner Lois Welsh. "A really great sponsor is my dog Regal who is from Arc, actually in the current calendar for May. He's a mixed breed, a Terrier/Schnauzer mix which my daughter brought home on Mother's Day. He was completely house trained and is great."
To enter, vote or learn more, visit ARC's Facebook Page at www.Facebook.com/AnimalRefugeCenter and click the "contest" link on the left hand side of the page.
Incorporated in 1988, Animal Refuge Center is a not-for-profit animal welfare society, dedicated to caring for all homeless animals brought to its care at its 22 1-2 acre sanctuary in North Fort Myers. The sanctuary houses a Welcome Center, Canine Training Center, 12 feline facilities, 29 canine lodges and is home to more than 350 cats and 60 dogs available for adoption. For more information visit www.animalrefuge.com or call 731-3535.