Mules take home the prize

Published 6:06 pm Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The 2015 Pet Photo Contest is over, all but the shouting or, perhaps, the hee-hawing.

An unlikely pair of matched mules came out of nowhere to win the Human Society of Pike County’s annual Pet Photo Contest. Pete and Jenny, owned by Don Renfroe of Brundidge, will now have the prestigious honor of being featured on the cover of the 2015 Pet Photo Calendar.

In the past, the Pet Photo Contest has belonged to the cats. A dog, Ziggy, owned by Mallory Hughes, knocked the cats off the throne for the first time last year.

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Cat owners were primed and ready to reclaim the title in 2015 even if they had to scratch and claw their way to it. But then, along came the mules.

“I don’t think anyone ever thought about mules entering the contest. I sure didn’t,” said Lisa Howard, contest chair. “But the mules made the contest interesting, fun and exciting.”

Howard said the contest was expected to be a dog and catfight to the finish until the mules began to make a run for the title.

“Even then, I think most people expected dogs or cats to reclaim the lead,” she said. “And, they did. Cali the Cat took the lead coming down the stretch. But, when that happened, people started voting on the mules and they pulled away with more than 1,500 votes.

“It was a good race and we congratulate Pete and Jenny and all of the pets that were entered in the contest. The money that was raised will support the Humane Society of Pike County’s spay and neuter program and that makes all the pets winners.”

Renfroe, who comes from a long line of muleskinners, said he entered Pete and Jenny not even thinking they might win.

“I’ve been around mules all my life and, to me, they’re just about the prettiest animals around,” he said.

“But, folks today don’t have much interest in mules and I thought getting in the contest might generate a little interest in these beasts of burden.”

Renfroe said mules have a proud history and “pretty much’ carried the young country on their strong backs.

“Mules provided the power needed in the cotton fields and peanut fields and in the coal and logging industries,” he said. “We owe them a lot.”

Pete and Jenny will be featured on the cover of the 2015 Pet Photo Calendar and the pets with the next highest votes will be the “Pets of the Month.”

The 13 month winners are: Cali, JoAnn Echols; Champ and Bubba, J, Sheldon and Teresa Doty; Winter in Alabama, Dr. Pat Block; Buster and Chloe (in memory of Chloe) Beth Maddox; Daisy, Traci Mendel; Giselle, Traci Mendel; Charlie, Eloise Murphree and Carolyn Brantley; Jase Garrett, Daniel and Rachel Garrett; Earnie and Hattie, Eloise Murphree; Jasper, Lloyd Conner; Rusty, Melinda Conner; Brandi, Mary Spier; and Marley, Lauren Crawley.

“All entries in the contest will be pictured on the calendar,” Howard said. “The 2015 Pet Photo Calendars will be available for purchase around the middle of November for $10. And they make great Christmas gifts for animal lovers.”

The calendar sales will also support the humane society’s spay and neuter program.