LEE COUNTY, Fla. - Some of Southwest Florida's four-legged friends will soon don the pages of a photo calendar, benefiting Animal Refuge Center... and wait until you hear what breed beat out the competition for the cover.
Meet Oxford, a one-year old Cape Coral pit bull-turned pin-up. He won a landslide of online votes for Animal Refuge Center's pet photo calendar contest, a win even catching his owner off guard.
"I'm a little surprised. I'm a little surprised. I love him, and I figured if anybody met him they'd love him too," Michele Silverberg said Wednesday.
The shelter says he was a sure-win, sweeping the competition with 228 online votes from everyday people.
"He was laying on his back, and I got right over to him and called his name and he looked up, and just the look on his face, it looked like he was smiling," Silverberg said.
Animal Refuge Center says they're thrilled with Oxford's win. They're the largest no-kill animal shelter in Southwest Florida, caring for 460 pets, many of them pit bulls. They hope the cover model will offer a new image to pit bull's traditionally bad rap.
"If you breed them to be vicious, they will be. If you breed them to be a great household pet, as you can see, they turn out to be awesome," Animal Refuge Center's Carlos Navedo said Wednesday.
All proceeds from the 2011 calendars go to Animal Refuge Center, which like most non-profits, is struggling with a slump in donations. But with a smile like this, the shelter's confident calendar sales will be a success.
"He performed like a champ. The photographers were really thrilled with him and he did great!" Silverberg said.
To pre-order one of the 2011 calendars, visit Animal Refuge Center's website at www.AnimalRefugeCenter.com, or call 239-731-3535.