Capitol Hill loves its pets — cats, dogs and the exotic alike — and the affection was on full display last week, as Fireside21 revealed the winners of its “Top Dog” contest and the Animal Health Institute hosted its 17th Annual Celebrity Pet Night, complete with the winners of its 2013 Cutest Pets on Capitol Hill Contest.
“Pet Night is a fun, popular and interactive way to highlight how much we love and care for our pets,” Ron Phillips, AHI's vice president of legislative and public affairs, said of Thursday night's event.
The judges — Kate Bennett of Washingtonian Magazine, Benny Johnson of BuzzFeed, Tommy McFly of 94.7 Fresh FM and Nikki Schwab of US News & World Report — were tasked with sorting through the awww-inducing submissions. Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., a veterinarian, announced the winners, bracketed by Quince, who plays Baxter in "Anchorman II" and Aragon, who plays Lord Tubbington on "Glee."
The cutest exotic pet was the turtle Senator, owned by Megan Thompson, from the office of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. The cutest cat was Avon Barksdale, who is owned by Aly Lubov, who works for Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn. And the cutest dog was Lily, who is owned by Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif.
Meanwhile, Fireside21's “Top Dog” winners, an online contest that had the Hill burning up the Internets, were announced Tuesday on its readers radar.
Online voting has been under way since August. The competition was nothing to woof at, but the top honors went to Winston, the English Labrador representing the office of Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas.
“The winners were chosen based upon their point total with one point for a 'Like' and two for a 'Share' on Facebook,” explained Fireside21 CEO Ken Ward, who was impressed with the voting support that the inaugural competition’s dog-testants received.
Ward told HOH that the cumulative score was 158,309, with the top vote-getter receiving 56,195 points.
“We do anticipate repeating this contest in future years,” Ward said, “but since we received a few complaints from cat people feeling left out, we may have to expand the concept.”