First place dog winner Piper with 2,179 votes.
Photo courtesy ARF

Animal Rescue Friends of Idyllwild’s Pets of the Year photo contest gathered in $11,206 by the time it ended at 9 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 28, more than the $10,000 goal shown online. The funds will go right back into the community to help people with low incomes afford services for their animals at ARF’s clinic. Such services include vaccinations, heart-worm tests and prevention measures, dental and spay/neuter services. It also will help cover extended medical procedures for senior pets in ARF’s care. This is the second year ARF has held the Pets of the Year photo contest.

The contest had three categories of pets: dogs, cats and other. First, second and third places won prizes. The number of votes received equals the matching dollar amount.


First place: Piper, 2,179 votes, which translates into $2,179

Second place: Stoli O’Rocks with 1,389 votes

Third place: Bailey with 1,201 votes

When Piper’s guardian, Katryn Robinson, was asked how she felt about Piper’s win, she said, “We are thrilled with the honor bestowed upon Piper. There were so many wonderful pets and amazing stories, and we are so excited to share Piper’s story with all the ARF fans and supporters. Having adopted her from a rescue situation, we fully understand, and fully value, the importance of what this win means for ARF. Piper’s comforting soul has helped many of the ARF fosters that have stayed with us over the years, and we know she will continue to be a wonderful advocate for rescue pets and a great representative for ARF.”

This is Piper’s story, as seen on the contest site at “Piper was hit by a train in Riverside in 2012. The animal control rescue group must have known she was special because they saved her. Not only was she restrained to the tracks, she was pregnant and had just had her leg severed by the train. She endured many months of rehabilitation to help her adjust to losing a leg and healing other broken bones. She has no idea she is missing her front leg or that her tail is crooked due to many fractures. And she definitely doesn’t know she is missing teeth or that her jaw was fractured at that time, too.

“Just two short years after recovery, Piper was diagnosed with cancer. She underwent surgery to remove masses at almost the same location as her missing leg. She is currently cancer free! Despite what she has been through, she has a zest for life and loves everyone. Her greatest attribute is making others feel comfortable. It doesn’t matter if you are a human having a bad day or feeling under the weather or you are a fellow canine or feline friend with concerns about life or separation anxiety, she is right there to bring cheer, comfort and loving friendship.”


First place cat winner Bash with 515 votes.
Photo courtesy ARF

First place: Bash (for bashful) received 515 votes

Second place: Herman with 280 votes

Third place: Hershey with 245 votes

Sisters Denise and Jeannine Selby are co-guardians for Bash. Jeannine said, “We are thrilled to have won the cat category and be part of ARF’s ongoing efforts to keep as many animals as safe as possible. Can’t wait to see Bash’s face on a bottle of wine! I hope everyone took the time to read all the pet bios; definitely amazing stories of survival and resilience.”
This is Bash’s story as seen on the contest’s website: “My story started at the Vista Grande fire station. Me and my brother were in a cabinet drawer at the station waiting for my mom to show up and take us home. When she came to get us, I was so bashful I couldn’t even look at her, so she named me Bash. I have come a long way since then, and I love visitors! I’ve mastered the art of eye contact and how to position myself on anyone’s lap. I’ve grown up in a house full of dogs, so I come when called, and run with the pack! I’m great at keeping mice out of mom’s house, and occasionally let her know if there is a snake in the house, too!”


First place: Dusty the dove with 395 votes.

First place “other” winner Dusty with 395 votes. Photo courtesy ARF

Second place: Colonel JFK Freckles, horse, with 230 votes.

Third place: Ellie Belly, turtle, with 90 votes.

Teri Hardy, Dusty’s guardian, said, “I am excited that I could help raise money that will go to help more families and their pets in our community. Having Dusty as a contestant personalized the experience for me.”

Here’s Dusty the dove’s story from the contest website: “It is not unusual for locals to find wandering dogs and cats, but a dove? Dusty, a beautiful dove, was looking for his human in the Fairway parking lot. A wonderful local rescued Dusty from the dangerous situation and then contacted me. I’ve had doves as members of my family, but at the time I had none. I was more than happy to welcome this feathered friend into my home. Since coming home with me, I’ve found a girlfriend for Dusty, and they are expecting! Does this mean I’m going to be a grandma?”… Jan 31: Dusty is a proud father. Ugly ducklings also apply to dove squabs. But soon he/she will be a beautiful white dove. If interested in adopting, please notify ARF.”

Businesses in the Idyllwild community are sponsoring the awarding of gifts to winners of the pet contest.

First -place winners receive:

• A case of Baily Wine, donated by Baily Winery, Temecula, with each bottle’s label featuring a photo of the winning pet;

• The Uptown Bar, Café Aroma, will be inspired by and create a special cocktail in honor of each winning pet;

• A set of etched wine glasses featuring contest title and pet’s name, donated by Idyllwild Decal and Design;

• The winning pets’ photos will be displayed in the ARF House throughout 2018;

• The winning pets’ names will be featured in the kids’ zone at ARF’s June 2 Paws for Rhythm and Blues beer festival.

Second-place winners receive:

Dog: A portrait of the winner donated by local artist Robert Bush.

Cat: An oil portrait of the winner donated by artist Cheryl Davis.

Other: A personalized cartoon of the winner donated by local artist Lois Shepard.

Third-place winners receive:

Baskets containing gifts for both the pet and the human guardian. The gift basket is provided by Renaissance Pet Resort.

Also, all other contestants who receive 50 or more votes will be put into a drawing to win a pastel pet portrait by Lynn Ryan.