Make your pet famous for a good cause

ESCANABA — Have a cute pet and want to support local youths in learning how to read and understand current events? Pet Idol 2019 is a contest which benefits the Newspaper in Education (NIE) program at the Daily Press.

According to Lois Jandron, Daily Press Newspaper in Education coordinator, the fundraising event has been around for about 10 years, but the Daily Press has been involved with the nationwide program for about 30 years.

“I see it as a profitable program for our future, and those kids are our future,” she said.

NIE is a non-profit program sustained through fundraising events and contests, local business sponsors and Daily Press subscribers. The goal of NIE is to promote literacy by bringing newspapers into area classrooms to keep students informed, motivated, and interested in reading.

The Pet Idol contest is just one of the many opportunities for people to support the Newspaper in Education program for the local area schools.

Kristal Soper, Daily Press circulation manager, explained people can enter their pet for $5 and then it’s 50 cents per vote.

In the Pet Idol contest, pets that are entered are featured in the Daily Press. Readers can then vote for their favorite pet by making donations. As voting continues over time, the pet receiving the most votes is named the Pet Idol winner.

People can enter their pets by submitting an official entry form published in the Daily Press, along with a clear photo of their pet and a $5 donation.

Entries will be accepted until close of business on Thursday, June 20.

Jandron said there are three rounds of voting, with the first round including all of the pets submitted. After the first round of voting concludes, half of the pets are eliminated. Once the second round of voting is done, half of the pets are eliminated again. The third round of voting determines the winner.

Each vote is 50 cents and there is no limit on donation amounts — ballot stuffing is encouraged.

All of the money raised from entry fees and votes benefit the local school districts participating in the program, Jandron said.

The Pet Idol winner will be named the Newspaper in Education mascot for the 2019-2020 school year. Photos of the Pet Idol winner will be used to promote the program during that time.

“Last year it was Lucky, a service dog, which was really awesome,” Jandron said.

She added submissions don’t have to be a dog or a cat — but any animal as long as it is a pet.

“I have a horse this year that was submitted,” she said.

If people want to support the program they can do so by becoming a sponsor and donating or by voting for their favorite pet.