By Sue Botos
Stan the golden retriever may not know it, but he is “Top Dog” in Cuyahoga County.
Stan’s neighbor Alexandra Gluntz, a fifth-grader at Kensington Intermediate School, wrote about the dog for a language arts class assignment, then entered her story in the Top Dog essay contest, which was introduced this year by the Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter. Her tale ended up fetching first place in her division.
“Well, we don’t have a dog, so I wrote about the best dog I know, Stan,” Alexandra said recently.
“Stan is our neighbor’s golden retriever. He is a really fun and playful dog and really fluffy, too. Whenever I am outside he gets really excited and comes over to me so we can play. He is really smart, too, because he even knows sign language. If I had a dog, I would want one just like Stan,” she added.
This was the first year for the contest, which, according to information provided by the county shelter, strives to educate children about the importance of pet ownership and to provide them with a way to share with others why their favorite pooch is number one. The entries had to be handwritten in pen or pencil on 8 1/2 by 11 lined paper.
Students in grades one through five throughout Cuyahoga County were eligible to enter an essay of 50 words or less about why their dog should be chosen as top dog. The entries, which were collected in November, consisted of two categories: dog owners and non-dog owners. One winner was chosen for each grade level in both categories, and an overall winner was selected from the dog owner category. Koko, a rescue dog from Brook Park owned by first-grader Troy Schick, was awarded the first (#1) dog tag for 2012, along with other prizes donated to the contest.
Dogs over three months of age must have been licensed and immunized to be eligible for the contest. Judges for the contest were members of the Cuyahoga County Council.
“I was really excited and surprised. I never thought I would win,” said Alexandra, recalling the letter she received in the mail notifying her of the win. She, along with the other winners, will be recognized at a ceremony tonight at the county’s animal shelter on Sweet Valley Drive in Parma.
The young Rocky River resident may continue to express herself on paper. Her mother Laura observed, “I think this has sparked the creative writing bug in Alexandra.”
How is Stan dealing with his celebrity? He’s finding it’s not such a “ruff” life.