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Marni, a Jack Russell terrier from Fort William, has been crowned our Pet Idol winner for 2017-18.
Making it into the final selection of 10, Lochgilphead’s own celebrity goldfish Daniel, and Hamish, a fluffy Cockapoo from Tarbert, were further down the leaderboard.
Marni’s owner Leanne Kennedy, a self-employed hairdresser from Caol near Fort William, says she is ‘over the moon’ and intends using the first prize of £500 worth of vouchers to buy items for a dog rescue charity in Glasgow.
Over the five rounds of the competition, launched in the autumn, hundreds of Argyllshire Advertiser readers, together with those of our sister papers, the Oban Times, Campbeltown Courier and Lochaber Times, voted for their favourites.
These were slowly whittled down until just the 10 most popular pets remained, with 18-month-old Marni declared the winner this week.
Dogs made up the majority of the entrants along with a number of other pets, including cats, Daniel the goldfish, a tortoise, cockerel, rat, and the odd sheep.
Oban Times group editor Susan Windram said she was delighted with the response of readers to the company’s Pet Idol competition.
‘It was a fantastic response from readers right across all of our circulation areas and we’ve all enjoyed seeing so many great pictures of people’s pets,’ Mrs Windram commented.
‘In the end Marni was a worthy winner and it’s wonderful news that her owner Leanne wants to use the vouchers to help dogs who do not have the same kind of loving home that Marni obviously has.’
And a delighted Leanne, who is married to husband Liam, told us: ‘She’s a great wee dog, always full of mischief.
‘We’ve had her since she was just eight weeks old and this is the first time I’ve had a dog of my own,’ Leanne told us.
‘Marni loves toys, especially anything that squeaks. None of them last very long, mind you. She’s very special and we love her loads.’
In the beginning, Leanne did not think her pet had a chance of winning, saying: ‘I didn’t think it was a great photo as it had just been randomly snapped on a mobile phone – just one of hundreds of photos we have of Marni.
‘But people obviously saw something in the picture they really liked and opted to vote for her.’
Leanne explained that in the run-up to Christmas she had been collecting blankets to help dogs being looked after by a charity in Glasgow and intends spending the vouchers on more of the same.
‘Marni will get a few extra treats for winning the competition, but she’s already pretty well spoiled and doesn’t really need anything else, so what better way to use the vouchers than to help less fortunate dogs.’