I was at McAlister’s by the mall the other day and the girl behind the counter asked if I’d like to donate a dollar to what I’m certain was a worthy cause, though it seems to have escaped me now. My donation netted me a paper star on which to write my name so it could be hung for other patrons to see.
“Hello, my name is Vote for Oxford at www.petsafe.net.”
Remember last month how I told you that the city of Oxford was in the running to win $100,000 toward construction of a dog park in PetSafe’s Bark for Your Park contest?
Remember how I told you only the top 15 cities would advance to Round Two and that Oxford stood a really good chance of making it? So we all had to vote twice a day, every day to make sure we got there?
Apparently you do remember because when the finalists were announced a couple weeks ago, Oxford was on the list! No small feat considering that out of the more than 1,000 cities entered in Round One, more votes were cast for Oxford than at least 985 of them. As in, more than at least 98.5 percent. As in, Calhoun County’s very own Oxford was in the top 1.5 percent of the nation. Very impressive, I expect to see tails wagging all the way around.
Now Round Two voting is underway and the competition is fierce (say it with me — twice a day, every day). Since finalist voting began June 5, Oxford has been consistently hanging in there and all this last week it held steady at fifth place (Quick pause to reiterate: Fifth place. Fifth! From an original pool of more than 1,000 competitors? Very. Impressive.)
Now that being said, this is not the time for resting on our fifth-place laurels. The first-place front runner (Mountain House, Calif.) is about to lap us. Among medium–sized cities (remember, there is a $25,000 prize awarded to the winner in each category — small, medium and large by population), there is only one competitor giving us a run for our money (Wheeling, W.Va.).
Now is the time for a surge. Now is the time to get creative. Now is the time to walk that thin line between adorable enthusiast and crazy dog lady (a line I am all too familiar with — just ask around.)
While my star-shaped advertisement hanging at McAlister’s may or may not net Oxford any new voters, you know what it did do? It gave me the opportunity to talk to the two girls behind the counter about the contest (which neither was aware of.)
Of course that’s nothing compared to the events of last Friday evening. First a little background: Every Friday from now until voting ends on July 26 at midnight, you can score a week’s worth of votes with the “7 Vote Sniff Out.” You just go to www.petsafe.com and, if you’re signed in to your account, a box will pop up with a clue that leads to a page on PetSafe’s website. Once you’ve successfully sniffed out the page, a second box will pop up with a trivia question (Hint: The correct answer can be found on that webpage). Answer correctly and seven points will be awarded to the finalist city of your choice (Another hint: The correct city is Oxford).
So I was down in Orange Beach last week for my cousin’s bachelorette party — 16 girls packed into a three-bedroom condo for three days … iPhones were everywhere.
“Why yes, yes I can take a pic for your Instagram #BeachSelfie. Now I’m sure you don’t mind if I just hop on over to PetSafe’s Facebook page real quick…”
By the time Friday’s Sniff Out rolled around, I was fired up. I no longer had a condo of bachelorettes at my disposal, but what I did have was a laptop and a rehearsal dinner party worth of potential vote sniffers. I’m not sure how well hitting up the wedding party for dog park points went over with the mother of the bride, but at least the bride and groom were on board — 14 votes courtesy of Mr. and the soon-to-be Mrs. Wilson.
But I can’t take all the credit for my rehearsal dinner shakedown. The inspiration came from members of the grassroots group that got this whole thing started. You may have seen them hanging out at Quintard Mall, talking up the contest and offering up their laptops for shoppers to log their votes. And now they’ve got a Facebook page for Oxford’s supporters. Go to Facebook and like their page to connect with Calhoun County dog lovers, receive daily vote reminders and brainstorm ways to make sure our canine community gets the playground it deserves.
Do you have a creative strategy to help keep Oxford in the game? Pass it on by leaving a comment on this story at www.annistonstar.com or on The Star’s Facebook page.
Oh, and one last thing … Go vote! On PetSafe’s Facebook page and on the website at www.petsafe.net. All together now — twice a day, every day…