ELIZABETHTOWN — Kendal and Morgan Smith had a pretty good idea they wouldn’t be barking up the wrong tree when the entered 18-month-old Spencer in the Bladen Journal’s annual Cutest Pet Contest.
“My husband saw the story in the newspaper and said we just had to get Spencer in it,” Morgan said. “So we had him entered the very first day.”
And from there, she said everyone they could get kept up with how the voting was going — as well as did some voting themselves.
“We had family, friends, neighbors, co-workers … anyone we could think of voting,” Morgan said. “And we did a lot of voting, too.”
The longevity of being in the contest from the start, as well as the network of voters, helped Spencer to take the title over 44 other competitors.
Spencer, a Maltese and poodle mix — known in the breeding world as a “maltipoo” — won the 2014 title with 1,063 votes. That’s just 24 votes ahead of the second-place finisher, a basset hound named Hoover who belongs to Kaylie Miller.
“We knew it was close,” Morgan said. “But we also knew Spencer was going to win.”
The Smiths, who were married in mid-2012, got Spencer at Thanksgiving that same year as an 8-week-old puppy.
“He was my Christmas present from Kendall,” Morgan said. “He’s like our baby, and we love him to pieces.”
The victory means the Smiths will receive $100, thanks to the contest’s major sponsor Ray’s Furniture. For second place, Miller will receive $50, thanks to the contest’s secondary sponsor H&R Block. Both Spencer and Hoover may have some extra treats in their future, as well.