LEWISTOWN - Boomer was a stud dog, raised in a kennel and turned over to a shelter when he was of no further use.
But his life turned around quickly when he was lucky enough to be picked up by Rescue Our Furry Friends in Burnham. Now a happy, healthy 7-year-old Labrador Retriever with a new family of his own, Boomer has a chance to help the rescue that saved him.
Boomer is one of 100 finalists in the Fuzzy Nation Super Model photo contest, sponsored by the Petfinder Foundation. If he wins, ROFF will receive a grant of $15,000 from the foundation.
Boomer, a 7-year-old yellow Labrador Retriever, is one of 100 finalists in the Fuzzy Nation Super Model photo contest. If Boomer wins, $15,000 will be awarded to Rescue Our Furry Friends in Burnham. Public voting continues through Oct. 12 on the Fuzzy Nation Facebook page.
"Right now, we are low on our finances, so the money would be a huge, huge help to us," Sue DeArmitt, secretary on the board at ROFF, said.
According to its website, the ROFF organization was established in 2004 and has placed more than 350 dogs and 250 cats locally. Since the rescue does not have its own facility, every animal surrendered to or received by ROFF receives full vet care and is spayed or neutered before being placed in approved foster homes. DeArmitt said ROFF provides foster families with crates, food, treats and toys and pays veterinary costs until the animals are adopted.
Although the work is rewarding, dwindling funds amid increasing need in the community limit the number of animals ROFF can help. DeArmitt said ROFF is unable to accept new animals at this time.
"It's very, very hard when people call ... to tell them, 'I'm sorry,'" but the group can't rescue the animals, DeArmitt said.
If anyone can offer a helping hand - or paw - Paula Wray, of Decatur Township, says it's Boomer. She and her husband, Don Reed, adopted Boomer from ROFF three years ago and have deemed him the "world's nicest dog."
"Boomer has both looks and personality," she said. "I have had a few (dogs) before him that I loved, but they were not so gentle."
If not his soft yellow locks or friendly personality, Boomer is sure to captivate audiences with his contagious smile.
"We did notice right away how Boomer can smile. He does this when he is especially happy to see you," Wray said.
On Wednesday afternoon, Boomer's photo was ahead of some finalists in the Fuzzy Nation contest, but still trailing far behind the leading entries. With help from the community, Boomer still has a chance to pull into the lead before the contest ends on Oct. 12.
Supporters can vote for Boomer once daily through the Fuzzy Nation Facebook application at www.facebook.com/fuzzynation/app_117170818364057. To increase voting power, use a multiplier code: JuJYjx for 100 votes; TECeGp for 50 votes; JD7w8x for 25 votes; 9vDe2q for 10 votes; or 3Gud8Q for 2 votes.
"It's not so much for Boomer, but ROFF deserves to win. These people work tirelessly and are constantly in need of money to keep helping animals," Wray said.
For more information about ROFF, visit www.roff.cc. The rescue will also host a benefit dinner from 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 6 at Milroy Fire House. The money will help cover veterinary and care costs for foster animals. Call (877) 933-7633 to register.