NILES Picture this: Your pet helping out a charity

The top three photographs will receive prize baskets.
NILES -- Pet lovers, rejoice. A picture of your pooch, a keepsake of your kitty or a remembrance of your rabbit can help benefit K-9s for Compassion.
K-9s for Compassion and The Picture People at Eastwood Mall are sponsoring a pet photo contest Sept. 21-Oct. 26. All proceeds benefit the local chapter of K-9s for Compassion, a nonprofit organization with Delta Society-registered animals that visit area nursing homes and hospitals.
The registry
Delta Society is a national registry that tests dogs and handlers to visit with the elderly and the infirm.
Katie Squibbs, president of the local K-9s chapter, said there are 26 dogs, five cats, two birds and one rabbit that make the rounds in the area.
The group provides uniforms for the humans and animals, testing for those interested in participating in the program, bacterial cultures for participating animals and more.
"As the group grows, it gets more expensive," she said. "We just did cultures on all the animals and we paid the lab more than $1,500."
Squibbs said animals are chosen based on tests which cover everything from obedience to personality.
Some animals are well-trained, but may not be able to handle exposure to medical equipment, odors or settings.
"We test twice a year, and the national average of animals who pass the first time is about 8 percent," she said.
The proceeds from the pet photo contest will help defray costs and prevent them from being passed on to participants.
Photo shoots
Anyone can schedule a photo shoot with The Picture People for $10. The fee -- which benefits K-9s for Compassion -- guarantees one 8- by 10-inch contest portrait, but extras can be bought.
All entrants will be sent to the corporate offices of The Picture People for judging. The top three receive a basket filled with dog, cat and people goodies.
If a winning animal is a species other than cat or dog, an appropriate prize will be awarded.
For more information on K-9s for Compassion, call (330) 534-2001.
To schedule an appointment for the pet photo contest, call The Picture People at (330) 652-1700.

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