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Wags-to-Riches Tail––uh, Tale!

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While our first East Valley Magazine Cutest Pet Contest wasn’t without some hiccups, it was ultimately a fun way for neighbors to share pictures of their adorable animals. Pet owners from around the area embraced the idea of snapping photos of their beloved critters and actively solicited votes for their pets. The voting and dialogue on Facebook did get heated, but it’s best to keep in mind that all the animal contestants are winners because they have homes with loving owners. Considering that so many dogs, cats, and other domesticated animals end up at shelters––or worse, living on the streets, neglected, becoming victims of cruelty, or dead––the simple fact is that any pet lucky enough to have a caring home comes out ahead.

This year’s Cutest Pet winner is a beautiful Australian shepherd named Izak. His “mom,” Ashley Barinka brought him home at just four weeks old and now five years later he’s a bona fide cover model. Izak garnered 1,895 votes to win a spot on our cover. While Izak is now a star thanks to his magazine debut, his presence in the Barinka household is how he shines the brightest, bringing joy to the family. Find out why on page 44. Meanwhile, a shout-out goes to Thor, an adorable French bulldog. Thor garnered 1,726 votes to come in second in the contest. Our third-place spot, with 1,090 votes, goes to Dixie, a handsome terrier/bulldog (with a dash of mastiff) mix. Keep an eye out for our next Cutest Pet Contest early next year.

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Regarding contests, thank you to all the lovely contestants in our recent Face of the East Valley Model Search. Unfortunately, we regret to inform our readers and all the contestants in the contest that due to technical issues during the voting period and the resulting data corruption, we simply cannot determine who won the contest. Hence, the contest has been canceled.

Meanwhile, if you can pull yourself away from Izak’s heartwarming cover story, check out all the other engaging articles in this issue. We’ve got the area covered. And, remember, this magazine is about you, our readers so if you have any news to share, we want to hear it!

Until next time!

Cheers!

Adam & Matthew Toren

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