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Doggone cute

By C. Todd Lopez

WASHINGTON (Jan. 01, 2008) -- The cat's out of the bag: winners of the Office of the Inspector General's contest to find the cutest pet include Triumph, a long-haired mini-dachsund, owned by Maj. William Flynn, Office for Congressional and Public Affairs; and Spike, an Abyssinian cat, owned by LaAnna Mraz and Jerry Mraz, Directorate for Human Intelligence.

As part of a Combined Federal Campaign fundraising effort, members of the IG, led by staff director Theresa Romano, hosted a contest that allowed pets owned by DIA employees to compete for the title of "Cutest Pet."

About 125 employees entered their cats and dogs in the contest. Photos of those pets were posted in the DIAC lobby where nearly 1,200 DIA employees voted for their favorites.

So many votes were cast, and the votes were close, Romano said, it was decided to award first, second and third place prizes in each category. All the winners received gift cards to a local pet supply store.

A dog trainer outside of DIA, Romano originated the idea for the contest as a fundraiser for CFC.

"As a dog trainer, I know people who own pets are rabid about them," she said. "And they are also generous. I didn't know what to expect, but I was amazed that people were as generous as they were, even those that didn't have a dog in the race. The contest was amazingly successful."

Those who entered pets in the contest, and those that voted, were asked to make donations to the IG's contribution to CFC. Overall, the event raised about $2,300 -- 100 percent of which was donated to the campaign as general CFC funds.