Beagle goes from wags to riches

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 25, 2007

What started as a few home videos of beloved pets turned into a national contest and grand-prize win for Calera residents George and Jenny Wiley.

The couple&8217;s 1-year and 4-month-old beagle, Griffey, wagged his way to the top of the medium breed video category in Eukanuba pet food&8217;s online Beauty of the Breeds contest.

&8220;My husband&8217;s a video director, and sometimes we make goofy, short films of our two dogs,&8221; Jenny Wiley said. &8220;We made one and thought, &8216;There&8217;s got to be dog contests for something like this.&8217;&8221;

So they began looking.

&8220;We started with the dog food brands, and there happened to be one on the Eukanuba site.&8221;

More than 2,500 dog owners submitted photos and videos to the public-judged contest, according to a Eukanuba press release. In total, the company announced six grand prize winners, one each for small, medium and large breeds in both a photo and video category.

The Wileys started their competition quest because of an existing video, they ended up shooting another because the original was three or four minutes long. For Eukanuba&8217;s contest, it could only be 30 seconds.

&8220;They wanted you to show your pet&8217;s most beautiful qualities. We had to figure out how to portray that in 30 seconds,&8221; Wiley said. &8220;It was kind of a challenge.

&8220;We touched on his personality and his love for our family. We staged me coming home from work and how he reacts,&8221; Wiley said, calling special attention to Griffey&8217;s always wagging tail.

Originally from Indiana, the couple moved to Alabama last year, Wiley in the summer and her then-fiance in the fall. He gave Wiley the beagle pup to keep her company. Wiley quickly learned what made Griffey special. Like most other dogs, he loves walks and nuzzling his owners, but he has a few distinctive quirks as well.

&8220;He absolutely loves car rides. You can say &8216;car ride&8217; and he&8217;ll just run to the door,&8221; Wiley said. &8220;Sometimes he&8217;ll get so wound up, and we&8217;ll just open the garage door, and he&8217;ll run and jump in the car and just sit there and relax.&8221;

Even with Griffey&8217;s lighthearted, snuggly personality, Wiley feels their entry had an extra edge.

&8220;I think it helps that my husband does that [makes videos] for a living. I hate to say that, but he&8217;s good at what he does,&8221; Wiley said.

As a national winner, Griffey and owners receive a one-year&8217;s supply of

Eukanuba food and the chance to appear in a Eukanuba advertisement.