Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Rock the vote for MoMo!

Did you see this in the paper today? MoMo is a friend of our client Rex! Please help us help Mozart!
Local dog 'Mozart' up needs your votes for cutest dog competition
by Sheila Stroup, Columnist, The Times-Picayune
Tuesday September 15, 2009, 5:00 AM

Go to http://www.cutestdogcompetition.com/and register to vote. Once you've registered, click on Cutest Dog Gallery and search for Mozart (MoMo) and click on "Vote Cute" under his photo. You can vote once a day until Oct. 24, or until he is the weekly winner.

Cara McCool thinks she has the cutest dog on the planet. If enough people agree with her and vote for Mozart in the national Cutest Dog Competition, she could win $1 million for local causes.
"Even if he doesn't win, I want to draw attention to the organizations that are really dear to me," she says. "MoMo," a 19-pound Cavalier King Charles spaniel, was a puppy when McCool moved to New Orleans in 2003. "I'm from a little bitty small town in Mississippi," she says. "I moved here because I loved New Orleans, and it made the most sense." McCool, 30, went to LSU as a music major and stayed to get her master's degree in piano performance. She named MoMo after Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, her "absolute favorite composer." "He's been my favorite since I was old enough to remember," she says. When she was a graduate student, her tiny puppy attended classes with her, and he enjoyed going to recitals, too. Now, he's an attentive listener when children and teenagers come to her Uptown studio for their lessons. "Sometimes, he jumps up on the piano stool and tries to get into the act," she says. After Katrina sent her back to Baton Rouge and scattered her students around the country, McCool realized just how much she had come to love New Orleans. She repaired her wind-damaged studio and moved back to the city in December 2005. She was president of the Louisiana Music Teachers Association at the time and helped established the Save Our Students fund to provide scholarships for children of families who had lost everything in the storm. "We still have it for families all over the state who are struggling," she says. That's one of the causes she hopes will benefit from MoMo winning the competition. The others include Redeemer Presbyterian Church Disaster Relief, Desire Street Ministries, The Musical Arts Society of New Orleans (which puts on the International Piano Competition every year), and the Louisiana SPCA. "The SPCA is just a given, because I'm an animal lover, and I have lots of feral cats around my house," she says. The Cutest Dog Competition started Aug. 1, but McCool didn't find out about the 12-week Internet contest until a few weeks ago when she read about it on Facebook. "I decided to enter MoMo because it would be fun and could potentially help lots of people and animals," she says. Each week the dog getting the most votes wins $500 and a chance to be in the finals. Since McCool entered MoMo, he has been in the top 30 each week out of the thousands of dogs in the competition. "If he can just win one week, I think he has a shot at winning it all," she says. "I'm a little bit biased, but he's a really pretty dog." She knows MoMo would be a great ambassador for New Orleans. "He is really, really sweet, and I've made lots of friends and even got new students because of him," she says. "People stop to talk to us when we're walking, and I end up teaching their kids." MoMo has one bad habit. He'll eat almost anything. Just before Mardi Gras, he ended up in the hospital after eating a water-bottle cap, and a few days after he came home, he was at it again. That time, he ate the top of an energy drink bottle, a sharp piece of wood and all the stuffing from his chipmunk toy. If he does win the contest, McCool will keep the prize money away from him.
When she took him to the French Quarter to campaign one weekend, they stopped to listen to some street musicians and McCool left them a couple of dollars. "I turned my head for a minute," she says. "When I turned back, MoMo was trying to eat the money out of their little money box."

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