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Archive for June 6th, 2010

Boston terrier wins Elvis lookalike contest

Ace and I have been avoiding all things Elvis — not easy to do when one is between Memphis (home of Graceland) and Tupelo (birthplace of The King).

Still, I would be remiss if I didn’t pass along this news:  A Boston terrier named Boomer won the Elvis Pet Look-A-Like contest at the 2010 Tupelo Elvis Presley Festival.

Boomer, who has his own website — boomertheboston.com — came all the way from Springfield, Missouri to compete in the contest.

As you might guess, there’s an even more popular human division, whose sideburned entrants came from as far away as Canada, the Tupelo Daily Journal reported.

The weekend event included a reenactment of Elvis’ mother purchasing him his first guitar at Tupelo Hardware.

Boomer donned an Elvis-style wig, sideburns included, and a rhinestone jumpsuit for the Elvis lookalike pet contest, which followed the Elvis parade and benefitted the Tupelo-Lee County Humane Society.

Big mane on campus

 
Lots of sports teams call themselves Lions, but the University of North Alabama boasts the only live lion mascots in the country — two of them.

I dropped by to see them– Leo III and Una — Friday. Ace, because I didn’t want to start a roaring contest, especially after our gas station run in with the big yellow dog, stayed in the air conditioned car with my son, who, living in Florence, had seen the lions many times before.

While I was all ready to lambaste the university for keeping captive lions in this way too hot and humid (for my taste) state, I quickly saw that Leo and Una have it better than many Alabamans.

Now 7 years old,  they reside  in the climate-controlled, 12,764-square-foot George H. Carroll Lion Habitat, which was built with a waterfall, babbling streams, two observatories, private dens with skylights, beamed ceilings and a shaded area provided by a thatched roof. The habitat cost $1.3 million. Feeding and caring for the lions cost $35,000 annually, all of which, like the habitat’s construction, is covered by charitable contributions. The habitat also boasts what it describes as the “largest kitty litter box in this part of the state.”

UNA‘s live lion mascot tradition began in 1974, when then-President Dr. Robert Guillot acquired a 12-pound lion cub, Leo I, from a Knoxville zoo.

Leo I lived 14 years, becoming a locally beloved mascot, and the outpouring of support after his death led to Leo II being brought to UNA in July 1988. Leo II, who Sports Illustrated once named the second best college mascot in the country, died in 2000. 

Leo III and Una, born on November 18, 2002, were the first residents of the new habitat, which opened that year.

You can also see them via a university lioncam.

Tomorrow: Coon Dog Cemetery

To read all of Dog’s Country, click here.