Cats! Dogs! Votes!
by Wayne Wood
I am very pleased to announce the winners of this year’s House Organ Pet Poll, the online vote that was held to pick the favorite Dog, Cat, and Duo or Group.
I am even more pleased to announce that we managed to conduct this year’s Pet Poll without endangering the functioning of the University’s computer network. Which, as some of you may recall, was not the case last year.
First, the winners (Which we posted on the House Organ Web site at the close of voting on Feb. 18).
• Bitsy, the alert Boston terrier entered by Debbie Arnow of Nursing Services, claimed the Dog Category with 277 votes, finishing ahead of Vicki Gann of Liver Transplantation’s dog Nick, (187 votes), and Zeus (183 votes), the dog of Shelley Sadler of the Clinical Staffing Resource Center.
• The Cat Category winner was Maggie, the 21-pound black-and-white feline entered by Ginger Ketschke of Social Work. Maggie amassed 163 votes, smothering the chances of runners up Jake (87 votes), entered by Donna De Pasquale from the Office of Research, and Lilly Belle (71 votes), from Kathleen Mandato of VMG Training.
• The Duo or Group Category was claimed by a duo, Preston the dog and his favorite girl Cameron, the daughter of Timothy Cox of Systems Support. The photo of Cameron hugging the clearly pleased Preston received 365 votes, and topped the runner up dog, girl, and horse group shot of Midnight, Sydney and Charlie Brown (250 votes) entered by Ronald Emeson of Pharmacology, and Smalls and Minnie (121 votes), the sleepy cuddling canines entered by Bryana Andrews of the VMG Clinic Pharmacy.
There were more than 2,800 votes received in the two weeks of polling, which was a good total considering that votes were limited to one per computer.
This was in stark contrast to last year’s wild-west polling experience, in which, in my wisdom, I suggested that we go the “American Idol “route and place no limits on voting at all.
Very quickly, several pets began pulling vote totals that Presidential candidates can only dream of, mainly due to the use of automated voting programs. Votes were pouring in at such a furious rate that  some concerned individuals from our University Information Technology contacted me to work out a solution that could, at the same time, achieve two objectives:

1. Allow people to vote for their favorite tabbies, calicos, hounds and terriers.
2. Not leave University servers in a smoking crater in the center of the Peabody campus.

This year, we got it right from the start—which is a good feeling—and which led to the heartfelt expression of this sentiment: “Whew!”
Thanks to everybody who helped make the Pet Poll a success, and, in a good way, much more boring than last year’s fiasco voting.
And congratulations to Bitsy, Maggie, and Preston and Cameron, who have won the only prize offered by the House Organ Pet Poll: bragging rights for the coming year.
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Check out the  winners  of the  2010 VUMC Pet Poll