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Cicero Chow Chow a local celebrity

When Cindy Stone, of Cicero first adopted Sophie on Dec. 25, her hope was to provide a loving home for the blind Chow Chow puppy, born with no eyes and liver problems. She had no idea Sophie would warm the heart of hundreds as a winner in the Fourth Annual Bissell Most Valuable Pet Photo Contest.

Stone, owner of Pampered Paws Pet Grooming and creator of Chow Chow Rescue of CNY, entered Sophie's photo in the online contest after hearing about it on Facebook, in hopes of raising money for the rescue organization.

While Stone has 13 other dogs, she chose Sophie's photo to send in to the competition because of everyone's fondness toward the now 5-month-old.

"Sophie is the most unique little dog I have ever met," she said. "She's blind, but she can find me and follow me around the house. It's amazing."

Sophie placed third during the Period Three voting week, which ran on the Bissell website from Jan. 26 through Feb. 1. People visit the site, Bissell.com, and vote on their favorite pets each week for 12 weeks. The top five pets from each voting period are entered into the drawing fro the grand prize.

"We were just thrilled to hear that she was a winner," said Stone. Her husband, Mike Sargeant, and step-daughter, Megan, were also excited about the win. Stone received a $25 Visa gift card, which she spent on toys and treats for Sophie.

Sophie is now in the running, along with 59 other dogs and cats, at a chance to win $10,000 in cash prizes to be donated to pet charity of choice, a Bissell vacuum, a $500 pet shopping spree and the pet's photo on a Bissell vacuum box. The drawing will take place some time in April.

For more information about Sophie, visit her Facebook page at facebook.com/sophie-blind-chow-chow.

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