Pet owners rejoice, the new 2013 calendars for dog and puppy lovers -- as well as cat lovers -- have hit the shelves. Featured in the new calendars by Workman Publishing are two local dogs -- Buddy and Sammie.

According to Susan Bolotin, editor in chief at Workman Publishing, "We get thousands of submissions for our cat and dog contest calendars each year... As he (the photo editor) sorts through them, he looks for beauty, wit, variety, and artful composition, as well as for pictures that simply have that "ahhh" factor.

"He's also searching for cats and dogs, kittens and puppies that have unusual or surprising stories. This process takes months. Then, after he makes his initial selection, he works with the editors of each of the calendars," said Bolotin.

"Together we fuss over what exactly will make the grade," added Bolotin. "It's never an easy decision -- everyone who submits a photo of a pet thinks that theirs is the most beautiful or the cutest or the funniest, and we tend to agree! Still, we think that setting the bar very high makes for calendars that people love to look at day after day, year after year."

The calendars featuring local dogs, Buddy and Sammie, can be purchased at Shopko, Target, Wal-Mart, Barnes and Noble, Costco and more.

Buddy's Story

Buddy, a six and a half year old Silky Terrier (or large Yorkshire Terrier), owned by The Speers, Gary, the retired former owner of Speer's True Value and Betty, a retired nurse who volunteers at the local free clinic, is, according to his owners, 16 pounds of lean muscle.

The town of Kinnickinnic couple was not planning on getting another dog after the loss of their previous Yorkie at age 18.

We "had decided it was too hard to lose a loving pet and thought we would not have any more dogs," said Betty.

Nine months later -- which is three months longer than their children thought they would last -- while looking through the River Falls Journal, Betty came across an advertisement for "puppies for sale."

"I called the gentleman and he emailed pictures of the puppies to me," said Betty.

"Of course, all puppies are cute but when I showed them to Gary, he selected which one he wanted."

Betty describes Buddy as a quick study and a very amusing dog. "He really is a 'people' dog... he loves everyone he meets and has made many friends as we have traveled throughout the U.S. and Canada," said Betty.

Besides meeting people on his travels, Buddy loves to fish and, according to his owners, "...has even jumped out of the boat and swam after a fish on the other end of the pole -- thankfully he had his leash on and we could retrieve him before the fish decided to take a taste of him."

According to Betty, they adopted another dog this summer, a Shitzu mix that had been abandoned. "It took Buddy five weeks to 'accept' Bella as his sister and now, they love to play and roughhouse."

The Speers, who have four children -- Jody Speer, Terry and Julie Speer, Bryan Kolasinski and Heather Jacobson, Krista and Chris Bauman -- and six grandchildren -- Dylan Zdroik, Morgan and Aaron Wright, Jeremy Speer, Ayiana and Adonis Kolasinski -- entered their dog in the Workman Publishing calendar after purchasing the product.

Said Betty: "Being an animal lover is the reason we have purchased the 365 Dog desk calendars for years -- tear off each day and recycle as note paper -- and I have a tradition of buying the 365 Cat desk calendar for the cat lover in the family."

The Speers had son-in-law Chris Bauman, who takes wildlife photos, photograph Buddy for the calendar contest.

Buddy can be seen in the desktop calendar, 365 Dogs 2013 on the date March, 9, 2013.

Sammie's Story

Greenwood Elementary fifth grader Hayley Lindaman loves dogs and puppies and wanted a calendar with dogs and puppies in her bedroom.

"I saw the (puppy) calendar at Shopko and told my mom and dad that is the one I wanted," said Lindaman. "We didn't know about the contest until we opened up the calendar and we saw the contest in it."

To enter the contest Lindaman sent in a photo of her three-and-a-half year old Yorkshire Terrier and Poodle mix -- a Yorkie Poo -- named Sammie. She also had to tell Workman Publishing the good qualities about her puppy, the puppy's name, age, breed, and gender.

When the final judging was done Sammie had a spot in "The 365 Days of Puppies a Year Calendar 2013" -- featured on Nov. 26, 2013.

As a benefit of having her dog featured in the calendar, Lindaman got a complimentary calendar.

The 11-year-old got her dog, Sammie, as a young puppy from Puppies By Possehl, a breeder in southern Minnesota.

Lindaman, the daughter of Scott, a pharmacy manager at Shopko and Jo, a paraprofessional at Greenwood Elementary, says, "I love Sammie so much because Sammie is happy, playful, funny, cute, and loving."

She went on to say, "She (Sammie) loves people, being around other dogs, and does many things that make us laugh."

Lindaman, the sister of Taylor, a soon to be 15-year-old River Falls High School freshman, enjoys soccer, basketball, skiing, and piano.

When asked why people should get a pet, Lindaman said, "Pets are loving, keep you active, teach you responsibility, and (are) always happy to see you when you come home."

Having Sammie has taught Lindaman about responsibility. She also "...makes me happy, keeps me active, makes me laugh, and we couldn't imagine not having Sammie in our lives."