By DAVID MARTIN
When Kristen Ball's Boston terrier, Buster, was a puppy, she found him dozing in his food bowl. Ball, a 28-year-old CPA who lives in Mission, reached for her digital camera and snapped a picture of the impossibly cute scene.
Because of Ball’s alertness, Buster now has his own Hallmark card. Ball entered the picture of Buster in a contest search for images of funny and endearing pets, along with a birthday sentiment.
Ball says she takes a lot of pictures of Buster, now 4. "I'm single and have no kids, so my dog is kind of my kid," she says.
The inside of Buster's card says, "Wishing you this kind of bliss... Happy Birthday".
Hallmark picked 67 winners from 7,000 entries. The cards became available in stores in June.
A second local Boston terrier made the cut. Dustin Weant, a professional photographer in Overland Park, took a picture of his terrier, Otto, wearing a party hat and lunging at a cake-shaped dog treat. "It made me crack up almost every time I looked at it," Weant says.
Otto is one of Weant's favorite subjects. "He is most definitely my little muse," he says. For one photograph, Weant coaxed Otto into wearing eyeglasses and a tie. "He's pretty obedient, especially if he knows he’s going to get a reward or treat," Weant, 29, says.
Weant, Ball and the other finalists received $250 for their entries. A grand-prize winner will be chosen. The prize package includes $1,000, a professional photo shoot and a trip to exotic Kansas City to visit Hallmark HQ.