October’s Photo Contest winners, Quani Fuentes, dressed in Halloween’s finest and her 6-year-old Shih Tzu Max, dressed as ‘Max the Lion’, pose in front of a spooky Halloween-themed background.

Max donned his lion mane with pride.

It may have taken a few tries to slide the mane over Max’s head, but once Quani Fuentes got it on, Max was ready to prowl the streets of Fort Worth.

“He has the personality of a lion,” Fuentes said while securing the mane around Max’s neck. “This is the only headpiece he’d wear without rubbing his face to the carpet to remove it.”

“He really feels like a lion,” Fuentes emphasized. 

The winners of Fort Worth Report’s October Photo Contest “Halloween Fun,” Quani Fuentes and dog Max, were ecstatic to earn the most votes.

November Photo Contest

Our reader photo contests continue this month. This month, tell us what you are most thankful for. These photos can be holiday-related, family-related, fall-related or just about anything you are thankful for. To submit your photos, go here.

Don’t forget to come back and vote for your favorite photo by clicking the ‘Like’ button! The winner of November’s photo contest will receive a $50 gift card for Tricky Fish. And, as an added bonus, the owners will award a $25 gift card to the second-place winner. The entry deadline is Dec. 2.

“We’re honored and humbled to be chosen as the winners,” Fuentes said as she raised Max up to the side of her face. Max stuck out his tongue and panted in agreement.

Max, a full-bred Shih Tzu, has been living with Fuentes since 2018, when Max was found wandering a Fort Worth neighborhood without an owner. 

Fuentes reached out to neighbors, but no one claimed Max. She took Max to the vet to check for a chip and a possible owner.

No chip was found. 

“The vet said if Max wasn’t claimed after a certain time frame, he could be mine,” Fuentes said. “Time passed, and he became mine.”

When she first found Max on an overcast March afternoon, it was clear he’d been without a home for a while. His hair was as long as his lion mane, matted, and over his eyes, Fuentes said. 

“I could never figure out why anyone would want to get rid of him,” she said.

But with a fresh makeover, and a couple costume changes, Max was as fresh as ever.

The makeover has now contributed to winning two photo contests, the Fort Worth Report’s this month, and one from BoomerJack’s Lake Worth location a few months ago. 

“Who knows?” Fuentes said. “This may be a career path to stardom.”

Quani Fuentes makes time to enter Max into photo contests, she says, after serving  the government for over 30 years in various roles. She works now as a Department of Defense civilian, and is currently a housing inspector for the Navy at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth

“I’ve loved serving the military and their families,” Fuentes said.  

She also loves the season of fall and particularly Halloween. She calls the season “the marker for the beginning of celebrated holiday festivities.”

Fuentes couldn’t stop listing her favorite things about the season: “the reveal of yellow, orange, and red leaves on trees, the crisp air that brings relief from a hot summer, the aromas of baked seasonal cookies, and soup, a hot beverage after a walk with Max, the generosity of giving and sharing by so many in the community, and probably the gathering of family and friends in celebrating these holidays and the new year ahead … ” Fuentes said. 

“It’s just something I really look forward to and brings me so much joy,” Fuentes said.

As does Max.

“Our journey together has blossomed into a special relationship of deep emotional bonding and love,” Fuentes said.

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Matthew Sgroi is the 2022-23 Fort Worth Report multimedia fellow. He can be reached at matthew.sgroi@fortworthreport.com or (503)-828-4063. Sgroi is a current senior at Texas Christian University, majoring...