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December 12, 2019

Submitted PhotoReggie the dog and Ollie the kitten figure prominently on Jami Leightonís Facebook page. The two also starred in a video Leighton made that was submitted to ďAmericaís Funniest Home VideosĒ and is in the running for the top prize.
Submitted Photo

Reggie the dog and Ollie the kitten figure prominently on Jami Leightonís Facebook page. The two also starred in a video Leighton made that was submitted to ďAmericaís Funniest Home VideosĒ and is in the running for the top prize.
11/21/2019 7:28:00 AM
Rhinelander resident a finalist on 'America's Funniest Home Videos'
Clip of dog 'eating' cat's head could net $10,000

Jamie Taylor
River News Reporter

As almost anyone who has ever owned a dog and a cat at the same time will attest, there are times when harmonious coexistence is the norm. But, in a the blink of an eye, the same animals can also get along like, well, stereotypical cats and dogs.

Jami Leighton of Rhinelander captured a video of such an interaction between her boyfriend's dog and her kitten - where the much larger dog appears to consider eating the kitten - and may walk away with $10,000 as a result. That's because Leighton's video is a finalist on the television show "America's Funniest Home Videos," meaning she won either $2,000, $3,000 or $10,000.

An episode featuring the video is scheduled to air this Sunday but Leighton is not allowed to reveal the results.

Leighton said she hit record when she saw her boyfriend Tom Kingston's dog Reggie licking her kitten Ollie, not knowing the dog would try to put the kitten's entire head into his mouth.

The video ends with Leighton exclaiming "Reggie, don't eat him!"

"He stopped and looked very guilty, like 'uh, oh, I got caught," she said of Reggie.

Leighton posted the video to her Facebook page on Aug. 13 and from there it went viral. As of Monday, it has been viewed over 29 million times.

Leighton said Kingston's mother suggested submitting the clip to AFV based on the reaction it received on Facebook.

"It's so funny, you should try submitting it and see what happens," she recalled being told. "And they (the show) called me and said they were using my video and that we were finalists and they were flying us out California."

The episode was taped Oct. 11, leading to a whirlwind couple days in Los Angeles.

"We flew out on Thursday the 10th and when we got there, they put us up in a really nice, swanky hotel, and we taped the show on the 11th, and then we turned around and flew home the morning of the 12th," Leighton said.

She added there wasn't a lot of time to do much sight-seeing while on the West Coast.

"We stayed in Manhattan Beach, so we toured Manhattan Beach a little bit Thursday night and Friday morning," she said. "Friday night, after we recorded the show, we went to Santa Monica, went to the pier and just hung out a little bit there. But weren't able to go on any tours or anything like that."

Not only had neither of them ever been to California, Kingston had never been on a plane.

"I was going to see if I could get him one of those little flight pins or wings from the pilot," Leighton said with a chuckle.

If the video is revealed to be the first place winner Sunday evening, it will compete in the season finale where it could win $100,000 if selected as the funniest of the season.

A look at Leighton's Facebook page reveals plenty of photos of Reggie and Ollie, including a cute photo of the duo featured as the cover photo.

"They are pretty goofy together," she said of her pets.

Leighton said that not all of her video captures of the two interacting are ready for primetime or even Facebook.

"There is another video where this time our dog was grouchy because he wanted to sleep, and the cat kept trying to nuzzle in and he (Reggie) was snarling and snapping at him (Ollie)," she said. "And I knew if I posted that, people would be like 'that dog is so vicious,' but he's not at all. He is just grumpy and wants to sleep."

Reggie is 4 years old while Ollie was adopted in May.

"And he's still a kitten," she said. "I'm a teacher and one of my students (had a cat) that had kittens, so I got him from them."

Since the video is assured of winning at least $2,000, she was asked if the couple have any plans as to how to spend the prize money.

"We are buying a house together this spring, so we are just planning on using it to buy some furniture or something," Leighton said. "And if we get the $10,000, probably more furniture, or remodeling."

And if they win the grand prize, she agreed that would be a nice down payment on the house itself.

It hasn't been that difficult keeping the results of the audience vote secret, she added.

"Anyone that knew about it before we went, we told them straight out that we have signed a confidentiality agreement that we would not be able to say (how the video did)," she said. "So there's not that many people working that hard at it (getting the secret out of them)."

The show airs at 6 p.m. Sundays on ABC television.

Jamie Taylor may be reached via email at

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