In honor of Adopt-a-Shelter Dog Month, this October we asked you to catch your pet in the act of being himselfyou know, when he has space, time and perhaps permission to set his own agenda for a bit. Like during the day when no one’s home, or out in the backyard when he thinks no one’s looking… We were overwhelmed with the number of high-quality entries this year, and are proud to show off the winners.
Congratulations and four paws up to our top dogsand thanks to all who participated. A huge round of applause goes out to contest judge and amazing photographer Traer Scott, who had the tough task of selecting the best of the best.
And now, without further ado, the winners of the 2007 ASPCA Adopt-A-Shelter Dog Month Photo Contest!
Boomer has been part of our family for 11 years. He was adopted from the Starke County Humane Society in northern Indiana. Boomer is a shy little Sheltie who accepted us as his family and adds joy and happiness to our lives every day. He is getting to be a senior now, and some days has a bit of trouble with “arf-ritis” but still enjoys his teddy and car rides regularly.
Judge’s Comment: “The composition and detail in this photo are stunning. The intensity of expression, combined with the way the dog’s hair fans out, delicately covered in fresh snow, really creates a visual feast.”
My dog is Phoebe, a 9 1/2-week-old deaf female pit bull. We rescued her from an abusive home, where she was starved, severely dehydrated, continually attacked by a larger dog and abused daily by the neighborhood kids.
Phoebe now lives with me and my five-year-old American Staffordshire, Chadwick. She has a fully fenced yard and loves to run and play with her new brother. Phoebe loves to hide from Chadwick and will wait till he is not looking, then run up, grab his toy and run away so Chad will chase her. This is a picture of her hiding from Chad.
Judge’s Comment: “A wonderful candid portrait that captures the fun and also intensity of play in puppy life.”
The beautiful puppy in the picture's name is Journey. She is a ten-month-old pit bull mix and was surrendered to the shelter by her owner. She was sold to a person who didn't understand how to take care of a deaf puppy. Yes, this sweeter-than-sweet albino puppy can't hear, but if you don't know that you can't do something…does that really matter?? Journey has NO fear! Not only that, she's a high-maintenance 40-pound lap dog! When children ask if she's friendly or if she bites, I answer, “No, she doesn't bite--but she'll drown you with her licking!”
That brings us to the picture I've attached. I love working outside around the house and Journey loves to be with me. I was putting in a walkway on the side of my house. I happened to turn my back, and, well, I came to the conclusion that she just wanted to help me with the landscaping! I ran in the house, grabbed the camera and started shooting. Even through pictures, Journey makes everyone smile. Hope you're smiling, too.
Judge’s Comment: “A very visceral image. The contrast of dark mud on white fur, along with the dog’s stance and expression, make me feel like I am there, too, emerging from the mud puddle.”
Hello! My name is Max. I am a schnauzer/terrier mixotherwise known as a schnerrierand was adopted by my mom in January 2006. She found me at Precious Friends, a local animal shelter. I am two years old and full of life!
I love car rides [as seen in the photo] and all of my stuffed toys. I really enjoy tearing the squeaker out of each and every one! My favorite food is cheese and I will do just about anything to get it. One of my most relaxing activities is sleeping under the covers with my Mom before she gets up in the morning.
Judge’s Comment: “This is a fun, fanciful image. I like the composition, colors and airiness.”
This is a picture of little beagle Gracie napping with her stuffed animal. This stuffed animal used to belong to one of our cats, but when Gracie moved in she started carrying it around and sleeping with it. (After that, our cat wouldn't have anything to do with it!) But it was a good thing Gracie found something to sleep with because, for several months after adopting her from our local shelter, she spent a great deal of time sleeping. She would sleep so hard you could pick her up and move her without her waking up.
Now, after a few months of regular walks and consistent food, Gracie has more energy and stamina. Instead of just trying to keep up on walks, she now leads our little pack. She will still conk out after playing hard or after a particularly long walk. The difference is she can now wake up from a sound sleep, even if it's just enough to show you she can, then go back to sleep! Gracie's a character, and one of the sweetest dogs I've ever had.
Judge’s Comment: “The sleepy expression, comical cuddled toy and warm tones make this a very charming portrait.”
Tippy is a long-haired Chihuahua mix and is about eight years old. I adopted her from Salinas Animal Services in Salinas, CA. This is where I work. Tippy came in as a stray and was deemed a "fear biter." She was very scared and snappy. She and I really took to each other, though, and I took her home.
When someone asks me if Tippy has any special abilities or tricks, I always say, “Yes, she knows how to look cute!”
Judge’s Comment: “Candid windswept nobility! The sandy nose completes the image.”
We didn't adopt Gigi. She adopted us.
A couple months ago, when heading out the back door of the garage, I was greeted with startlingly disconcerting growls and barking. Beneath the bushes was the dog in the picture. I could see she was starving and abused. She arrived with a rope around her neck about three feet long that she had chewed through. There were fresh scars on her, and she flinched when she saw the long-handled garden tool in my hand.
We started leaving food and water outside the door. The third day when my wife and I went out with the food, she came right to us, wagging her tail as though actually happy to see us. The rest is history.
The vet tells us she is between one and two years old. She had a skin infection and hook worms, both of which have been treated, and got all of her shots and was spayed. This photo was taken while I was building her a kennel and had her confined in the garage to keep her safe while I was busy with the task.
From racing around the yard and digging for moles to touching noses with the horse next door and chewing on her tennis ball, the dog who wouldn't let us touch her for three days now greets us exuberantly every morning and is 48 pounds of fun and frolic! We are enjoying our new roles as responsible dog owners and learning about this much-maligned breed.
Judge’s Comment: “Very well composed and expressive image. I love the depth of the dog’s expression.”
My little baby is Mattie, a one-year-old long-haired Chihuahua. We bought Mattie from a lady who breeds Chihuahuas from her home. That was before I started watching Animal Planet and seeing advertisements for the ASPCA. Now my husband signed me up as an ASPCA member and I also volunteer with the Chihuahua & Small Dog Rescue, Inc. in Colorado Springs, CO.... My next little dog will be a rescue dog!
Mattie's cute little quirks:
1. When she wants to go outside, she hits the door stop (it makes this loud “boing” sound!) over and over until we let her out.
2. On her way in, she always picks up a rock and brings it inside. We now have a bowlful of rocks, and I may be getting a bigger bowl soon!
3. When she wants to play, she’ll come up to you and grab your pant leg and bark. She won't leave you alone until you get down and play with her.
Judge’s Comment: “Nice close-up portrait. The large eyes and wild hair make this a very expressive shot.”
Skippy is about 14 years old and was rescued in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He is speculated to be a beagle/dachshund mix. He was my gift for my 13th birthday. I named him Skippy because he's the color of peanut butter. Many neighbors and friends have fondly referred to him as Peanut Butter!
He's an amazing and loving dog. He's very quiet and has only barked once in the 12 years we've had himalthough I’ve often seen him sit under a tree and stare up at a squirrel for hours, letting go of an occasional muted howl.
Skippy loves walks, car rides, sniffing everything and soft serve ice cream. He's been known to carefully lick all of the ice cream off and then eat the cone.
This picture was taken at a dog beach north of Malibu, CA. I'm submitting this shot because it shows how happy he is. Even though he may not be the standard of beauty in terms of dogs, he's the cutest one I've ever seen.
Lisa Marie Parker
Judge’s Comment: “A fun, joyful dog photo. The blue sky and ear in motion complete a strong composition.”
Bella is a five-year-old miniature pinscher. I adopted her from the Staten Island CACC three years ago, and she is a hilarious companion. I had only lived with pit bulls up until I got her, and was used to very energetic dogs. When I decided to get one small enough to travel with, I found a "big dog" in a toy body. She is incredibly outgoing, and plays tug with my 65-pound pit!
This is her basking on her favorite pillow on the daybed, her favorite place in the house. I love her, and no longer look down on little dogs. She's opened my eyes and we "rescued" each other.
Judge’s Comment: “Nice light in this fun, emotive portrait that highlights the eyes and shiny coat of this spunky pup.”
Photographed by Johan Broen
Photographed by Laura Flowers
Photographed by Rian Grill
Photographed by Brigitte Hokaj
Photographed by Tara Julian
Photographed by Dina Kreis
Photographed by Vikki Kyle
Photographed by Steve Lambert
Photographed by Natalie Luna
Photographed by Erica Mede
Guest Judge, Traer Scott
We’re thrilled to have Traer Scott as our final judge for this year’s contest. While volunteering at shelters, she was asked to take photos of the dogs she was working with. As her files grew, Scott realized that many of the dogs whose photos she had in her archives never made it out of the shelter alive. "I found that no matter what, I couldn't bring myself to delete their photos, which were in some cases the only record of their existence," she says. A few months later, Scott began to create the beautiful, honest portraits that make up her book Shelter Dogs.