Can you feel the love? Announcing our top picks in the ASPCA My Furry Valentine Photo Contest
Back in February, we put out a call for photos of your first puppy (and kitty) loves for our My Furry Valentine Contest. Our judges have selected their top entries, and we're proud to present them here. Thank you to everyone who entered, and four paws up to our winners. May your days be filled with wagging tails, purry wishes, furry head butts and doggie kisses!
Sasha and Sparky
Photo by: Anna Cluxton
"We have two rescued bully mixes. Sasha is an American bulldog mix, three years old, who was found chained to a house in a bad part of town. At six months, she weighed 17 pounds. By the time she got to us (about two weeks later, she was up to 32. Now she is a healthy, lean 52 pounds.
Sparky is a pit bull mix, taken from a drug bust by Capital Area Humane Society officers. We adopted him about one year ago. He, too, was very skinny, but now is healthy as a horse. Both are loving, sweet, wiggly smiling bullies. We currently have them in an all-bully obedience class at Capital Area Humane Society. These two have taught us about love in all forms and not ‘judging books by their covers.’ I always knew the discrimination was all about good dogs and bad owners, but now I have lived it."
Photo by: Alicia Curley
"I just graduated college, and was about to embark on a new journey. I have grown up with pets all my life, and wanted nothing more than to have my own companion to take with me and be my new best friend in our new city. I had been searching on Petfinder.com for months—but when I saw Noel (as she was named at the time) one day in December, I knew there was no other kitty for me! She was a tiny little Turkish Van mix kitten with the most heartwarming face.
It took a few weeks to arrange, but I was able to adopt my little girl. She's all white, except for a buff tail and two little buff spots on her head. She has a pretty pink nose and mouth, and a pink collar to boot. I renamed her Daphnee, and the name just fits. We just recently moved to our new home, and I couldn't be happier with the best friend I have found."
Photo by: Whitney Deppen-McNeal
"Grace Noir is my Furry Valentine because she stole my heart the day we adopted her. I was prepared for a pet, but not for how much I would love her. She is the best part of my day, every day! She completes our family."
Photo by: Robert C. Groves III
“I lost my previous hound, Doc, in 2004. Out of the depths of my grief and sorrow, I became committed to helping his ‘brothers & sisters’ in the basset hound breed and began volunteering for BROOD (Basset Rescue Of Old Dominion). Shortly after, I applied for adoption, just to have the preliminaries out of the way. I had no intention of getting a new BFF so soon after Doc's passing.
But then I was asked to ‘help’ at BROOD’s Fall Fun Fashion Show. When I got there, the adoptions coordinator kept pushing bassets on me. ‘Robert, walk this one, you'll like her…oh, this one's even better…walk this one, you'll fall in love and adopt…’
But there was one dog I kept coming back to, and each time he was like a Mexican jumping bean, hopping up with a ME ME ME attitude. I took him out and we bonded instantly. Riley was found as a stray wandering the streets of Martinsburg, WV. BROOD took him in, vetted, cared for and primed him for a new home, and I was fortunate enough to be that home. This picture was taken the day I brought my second adoptive hound home. In the end, rest was needed, and my lap became Riley's pillow.”
Photo by: Magda Hernandez
“About five months after we got married, I started to bug my husband, Eddie, about getting a dog. He had never really had any pets, and I grew up surrounded by animals, so Eddie was a little reluctant to get a dog. We went to two shelters, the San Francisco SPCA and the Santa Clara Humane Society, at least three times searching for the right dog. One Saturday, I asked if we could stop by really fast to see if there were any small dogs available. This was to be our fourth and final trip. We walked through the kennels and just as we walked up to a cage, a small tan Chihuahua/Jack Russell terrier mix spotted us and walked toward us. We knew he had picked us to be his family.
We took him home, named him Chato (cha-toe), and the rest is history. We can't lie and say it was all a piece of cake—I never knew exactly how hyper such a small dog could be or how much trouble he could get himself into! He has taught us so much about patience, teamwork, compassion and LOVE! We have now shared seven years with our wonderful little dog and we can't even imagine our lives without him!”
Photo by: Sherry Howell
“I found Griffon while at the animal shelter looking for a puppy. I fell in love with him the instant I saw him. Needless to say, I came home with him instead of a puppy! In the picture he is only a few months old. Today he is almost four and is still as handsome as he was then.”
Photo by: Laura Kirkham
“This is Dixie, but most know her by her nickname, Doodle. She came to live with us and immediately became a part of the pack. She's your typical Jack Russell terrier. She's either on or off, and keeps us laughing incessantly.
Here she's holding her basketball. When we first brought it home, she went nuts as soon as she saw it, and had deflated it within a minute of us throwing it out into the backyard. Though it's almost as big as she is, she carries it all over the yard, playing tug-of-war with her sister Sparky and chasing it whenever we throw it.”
Photo by: Jennifer Lung
“My family and I recently adopted Lola as she had been abandoned on the streets for no apparent reason. How could we resist this face? She has more energy than a ray of sunshine, and every day when I come home from a long day of work she is right there to greet me—toy in mouth! There is just no love stronger than a dog’s, and our little Lola makes us feel like every day is Valentine's Day!”
Photo by: Amanda Mosley
“Chloe is a three-year-old gray tabby cat who loves being a girl! She always enjoys looking her best, and this year for Valentine's Day she was particularly thrilled to show off her new pink heart ruffle. Doesn't she look adorable?! After enjoying some special Valentine's Day treats and a drink from the sink, she curled up in my lap and spent the rest of the evening purring.”
Photo by: Ryan Wilcox
“I didn't go to the Cattaraugus County SPCA looking for love last March—I was taking pictures for my organization's website. But when I saw Bella, a pit bull puppy kenneled with two other pups, my heart skipped a beat. My boyfriend and I asked our landlady if we could get a dog, and a week later we were bringing Bella home.
My family has always had dogs, but Bella was my first baby. She has so much personality, just like every animal—but this one's mine, my baby, my love! Despite the initial ups and downs (getting sick, getting into things she shouldn't and destroying at least eight pairs of my shoes!), at the end of the day, I can't help but smile.
She wins everyone over with her love, even those people who profess to be deathly afraid of pit bulls. She's all kisses and smiles, and she loves to prance around people with a bone in her mouth, or play fetch. In defiance of the prevailing stereotype that pit bulls don't get along with other dogs, Bella has become a great friend to my parents' old dogs, helping to keep them young. All around, she is a great example of how unfair it is to stereotype a breed, and everywhere I go I let people know about her. She is my first and my most favorite dog ever. Long live Bella!”
Photo by: Amanda Andes
“When I got married, my husband suggested we get a dog. At first I said, ‘NO WAY, they are too much responsibility. We're not home enough, etc.’ After much thought and looking at cute fuzzy faces on the Internet, I gave in.
From the moment our ten-week-old boxer puppy bounced over into my arms, I was a GONER! She has changed my life for the better, more than I can ever express. She is my unconditional love, my baby, my heart, my love. I was right—she is a lot of responsibility! But she is worth every bit of it.”
Photo by: Lisa Lesser
“Pepper is our very first dog as a married couple and we are just crazy about her. She has completely won over the entire family with her spirit and devotion. Her quirky sense of humor is unmatched in any other animal we have ever met! We celebrated our Valentine's Day with her with a long family walk and a drive in the car!”