Boy, readers, you sure do like your pets.
And why shouldn’t you? Even our staff had a hard time narrowing the photo entries down to five finalists, which is how we ended up with an extra finalist in both the Doggone Adorable and Purrrfect Portraits categories. All told, we received 530 photo submissions — that’s a new record. And, while every pooch, feline, hooved creature and invertebrate was pretty sweet, only one critter in each category could be named the best.
Thanks to everyone who submitted photos, and to readers who voted online for our winners. The victor in each category gets a $50 gift certificate to Play Dog Play. Thanks to them, too!
A few facts about this year’s contest:
- We eliminated the Fat Cats (sadly, too many entries!) and Pet Video categories.
- A grand total of 716 people cast votes in the final round.
- The votes in nearly every category were close. In the Off the Chain category for sporty pets, Scout defeated Ripple by just four votes. Among Purrrfect Portraits, the top three were separated by 26 votes. The one exception: the Best Dressed category, where cool cat Fabio was a runaway winner.
- Are alpacas hip this year? Two of the five finalist photos in our Wild Card category featured the fuzzy camelids, and a photo in the Lady and the Tramp category featured an alpaca with a puppy friend.
- Once again, YouTube star Goma the Himalayan cat popped up in the contest. He was a finalist in two categories this year: Best Dressed (wearing a squirrel suit) and Lady and the Tramp (with his kitty friend). Although Goma didn’t win either category this year, you can learn more about him and his devoted owner, Sachie Tani, in a November 2007 “Stuck in Vermont” video (episode #55) and a Seven Days article on December 3, 2008.
And now, to the Best of the Beasts 2011...
Doggone Adorable: Dog Portraits
Winner: Knuckles (155 votes), submitted by Lindsay Pokorak of Burlington.
"Knuckles, English bulldog, age 8. Oakledge Park, November 2010."
Runner-up: Knuckles again, this time with pumpkins (131 votes).
Purrrfect Portraits: Cat Portraits
Winner: Furby (127 votes), submitted by Sydney Ganon of South Burlington.
"Furby on back porch, 3 weeks old, mixed breed."
Runner-up: Lilly the tiger mix (114 votes), submitted by Nate Furlong of Barnard.
Best Dressed Pets
Winner: Fabio (301 votes), submitted by Laura Carmody of South Burlington.
"Fabio is almost 2 years old. I adopted him from the Save Our Strays shelter on June 9, 2009. He is my best friend. He enjoys playing in the snow, hanging out with his buddy Mr. Mouse, pulling my hair in the morning to wake me up, and playing hide-and-seek; his newest hobby is sneaking treats late at night."
Runner-up: Burke the pug (129 votes), submitted by Kylie of Waterbury Center.
Off the Chain: Sporty Pets/Pets in Action
Winner: Scout (175 votes), submitted by Doug Lloyd of Middlebury
"Scout, golden retriever, age 3. The first time she learned to jump off a dock for a tennis ball — she learns quickly!"
Runner-up: Ripple the border collie (171 votes), submitted by Jamie Shaw of Huntington.
Wild Cards: No Cats or Dogs Allowed
Winner: Buttercup (169 votes), submitted by Dane Shortsleeve of Essex Junction.
"'Fill me up, Buttercup.' A cria (baby alpaca) contemplates some great Vermont summer weather."
Runner-up: Sampson the Flemish giant rabbit (141 votes), submitted by Sydney Ganon of South Burlington.
Lady and the Tramp: Pet Lovers/Best Pals
Winner: Dandi and Lilli (191 votes), submitted by Nate Furlong of Barnard.
"Dandi and Lilli, tiger mixes. Siamese we are not."
Runner-up: Meeka the fawn and Freddy the cat (165 votes), submitted by Aska Langman of South Burlington.