Between selfie sticks and smart phones, capturing life's memorable moments has never been easier. In a split second an everyday occurrence can become the perfect photo-op, including special time with beloved pets. For our annual "Best Pet Selfie" contest, we asked readers to submit selfies with their pets as part of an effort to raise funds for local pet-related charities. Through votes from friends, family and the Best Self community, the top three contest winners were able to win cash prizes donated to Puglanta Dog Rescue, Atlanta Pet Rescue and Adoption and Good Mews Animal Foundation.
First Place Winner
Kelley Pierce and Miss Lola
Awarded $250 for Puglanta Dog Rescue, Inc.
From the very second Kelley Pierce laid eyes on Miss Lola, she knew that precious, irresistibly cute, wiggly little creature, with a cinnamon bun tail and eyes on opposite sides of her head had captured a piece of her heart. She says she is thankful every day for "this sweet and gentle pug who's responsible for so much joy and laughter and whose unconditional love inspires, encourages and lifts me, and so many others, up each day!" At 13 years young, Miss Lola just might be one of the most stylish pugs you'll meet. She recently won a pug "Dress & Impress" contest at a Pug & Mug event in Virginia-Highland—and that's just the start. Miss Lola looks forward to getting into modeling, creating her first pug-calendar and being featured in her very own book. Her latest escapade was trying her "paw" at riding skateboards. But Miss Lola isn't all about looks and adventure, says Pierce. She is also American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen-certified and enjoys serving the community as a therapy dog with Happy Tails Pet Therapy. Although Miss Lola herself wasn't an adopted rescue, since bringing her into her home Pierce has become a staunch adoption supporter, which is why she chose Puglanta Dog Rescue to receive the first place prize money. "I feel adoption provides a pet with a chance to experience love that they otherwise may never have the opportunity to know." Fans of Miss Lola can follow her Facebook page "Miss Lola The Pug" to see what she'll be up to next.
Second Place Winner
Sheila Jordan and Nash
Awarded $150 for Atlanta Pet Rescue and Adoption
Sheila Jordan often jokes that her Yorkie/Poodle mix, Nash, "has no clue he is a dog." When the two of them aren't exploring the city, Nash can be found squeezing in quality time with his neighborhood best friend, who just so happens to be a cat, or chasing the ever-elusive "dot." The two recently celebrated the second anniversary of Nash's adoption from Atlanta Pet Rescue and Adoption (APRA). Jordan reminisces on how helpful APRA was during the process of bringing Nash home. "It was great! APRA ensures that their rescues are going to loving homes that are dedicated to the well-being of the pets. They also act as a resource to help with any needs that might arise once you take your furbaby home." Thankful for the joy Nash has brought into her life through adoption, donating prize money to APRA to assist with finding homes for other pets was a no-brainer to Jordan. She says, "Animals may be voiceless, but their souls speak volumes. Being able to do my part in making a difference in the life of such a sweet angel was my motivation [to adopt]."
Barb Murphy and Cora
Awarded $100 for Good Mews Animal Foundation
Every birthday is special, but the year Barb Murphy received Cora as a surprise gift from her husband and stepson was extra special. Not only is Barb a longtime pet lover, she's also a huge adoption supporter. So when her husband and stepson decided to surprise her with a pet, they knew adoption was the way to go. "There are too many animals out there that need to find their forever home and too many animal shelters that need help," says Murphy. They brought Cora home from a Planned Pethood event at PetSmart and her spunky personality quickly made her a favorite of the whole family. "Cora is a nut! She drinks running water out of the faucet, talks all the time, is constantly underfoot and loves to hang around her mom," says Murphy. "Cora was the best birthday present ever! The gift that keeps on giving!"