WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) – Beloved and pampered, show dogs are accustomed to life in the spotlight, accompanied by applause and blue ribbons. But shelter dogs know a different reality, which makes this week’s first-ever ‘virtual dog show,’ called Best In Shelter, both historic and fun.
Longtime D.C. area resident, New York Times bestselling author and devoted animal supporter Martha Grimes is asking pet-lovers to cast their votes for their favorite ‘man’s best friend’ on Father’s Day weekend (June 14-17) at www.bestinshelter.org, an organization she began a year ago to bring attention to the work of animal shelters. The virtual show is inspired by the popular Westminster Kennel Club Show which brings an annual focus to purebred dogs.
Voting will be limited to one vote per visitor to the site per day (see more in the Rules section of the site). Inspired by the annual Westminster Kennel Dog Show, the virtual Best in Shelter hopes to convince people that shelter dogs–like tiny Jameson and golden-coated Little Cookie, both pictured— are just as wonderful and loving as pure-bred dogs.
Four Washington DC-Area shelters are participating. The Animal Welfare League of Arlington (www.awla.org), the Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation (www.lostdogrescue.org), the Washington Animal Rescue League (www.warl.org) and the Washington Humane Society (www.washhumane.org) will all submit brief videos of some of their adoptable dogs to the Best in Shelter website.
The money prizes will buy a lot of dog chow for the shelters: the dog with the most votes will win $50,000 for its shelter; the second highest vote total will win $25,000, and third place will earn $15,000. (The dogs are hoping not only for votes, but a real home: Cash may be nice but a forever home is priceless)
The dogs seeking votes for Best in Shelter will be at least a year old, because puppies naturally draw attention, while older dogs are sometimes overlooked. But not in this contest.
Best in Shelter hopes to remind people that cliches about shelter animals are wrong. The animals there are not untrained, unkempt and unworthy of being happy pets. Shelter dogs always include purebred and mixed breeds, rescued from the streets, abusive situations, puppy mills, hoarders, or who have been given up by owners. All have the potential to be the Best in new loving homes.
Martha Grimes’ Best in Shelter (www.bestinshelter.org) is a nonprofit organization aimed at raising awareness of animal shelters, is proud to announce the first ever virtual dog show.
Martha Grimes says that while “Traditional dog shows around the country have extolled the virtues of particular breeds. I’m happy that the four animal shelters participating in Best in Shelter will help demonstrate that shelter dogs are the equal to purebred dogs when it comes to looks, love, and loyalty and would be a happy addition to any family. We hope this will encourage people who have not considered adopting a pet from a shelter to visit their local shelter to look at the dogs.”
Martha Grimes, who has written multiple best-selling mysteries, established Best in Shelter in 2011 to encourage shelter adoptions. As the owner of two shelter cats–you may have seen them posing proudly with her on the dust jackets of her novels–, she’s already looking forward to the next virtual pet show, this one to feature cats.