2000 PET PHOTO CONTEST
The pictures tell the story: Our pets, our best friends
By Vicki Croke,
Globe "Animal Beat" Columnist, 08/21/00
Well, here it is -- the day the animals take over Boston.com. The results of the annual "Animal Beat" Pet Photo Contest are in!
This has been one of the best years ever for this contest, full of the kind of pictures that make us animal lovers delirious enough to speak in that baby voice usually reserved for our own pets.
That's the secret to our contest. It's not really about photographic skill -- although, obviously that's an element. (I am always especially charmed by the out-of-focus or bungled shots submitted. People feel that their pets are so cute, it doesn't matter how bad the photo is. Even the grainiest, darkest, blurriest pictures of our pets are dear to us -- and we think they are better than anyone else's portraits.)
In judging this contest, we didn't look for a studio shot with perfect lighting. We prefer animal magnetism: The athletic zeal of a dog jumping in the surf, the utter contentedness of a cat stretched across a pool of sunlight. We even love the daffiness of a frog who appears to be smiling.
We seek those true moments all animal lovers recognize. And those shots are not easy to get. But if a photo makes us want to jump through our computer screens and hug and kiss a pet, it's in.
Our Best in Show photos have that certain something. We kept coming back to them again and again. In fact, I think Monet would be envious of the dreamy and artful portrait of one of our winners. You just want to grab the paws of the other winner (we don't want to give it away). Her expression is both familiar and fresh.
The Best in Show winners and their humans win special "Animal Beat" Pet Contest T-shirts and a bag of goodies from Boston.com. The pets in our Winners' Circle have won T-shirts for their owners.
We hope that as you view these selections, you'll do the same thing we did when we first saw these pictures -- shout! So many of these pictures made us laugh and cry.
You'd cry, too, if you saw all the wonderful shots that didn't make it in because of time constraints. We received about 1,700 entries this year -- more than triple the number we received last year, the vast majority of them via e-mail, some from as far away as Ireland and Hawaii. We chose 129 winning entries to be posted online in various categories. The joy of viewing all the pet pictures is always a bit diminished at the end when the cruel sorting begins.
We're sure you have opinions on our choices, so let's hear from you. Go ahead, second-guess us -- we can take it. E-mail us at email@example.com.
Even if your submission is not included in these pages, please know that your pets were oohed and ahhhed over. We cannot thank you all enough for taking the time to send in your photos. There is no doubt that these gorgeous winners will bring great joy to anyone who looks at them.
Here is our salute to our beloved companions and best friends.