Dogster’s Portrait Contest: Meet the Finalists

We got tons of great stories and photos from you, Dogster readers. This is not an easy choice!


We think we have a winner in the Dogster portrait contest, the one we told you about last month. We encouraged readers to post photos and stories of their dogs, and our always-awesome illustrator Nigel Sussman set about choosing his favorite, which he’ll feature in a portrait for that dog’s human.

We think we have a winner, but we’re not going to tell you who that is yet. Instead, today we bring you a handful of who we consider to be finalists, dogs whose combined stories and photos might help them become immortal at Nigel’s hand.

So here’s a qualifier: This was hard. Really really hard. If we’d chosen a winner based on who could be the first to answer some obscure bit of trivia, it would have been easy. But we took the brave route and said we’d choose our favorite. What we got were lots of very deserving dogs, many of which could be our favorite. “Your mileage may vary,” as they say. But these are who we found most deserving.

Our first contender is Winston, nominated by reader Kelli Whitfield, who has great pictures and a compelling story:

“Winston should be immortalized because he adds so much to the lives of the people who interact with him. Winston is a therapy dog who makes weekly visits at a local assisted living facility. Winston enjoys interacting with the residents and performing tricks for them. He can even play basketball by taking his plastic ball and dunking it into the basketball hoop. He also makes deliveries to the residents carrying cards and other gifts. The residents love to see him since they had to give up their pets to move into assisted care. Many of the residents do not have visitors often so they look forward to seeing Winston. Winston is a wonderful companion and a great dog.”

Next is Daisy, whose story is also compelling and whose photos are pretty good too. Daisy was nominated by reader Michelle Eleanor Ziegler-Kosza.

“I would love to see our Daisy immortalized. She is my husband’s first dog! He was not allowed a dog while he was growing up, so at 34 I surprised him with Daisy. It was love at first sight for both of them, and they quickly became inseparable. Every morning I get up and Daisy, who had been guarding our bedroom door, must head in to the room to make sure her “daddy” is there and to shower him in doggy kisses! When my husband gets home from work, it is Daisy who gets his attention first! A less-secure woman might be jealous, lol. I know Daisy will not be with us forever, and I hate to imagine the grief that my husband will experience. A portrait of this great, very special girl would be awesome to have; so we would always have her with us.”

Our next contender is Bonzer, nominated by Bonzer’s Mom. She didn’t tell us much about Bonzer, but, well, the photo below we find very portrait-worthy. (What a goofball!)

I would love to have an original Nigel portrait of Bonzer. He’s such a good boy — in fact, that’s his motto. He’s a real charmer too, with his ready smile and one ear up and one ear down debonair look. He’s a very special dog indeed.”

Then there’s Jhonny. Like Bonzer, Jhonny’s human didn’t tell us that much about him, but we believe the photos make up for that.

Wrote reader Kate Hogan: “I would love to have a custom portrait of my little Jhonny
 Vegas! We rescued him in July and aren’t quite sure of his breed or age — we 
believe him to be a Chihuahua and Brussels mix around 9 months. He is definitely a 
one-of-a-kind pup, and we would love to celebrate his uniqueness with this one-of-a-kind tribute.”

Our final contender is Angus, whose story is quite touching and whose photos, well, you’ll see in a minute.

Wrote Megan Spoonamore: “We drove four hours away to adopt Angus (then named Namath) last December. He was severely underweight and had the worst pressure wounds our vet had ever seen. We diligently dressed his wounds several times a day, and we gradually got that down to once per day. It was clear to see the pain in his eyes, but he always seemed grateful for our attention. It took well over six months to close up all the wounds, and he’s putting on weight each meal. 🙂 Angus has taught my daughters how to love and care for something. This level of compassion could not have been taught by just anyone. Angus came into our lives just at the moment when we needed. We are reminded by his expressive eyes just how much he needed us, but we remind him every day just how much we needed him in our hearts. Angus deserves to be immortalized, and although my daughter is quite the artist, I’m afraid her preschool portraits lack that certain something felt by Nigel’s work. :)”

So here’s the second shot of Angus.

That face! Who could resist?

Once our winner is final, we’ll have Nigel create the portrait and share it with everyone.

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