It’s been nearly 10 years since Vermont Sports launched its first Adventure Dog Contest, asking readers to send in photos of their dogs enjoying outdoor adventures. The response over the years has been so overwhelming that we’ve continued it. We’ve seen or heard of some dogs passing on – and some new puppies arriving. Some of this year’s contest winners represent a second generation of puppies for their owners. Thank you to all who submitted for this year’s contest and to Pet Food Warehouse of South Burlington for providing prizes —$75 gift certificates — for the winners.
BEST FACE SHOT
Human models know how to pose for pictures. The dogs in this category certainly do as well.
1: Odin, Cambridge
It’s hard to get just one dog to look at the camera. Try getting three. Raeden Zavis got the entire caninc family to look up before a trail run. As Zavis says of her 6-year-old Beagle/Dachsund mix: “Odin is up for any adventure!” In the photos (left and below), Odin is sitting and waiting with his dog brothers, Nelson and Sid, for some treats. Nelson is a Pomeranian Chihuahua and Sid is a Chihuahua.
- Karmalita Wieners, Waterbury
Karmin, as Karly Fischer (above) calls her Dachsund for short, goes everywhere. “Karmin has always been by my side. I’ll never leave her behind and her little legs won’t stop her either! She loves her backpack and being able to participate in activities that could be challenging for a dog of her stature. She bikes, skis, and hikes all within a pack. While in it, she rests her nose on my shoulder which makes me so happy,” say Fischer.
- Tippy, Essex Junction
Ryan McFarling calls Tippy his “mystery mutt — fox, coyote, OD (original dog),” he says. “Tippy has had countless adventures and misadventures backcountry skiing, mountain biking, swimming, fishing, hiking, chasing moose, porcupines, skunks and anything that can get her in trouble. She walks through this world with a smile and people can’t help but to smile back. Just last month, Tippy was diagnosed with lymphoma. My wife decided Tippy needed a bucket list and fishing was at the top. She loves watching people fish for the off chance of someone actually catching something and pulling it ashore wriggling and flapping wildly. This picture was taken in North Hero on one of those perfect Vermont summer afternoons when the light is golden and rich and winter (Tippy’s “winter” too) seems impossibly far away.”
Says owner Michael Kinsler: “Rocco swims very well, which is very rare for an English Bulldog —we have two others and they sink. Rocco also loves sledding and we are giving thoughts to trying him at surfing. He jumps on the trampoline. He can climb ladders and down the slide by himself. He’s a real character.”
- Pearl, Barnet
Laurajean “LJ” Stewart’s loves to kayak with her Parson Russell Terrier, Pearl. “She was a rescue who knows no fear. Pearl’s either going 150 mph or she’s totally chill. She makes everyone worry and laugh simultaneously!”
BEST ACTION SHOT
Once outdoors, it’s hard to get a dog to sit still. The same canine who sleeps all day at the foot of your desk will be off chasing squirrels, leading the way on a run or a hike, watching fish just below a pond’s surface or jumping to catch a Frisbee. But try to get an action shot and you know it’s not easy.
1: Igor, Burlington
Michelle Peters’ Igor, a 6-year-old American Staffy, Miniature Schnauzer and American Bulldog mix, is no stranger to these pages. A runner up in 2019, he’s a bit grayer now but just as active. ” Peters writes: “Hiking, running, biking or just chilling in his bike cart during bikepack trips to Grand Isle – Igor loves it all. And what does he love even more than a good romp in the woods? A post adventure creemee!
- Gaia, Proctorsville
Stefan Beaumont’s Red Heeler/Lab mix Gaia is the dog that graces our cover. We loved that shot and this one, above, of her fetching in the water. “She enjoys every season Vermont throws at her, constantly looking for the next run, hike, bike, ski or swim,” Beaumont says.
- Maverick, Waterbury Village
Logan Shuman’s Golden Retriever Maverick is five but still runs like a puppy. “Adventures would not be the same without my pup,” writes Shuman. “From summer to winter we strive to find ourselves out in the beautiful mountains of Vermont. I’m constantly reminded how much recreation is a necessity and a privilege. We are grateful for it all.”
- Kanooti, Stowe
Just four months old, Kanooti was an unexpected addition to Sheila Goss’s family in July. “I lost my beloved adventure partner of 12 years unexpectedly in June, and the hole in my heart and the space in my canoe needed to be filled. Kanootti will carry on Gryphon’s legacy with love and honor! She has taken right to canoeing, and loves learning about all the wildlife we see on our daily outings,” writes Goss.
- Alisa, Middlebury
A six-year-old Labrador Retreiver, Alisa likes to lead the way. “Ailsa likes to hike the wilds of Vermont. Especially Abbey Pond and Wright park in Middlebury area,” notes owner Ben Cotts.
BEST ADVENTURE SHOT
This category reflects where we take our dogs— scrambling to a summit, following us on road trips or heading out for a paddleboard.
1: Marshall, Hyde Park
Marshall, a Sheepadoodle who is just about a year and a half old, seems ready to take the lead on any adventure. “There is no adventure he is not ready to tackle.,” writes his human, Lauren Traister. “In the fall we hike to the top of Spruce Peak almost every weekend. In the winter we are regulars in Smuggler’s Notch and in the summer we can be found at Green River Reservoir. Marshall is trying to learn to paddle board but he loves swimming a bit too much!”
2. Sigi, Waitsfield
Sigi (named after Sigi’s Ripcord trail at Mt.Ellen) was adopted during the pandemic and is now living his best life in the Green Mountains. “Sigi can be found fetching Frisbees, hiking to summits along the spine of the Greens, paddle boarding on Lake Champlain and reservoirs, backcountry ski touring with his people, and running alongside mountain bikers. He’s very adaptable to all kinds of situations, people, and other dogs,” writes Jascha Herlihy of her German Shepherd/cattle dog mix.
3. Dakota, Bristol
Sabra Davison’s Husky Dakota “goes on all adventures with us,” she writes. “He’s done several slide climbs in the Adirondacks (harnessed in) and that’s where the family photo is from! He’s been backcountry skiing, ice climbing, sailing, hiking, climbing, swimming, paddle boarding, and whatever adventure we get into. Rich is the rowing coach for Middlebury College, and you can often find Dakota on the launch helping coach.”
4. Callie, Winooski
“When we first adopted her, Callie was a very timid and shy girl. Now she greets people on the trails and wants to make friends with everyone,” says Sarah Illingsworth of her Lab/Hound mix. “Callie’s favorite part about hiking is enjoying a delicious treat (or ice cream cone) after a long day on the trail. Whenever I work from home, she stares at me with her big brown eyes until I say “let’s go for a walk!
There are always a story or two that stand out. This year was no exception.
We couldn’t help but love this story that Jenn Chittick shared about finding her Staffie pup, Roger:
“I adopted Roger in June. On the 1st of May he was discovered on a back road in Wolcott by a couple of walkers who, at first, thought that he was dead. This dude was quite literally skin and bones. The good Samaritans called for help and he was brought to our local animal shelter for care. He spent a full month recovering, gaining weight and muscle tone.
We had learned that he had spent the bulk of his life in a crate, in his own waste, with little to no outside time. I was following his story (and recovery) via social media and with every video the shelter posted I fell more and more in love with this guy. I found myself longing to give him a life that he never knew existed, so I filled out a foster-to-adopt application and left it in the hands of the Universe. On June 9th he was placed in my care as a foster placement and on June 21st he officially became a forever part of my family.
As part of his rehabilitation, we use the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail almost daily as a safe place for him to exercise, meet other people and pups and learn the ins and outs of being a dog. His first day home he lacked the strength and muscle tone to walk around the block, now he can walk up to 4 miles and has enjoyed overnight camping at DAR State Park, playing in the water at Journey’s End, socializing with the community at Tuesday Night Live, visits to Lake Champlain, making new doggo friends as we explore dog parks in Lamoille, Franklin and Chittenden Counties and casual bike rides with me from the comfort of his bike trailer.
This guy has nothing but love to give to the world. He is a kind and gentle soul who is fully enjoying life on the outside and I cannot wait to see what he thinks of the snow! Hopefully next summer he will be able to stand atop Mount Mansfield or Camels Hump with me and possess the strength and coordination to go for a paddle board ride. At a year old he has a long life of fun and adventures that await him, and I feel so fortunate to be the one to accompany him along the way