We had so many submissions this year showing dogs playing with their owners that we created a new category, the Buddy Shot, to showcase how dogs are our best friends.
1. Bear and Luna, Rutland, Vt.
Our overall winner (and cover image) is of Justin and Carrie Pill’s two Border collies on a mountain bike ride at Slate Valley Trails, in Poultney, near their home in Rutland. They write: “Bear (mostly white), age five, and Luna, age six, are inseparable best friend adventure pups.” We loved the light, the way the dogs seem to be enjoying the ride as much as Carrie is and the view from the spot out to Lake St. Catherine. More than 377 others agreed and voted this image the Readers’ Choice as well as the best overall image.
2. Igor, Burlington, Vt.
We love that Igor appears just as ready to go as his two-footed fellow trail runners. Owners Michelle Peters and Brennan Guerriere write: “Igor was very skinny when we got him from the shelter, at 28 lbs with short legs, a long body, and HUGE head. After a few months of eating a high quality diet and regular exercise, Igor quickly gained weight and developed very defined muscles. His DNA samples show him to be American Staffordshire Terrier (50%), Miniature Schnauzer (15%), American Bulldog (15%), and the last 20% is unknown. Today, Igor is nearly four years old and has gained 10 lbs of lean muscle. Every year on his ‘gotcha day’ Igor gets a celebration Shopping Bag Sizzler hamburger (no onions) with candles and sung to—not spoiled at all.”
3. Luna, Morrisville, Vt.
Luna is Hazel Brewster’s two-year-old, 25-pound “perma-puppy.” Brewster writes: “Luna’s hobbies include being an MTB trail dog in training, helping her aunt Lily achieve her mission of hiking all the 4,000-footers in New Hampshire, and spending nights in the woods of the Northeast Kingdom in her Dad’s built-out Tacoma.”
4. River, Burlington, Vt.
River, a two and a half year-old “Beagle Bull—a beagle-pitbull mix—is a rescue dog who now lives with owners Aiden and Marie Gilbert. They write: “River is the ideal adventure dog: The stoke is high whether he’s coming climbing, mountain biking, kayaking, splitboarding or pulling me on my skateboard.”
5. Otis Redding, Syracuse, N.Y.
“It may be too long to catalogue all the great adventures Otis has had,” writes Noah Carroll of his three-year-old Viszla, Otis. “We’ve been on mountain tops, marshlands, sand and pebble beaches, schools gymnasiums, coffee shops, movie theaters and his fair share of beer gardens. We’ve been to 13 states together, with five more coming up this year, and the other 32 to follow swiftly after.”
Featured Photo Caption: Bear and Luna hit the trail with owners Carrie Pill and Justin Pill at Slate Valley Trails in Poultney. Photo by Carrie + Justin Pill.