The top three in the Pets and Pet Stories Contest were so close that it was difficult to decide between them.
The love between Catherie Magrogan's two dogs, the adorable face of Skeeter and the ingenuity of the tiny jockey affixed to his back were the things that tipped the scales in his behalf, although the ingenuity of the "custom canine egress" and the athleticism of Lucy made it a very close call.
And what a wonderful story of the love between the horse Thunder and the dog Mugsy sent in by Debra Malinics.
This photo of Skeeter and his story by Catherine Magrogan won first prize in the Pets & Pet Stories June contest.
I got Skeeter as a pup for my 5-year-old Jack Russell, Annie.
I was managing a waterfront inn on Maryland's Eastern Shore which was pet friendly, and Annie was always a bit sad when they would leave.
Skeeter and Annie were like two peas in a pod, they truly loved one another.
We now live in Aiken, S.C., and we had been to the Aiken Trials, where Skeet was quite the "Big Horse" that day.
My sweet boy will be 12 in January!
Second place went to Ginny Simon's photo and story about Lucy
Lucy is a rescued pit bull mix, approximately 6 1/2 years old.
When she went out in the morning, she would always jump through the top two rails on our previous deck.
When we contracted for a new deck, one of the requirements was that Lucy could continue her morning routine – while still staying compliant with new codes and regulations.
They developed a "custom canine egress" as shown.
It took her a day or two and a lot of sniffing and inspecting, and a few tentative jumps, but now, Lucy continues to leap into each new day.
Third place went to A wonderful inter-species relationship between a dog and a horse by Debra Malinics
Years ago, I rode in Fairmount Park, out of Monastery Stables in the West Mt. Airy area of the city of Philadelphia.
Whenever possible, I would take our dog, Mugsy, with me to the stable.
Mugsy was a beagle-basset mix adopted from the Morris Animal Shelter in center city.
Mugsy loved to go to the stable, and that is where he, and my horse, Thunder, developed a beautiful friendship - one of my first experiences with a deeply seated, inter-species relationship.