The Dog Writers Association of America Announces 2017 Contest Winners

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Writers competed for Maxwell Medallions and $14,000 in prizes

dog writers dwaa

Dog Writers Association of America Annual Writing Competition

We are so grateful to the generous sponsors who make the DWAA Special Awards possible!

Today the Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) announced the winners of its 2017 Writing Competition, which recognizes outstanding work about dogs. Winners can accept their awards at an awards banquet to take place the evening of Saturday, February 10, 2018 at the Hotel New Yorker in Manhattan.

“We are so grateful to the generous sponsors who make the DWAA Special Awards possible,” said Jen Reeder, DWAA’s president. “It’s incredible to be able to announce a whopping $14,000 in prizes!”

The 2017 DWAA Special Award Winners are:

AKC Club Publication Excellence Award
Sponsored by the American Kennel Club, this award is for the best article in a national, regional or local AKC club publication in magazine or newsletter format. The award consists of a plaque and a $500 cash grant.

Cairn Terrier Club of America 100th Anniversary

AKC Microchipping Awareness Award
Sponsored by The AKC Reunite Program for the best article on how microchips can be used in pet recovery. Articles can include recovery stories of how dogs were identified or returned to owners, permanent identification in cases of theft, uses of microchips to confirm identity of dogs in competition, etc. The award is a $1,500 cash grant. For information about actual recovery stories, writers can contact AKC Reunite at 1-800-252-7894.

Lauren Darr – Where’s Bella?

AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Public Service Award
Sponsored by the American Kennel Club, this award goes to the writer of a print or online feature article that best educates pet owners about responsible dog ownership. The award consists of a plaque and a $500 cash grant. To enter, submit one article, which must also be entered in this year’s contest in one of the regular categories.

Kate Eldredge – The First 24 Hours with Your New Dog

AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy and Canine Good Citizen Award
Sponsored by the American Kennel Club, this award is for the best writing about the AKC Canine Good Citizen Program or the puppy level of CGC, AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy.
Recognized as the “gold standard” for family dog manners, CGC and AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy focus on teaching good manners to dogs and responsible dog ownership to dog owners. This award is a $500 cash award.

Susan Kroupa – Ruff-Housed

The Ceva Heartworm Prevention Award
Sponsored by Ceva Animal Health, this award is for the best article that educates the public about the heartworm awareness and prevention tips. The winner will receive a $1,500 grant.

Caroline Coile – Heartworms 2017

DWAA Robert H. McKowen Memorial Friends of Rescue Award
Sponsored by his family and friends. For the best article describing the rescue process: adoption, fostering, transporting, home visits or other aspects of rescue. $300 cash grant.

Pam Gleason – HFGD Junior Ambassadors    

James Colasanti, Jr. Poetry Award
For the poem/poetry which best exemplifies the unconditional love of a dog. Sponsored by James Colasanti Jr. The award is a $200 cash grant.

Lee Netzler – Let’s Walk    

The Captain William Lewis Judy Award
Sponsored by American Legion Post #348, Brick Township, N.J. and Lisa Begin-Kruysman. For a submission in any form of media that educates the public about the important role our military dogs play in our Armed Forces, including issues affecting their emotional and physical care during their training, active service and retirement. The award consists of a $350 cash grant.

Laura Teresa Coffey – Never Give Up: How An Ex-Military Dog Rescued the Veteran Who Needed Him Most

The Walter R. Fletcher Memorial Award
Sponsored by The Westminster Kennel Club in memory of legendary dog show reporter Walter Fletcher, this annual award goes to the reporter who best exemplifies continued press coverage of dog shows in America. The writer must have written a bylined article in a print or online general interest publication about a dog show (or shows). The winner will be honored with a reserved seat in the Walter Fletcher Memorial Chair for both nights of the 2018 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. The chair is located at the end of the front row, in the working press section, on the arena floor of Madison Square Garden.

Barbara Magera – Westminster 2017

The Canine Scribbles Award
Sponsored by Canine Scribbles, LLC, this is awarded for the best article that promotes the reasons to own a purebred canine. The fiction or nonfiction article of 1000 to 1500 words must be published in a print or online publication. The focus of the article should exemplify the virtues of owning a specific purebred dog. A high-resolution .jpeg (at least 300 dpi) should accompany the article that depicts the canine about which the article is written. The article should be clearly and succinctly written, and should outline the advantages of purebred dog ownership, with a unique journalistic voice. $350 cash grant.

Mara Bovsun – Pup of their Dreams

The Fear Free Pets Award
Sponsored by Fear Free, LLC, this is awarded for the article, book, blog, TV segment, radio spot, video, column or other creative media format that best educates, promotes, or demonstrates the importance and benefits of taking a dog to a Fear Free certified veterinary professional. This may also include how a dog’s emotional well-being can play a role in all aspects of its life and health, including veterinary care, how decreasing fear, anxiety, and stress is beneficial to the patient and owner both during the veterinary visit and at home, a focus on Fear Free applications pre- and post-veterinary visit, successful case studies/stories of how a dog went from fearful to Fear Free during or throughout the course of a single or series of veterinary visits, positive experiences working with a Fear Free certified veterinary professional or anything that highlights how Fear Free and what it stands for is all around better for staff, patients, and clients. This award consists of a $2,000 cash grant and a one-of-a-kind commemorative award.

Sarah Rumple – The Ladder to Successful Veterinary Visits

Fear Free Dog Enrichment Award
Sponsored by Fear Free, LLC, this is awarded for the article, book, blog, TV segment, radio spot, video, column or other creative media formats that best educates, promotes, or demonstrates how enrichment activities (exercise, food puzzles, scent training, etc.) can benefit a dog’s emotional—not just physical—well-being and the role that has in their overall health. This may also include topics relating to how the resulting benefits of such enrichment to the dog’s emotional well-being can help set them up for more successful veterinary visits in the future, thus living a happier, healthier life. This award consists of a $2,000 cash grant and a one-of-a-kind commemorative award.

Erica Beckwith – Enrichment for Fearful Dogs

The GNFP Digital Online Article Award
Sponsored by GNFP Digital, this award is for the best online article that highlights the human-canine bond in action. The winner will receive a $500 grant.

Jeff Meade – Meet Pender, The MossRehab Assistance Dog

International Association of Pet Fashion Professionals Pet Fashion Award
Sponsored by the International Association of Pet Fashion Professionals, this award is for a submission in any form of media that demonstrates the enhanced bonds and connections between humans and their dog(s) through pet fashion. This award consists of a $350 cash grant.

Katy Cable – Roxy, Bono & Blue…The Pupstars of Pomona

The Captain Haggerty Award for Best Training Book or Article
Sponsored by Babette Haggerty of Haggerty Dog Training in memory of her father, Captain Arthur Haggerty, this award is for the best book or article on training. The winner will receive a $200 cash grant.

Zazie Todd – The Ultimate Dog Training Tip

The Morris Animal Foundation Canine Health Award
Sponsored by Morris Animal Foundation, a nonprofit that invests in science to advance animal health, this award is for the best science-based article or book about canine health issues or research. The winner will receive a $300 cash grant.

Jana Rade – Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog: How to Tell if Your Dog is Sick and What to Do Next

The PSI Professional Pet Care Award
Sponsored by Pet Sitters International (PSI), this award is presented to the entry that best educates pet owners about the benefits of using professional pet sitters. Qualifying online or print entries include newspaper or magazine articles and blog posts. This award consists of a $300 cash prize.

Amy Shojai – Pet Sitters Can Cause Problems

The Take Your Dog Award
Sponsored by Take Your Dog To Work Day® creator Pet Sitters International, this award is presented to the entry that best highlights the special human-canine bond and importance of pet adoptions. Qualifying print or online entries include newspaper or magazine articles, blog posts and personal essays. The award consists of a $300 cash prize.

Jill Breitner – How to Be the Best (Foster) Home Possible

The Harrison Stephens Inspirational Feature Award
Named in honor of Harrison Stephens, a newspaper editor who wrote thought-provoking features marked by journalistic integrity and humor until his death just before his 100th birthday. This award is for a feature article that highlights the human-canine bond and leaves the reader with a smile. Potential topics include working dogs (or a lazy dog with a winning personality), or dog-centric nonprofits that promote positive outcomes for pets and people. The award is sponsored by Sally and Tom Reeder and consists of a $300 grant.

Ronni Gordon – A Favor Returned

Dogwise Best Book Award
Sponsored by Dogwise Publishing. $500 to the author of the best book. The winner will be chosen by the president of DWAA from the winners of all the book categories. The award is a $500 cash grant.

Joseph Robertia – Life with Forty Dogs

DWAA Distinguished Service Award
Sponsored by the American Kennel Club, this award honors extraordinary achievement and communications excellence. It recognizes the person who, by word, deed, exemplary conduct, public communication and professional excellence, best promotes the interest of the sport of dogs. The award consists of a plaque and a $1,000 cash grant.

Carol Bryant

A full list of winners, including recipients of the coveted Maxwell Medallion, is online at dogwriters.org.

About DWAA
The Dog Writers Association of America is the most recognized professional writing association devoted to dogs. Founded in 1935, the DWAA has grown from eight founders to over 500 members, including journalists, authors, bloggers, publicists, photographers, illustrators and media personalities. Under the umbrella of the human-canine bond, members cover dog competitions, health, training, rescue, pet fashion, veterinary research, working dog organizations, animal welfare legislation, fundraisers and many other topics. For more information, visit: dogwriters.org.

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