Goofy Pet Photos Offer Comic Relief

Contest benefits charities caring for animals in need.

dog jumping for tennis ball

Pat Heard / Animal Friends Comedy Pets

The effort is there, but the skills are lacking when an energetic dog leaps for a tennis ball and misses.

The photographic proof of the failed attempt, above, is "Oops, Missed It" by Pat Heard. It's one of the entries that has been submitted to the annual Animal Friends Comedy Pet photography awards. Pet owners compete for the title of Comedy Pet Photographer of the Year and about $2,500 (2,000 pounds sterling) in prize money.

The competition is open to entries through July 1, but the event directors shared a few images as a sneak peek of what to expect.

"There are a lot of smiley dogs and dogs in the home being naughty, eating shoes, looking longingly at food," co-director Michelle Wood tells Treehugger. "Maybe because people have been at home with their pets a lot more lately they have had more time to snap them being cheeky!"

ferrets whispering
"I Have a Secret".

Christina Irwin / Animal Friends Comedy Pets

Created by Paul Joynson-Hicks and Tom Sullam, the goal of the competition is to celebrate the important role that pets play in their people's lives and to encourage awareness about animal welfare.

The contest supports animal charities and this year is donating more than $37,000 (30,000 pounds sterling) to three U.K.-based charities dedicated to caring for and finding homes for abandoned animals. With sponsorship from Animal Friends Insurance, the funds will benefit Dean Farm Trust, London Inner City Kitties, and Wild at Heart Foundation.

“We hope that by sharing a sneaky peek at these latest entries, we can raise a smile or two and maybe encourage more budding photographers (amateur or professional) to get involved and enter their funny pet photos and videos," Sullam said in a statement.

ballerina cat

Kazutoshi Ono / Animal Friends Comedy Pets

Categories include dogs, cats, horses, other creatures, and pets that look like their owners or someone famous. There's also a junior, under-16 category that has no fees to enter, and a category for best funny pet video.

In addition to the judged competition, there will be a People's Choice winner, which anyone can vote for online starting in July. Finalists will be announced in mid-July and winners in September.

dog shaking off water
"Shake It Off".

Christine Johnson / Animal Friends Comedy Pets

The terms of the contest require that animals are treated with kindness when the photos are taken. The rules state:

Animal welfare is a crucial part of this competition and very close to all our hearts. Each image entered will be assessed for ethics, welfare and health. This means that, if we get a sense that any animal has been disturbed, harassed, traumatised or humiliated, demeaned or shamed in any way, or forced into unnatural behaviour or situation to "get a laugh" or of course hurt or injured in the process of you getting your picture, you will be disqualified and banned from entering the competition.

Dogs vs. Cats

dog with mouth-shaped toy
"Charlie Gets Veneers".

Victoria Lalley / Animal Friends Comedy Pets

So far with this year's entries, the canine crowd is outnumbering everyone else.

"More dogs than last year at the moment but we still have 3 weeks to go so maybe the cats will catch up?" Wood says.

The finalists will be chosen by a team of more than a dozen judges, including professional photographers and representatives from rescue organizations. But first, they have to make the co-directors giggle.

Wood explains, "When it makes all three of us laugh instantly, even seeing it for the 20th time—if it still makes us giggle—it’s a winner!"

View Article Sources
  1. Animal Friends Comedy Pets press release

  2. "Terms and Conditions." Comedy Pet Photography Awards.

  3. co-director Michelle Wood