Today’s the big day! You’ve waited. You’ve wondered. And finally, the winners of the second Mars Petcare Comedy Pet Photo Awards have been announced! And they’re making us smile and giggle like it’s the weekend.
The highly-coveted 2020 Photographer of the Year award went to Elke Vogelsang from Germany whose photo of her dog Noodles, “Guard Dog on Duty,” won over the judges in a heartbeat. “It's wonderful to be associated with something that makes people happy. This dog definitely is a mood-lifter. Happy to share her funny, gorgeous face with the world,” said Elke, who also won the Dog Category award.
Check out all of the winning photos and some of the other finalists below and be sure to scroll down for Bored Panda’s exclusive interviews with the team behind the brilliant project. The competition’s being sponsored by Mars Petcare, is raising funds for pet charity Blue Cross, and is raising awareness about homeless pets in the United Kingdom. So it’s not just about making us, the viewers, feel good—it’s having an actual positive impact on the world.
Highly Commended Winner: 'Over Dramatic Cat' By Iain Mcconnell
"Edmund being Dramatic."
Dog Category / Overall Winner: 'Guard Dog On Duty' By Elke Vogelsang
"What is it about dogs that makes us love them so much? Let's admit it, they please us. They are great fun. They are gorgeous to look at, charming and cuddly. Their loveable, adoring nature appeals to us. They are loyal, protective, cheerful and altogether great company. Dogs give you all their attention. They can make the shiest people feel better about themselves. A recent study found that dog owners tend to be less lonely, less fearful and more extrovert than people without dogs."
Mighty Horse Category Winner: 'Gossip Girls' By Magdalena Strakova
"I was photographing horses in a pasture, and these three got together and appeared to have a chat, gossipping like giggling schoolgirls"
Overall winner Elke explained that 10 years ago Noodles and her other dog Scout alerted her to the fact that her husband was unconscious in the bath. “The diagnosis was a severe brain hemorrhage due to a ruptured aneurysm. If it hadn't been for the dogs, I would have found him too late. Thanks to them and great doctors he survived, but during the stressful months that followed, I found photography as a creative outlet,” she shared.
With 3k pounds up for grabs, there was a lot of interest in the competition. And it really was a win-win kind of situation for everyone: all of us get a good laugh looking at the photos, the photographers get the attention that they deserve, and the limelight’s shining full force on how to best help pets in need.
Some of the other winners include Malgorzata Russell who won the Cat Category award, Magdalena Strakova who was the winner of the Mighty Horse Category, and Anne Linder who got the award for All Other Creatures. Meanwhile, Hannah Seeger won the Pets Who Look Like Their Owners award while Ayden Brooks became the winner of the Junior Category. There were also 10 photographers who were Highly Commended for their entries.
Highly Commended Winner: 'The Dancing Cat' By Iain Mcconnell
"Edmund playing at the top of the stairs."
Highly Commended Winner: 'Look Mom - I Can Walk On Water' By John Carelli
"He was so proud for a split second. He thought he was going to walk across the lake and avoid retrieving the bumper. But alas, gravity won the day."
Cat Category Winner: 'Why Are You Upside Down Mum?' By Malgorzata (Gosia) Russell
"This our one year old still kitten cat Basil. He is very playful, agile and loves our garden we used a lot during lockdown. It is our daily, morning routine to chase each other around the garden. Picture is not photoshopped."
So many winners! And if you’ve got an itch to share your own funny photos of your pets, then you’ll have the chance in Spring of 2021! Next year’s competition starts (very fittingly) on April 1st, so don’t miss it—we know we won’t!
The photography competition was created by the founders of the world-famous Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards, Paul Joynson-Hicks and Tom Sullam. They're donating 10 percent of the sponsorship fee and 10 percent of all entry fees to national pet charity Blue Cross, to help with its work rehoming pets and providing veterinary treatment and care. Bored Panda got in touch with founder Tom, as well as with team member Michelle Wood. Tom revealed that this year the atmosphere leading up to the announcement of the winners was... peculiar.
“This year the atmosphere is very odd, as we are very much Zoom-driven in terms of our interactions! But we are always excited because we know the pictures can only bring a smile to people's faces, so there is no pressure on that front,” Tom said.
'There Goes Dinner' By Beth Noble
"Five tonkinese cats watching their "dinner" walk past the kitchen window."
'The Guilty Kitten' By Iain Mcconnell
"Edmund the kitten and a stick chew."
'Saint Pauls Cap' By Alex Class
"I've always been keen on architectural photography, on leading lines, on creative perspectives. I had a walk around London with Kyte and his owners. Kyte is a lovely 9 year old weimaraner. I had been eying up this spot for a while and just waiting for the right face to wear Saint Paul's cupola."
“Sadly, there will be disappointment from individual photographers, but each and every image that makes the finalists is worthy and we are always keen to get that message across. General excitement, some over-excitement, and a whole lot of smiling (if we could all be in the same room at the same time!)” he shared, pointing out that being a finalist is a huge thing, even if your photo didn’t win.
Tom shared his hopes for next year’s competition as well, aiming for bigger and better awards. “The response this year has overwhelmed us, and the number of direct messages describing the general joy of seeing these images has really given us a boost for next year's competition. We want more pets entered, as much as we love our cats and dogs, we want to see all the pets that people have—their importance to our mental health is so crucial currently and we just want to keep supporting these wonderful animals through a happy and positive vibe!”
Highly Commended Winner: 'Squirrelll!!!' By Elke Vogelsang
"Noodles was rescued from a Spanish kill-shelter and brought to Germany, where she joined our family when she was eight months old. She is a Spanish sighthound (Galgo Espa) mix, 13 years old now (a bit younger in this picture) and still acting like a pup. She is the clown, sometimes overly motivated and clumsy, the eager-beaver, curious, friendly, open-minded, extremely funny if not unintentionally comic sometimes."
Highly Commended Winner: 'That Moment You Realise You've Gone Through Half A Jar Of Snacks' By Candice Sedighan
"Bear's expression looking into his jar of dog food is far too relatable. I simply cut a hole into the food container, taped my iPhone camera to it, and snapped a shot before he dug in to his tasty meal."
'Covert Cows' By Heather Ross
"A couple of important members of the Whitehouse Farm team, peeping over the hedge."
Meanwhile, Michelle told us that the team was incredibly excited in the hours leading up to the official announcement of the winners. “It’s been such a tonic to have this to look forward to, especially this year,” she said. Michelle also revealed that next year they’re hoping for some interactive pet events and exhibitions. “But fingers crossed the world gets to a more stable place first. The next competition kicks off on April Fools’ Day in the UK—the first of April, so we will probably need a good laugh by then.”
Tom told Bored Panda that he and Paul came up with the idea for the Comedy Pet Photo Awards after 4 years of successful Comedy Wildlife competitions. “It seemed like an obvious step to reach out to all those who do not necessarily have the equipment or time to do wildlife photography—but who have an active interest in photography, and animals,” he said.
“We wanted to continue the animal conservation message, but on this occasion focusing on pets and how we should look after and care for them. Many pets, such as exotic animals, are often kept in poor conditions and we wanted to address the poor treatment of these animals that give so much back to us.”
All Other Creatures, Great Or Small Category Winner: 'Drama Queen' By Anne Lindner
"There is almost nothing more beautiful than to see a hearty yawn of a rabbit."
Highly Commended Winner: 'The Dancing Kitten' By Iain Mcconnell
"Edmund playing with his toy."
Highly Commended Winner: 'Ohhhhhhhhh' By Dimpy Bhalotia
"This happened in a fraction of a second and I couldn't stop laughing."
Tom explained that partnering up with Mars Petcare allows them to increase the competition’s reach and spread their message better. “We have also joined up with Blue Cross, a UK based pet charity that works to reduce pet suffering. The partnership will be raising much needed funds for sick, injured, abandoned and homeless pets across the country to assist with its work on rehoming pets and providing veterinary treatment and care.”
According to Tom, 2020 showed all of us just how vital having pets in our lives really is: they help us focus on the positives in life, even though they’re sometimes taken for granted.
Highly Commended Winner: 'Friends Don't Let Friends Do Silly Things Alone' By Kerstin Ordelt
"This photo is an outtake. Actually, the dogs tried to hug and thats what happend :) The picture was taken in Linz (Austria) in a pedestrian zone early in the morning."
Highly Commended Winner: 'Hold On Tight! We're Running Late' By Karen Hoglund
"Dani, the puppy, hangs on for her life when Gabby is at the wheel. (The car wasn't actually moving so it wasn't really scary.) We intended to take a photo of the dogs looking at the camera but both pups looked forward instead which was much funnier! Just to be on the safe side, we kept both dogs on leashes. What you can't see in these photos is my husband crouched down in the back seat, holding both dogs leashes. He is such a good sport!"
'Happy Akira' By Jasmin Haecker
"Our Shiba girl Akira loves to smile... we finally managed to capture this lovely unforgettable moment while granddad's grill party."
'Isolated Dog' By Ilana Rose
"Isolated Vizla dog in lockdown, a reflection on how we all feel in this year of lockdowns due to COVID-19 world wide."
'Shocked Mastiff' By Annett Mirsberger
"During a photoshoot, this gorgeous mastiff made some funny faces - I hope not because of me ...!?"
'Funny Horse' By Peter Von Shnen
"This horse is already 24 years old. He moved in with me and he likes it very much. Me too."
'Blessed' By Mateus De Oliveira
"Malala blesses and advises you humans."
'Smile' By Mehmet Aslan
"The horse's smile and the dog that makes it strange."
'The Funny Amorgos Donkey' By Boris Purmann
"2016 at the greek Island Amorgos. We hiked from Aegiali to Langada and I made some Pics with my Mobile of a Donkey Group. In the last Picture it looks like that the Donkey was friendly and smiling to us. So I realise that I have to make more of this. In 2019 we meet the Donkey Owners, they have a nice Tavern in Langada TAVERNA LOUDAROS and they told us the name of the Donkeys. From righti to left: Sister Nefeli, Mother Floredia and SOSO!"
'Red Slippers? I Don't Know Anything About Them' By Teun Veldman
"This little cat seems to tell: I don't know anything about red slippers."
'Goat Relax Time' By Robert Prat
"We have a goat in our house, she lives in the garden. One day we saw that she was playing with the hammock, she put put the front paws on top , it was very funny. A few days later, we got home and we realized she was completely inside the hammock! we gave her some leaves to take the photo better."
'Super Happy Dog' By Dean Pollard
"Taz, our rescue dog from Cyprus was super happy on a sunny day and clearly delighted to be at the beach."
'I'm Down Here, Human!' By Elke Vogelsang
"My Noodles again. As said, she's is the funniest dog you could possibly imagine. Always with her humans, always ready for some mischief and adventures. Noodles likes: chasing a ball (or any activity that involves running, jumping, catching) rolling in waste oil and petrol (yes, our little pit babe is a special girl) any kind of entertaining interaction with humans (she is more like a shepherd or collie, always asking for brain work or physical challenges) emptying the trash can and spreading the contents on the kitchen floor (there might be a drop of yoghurt or a bread crumb left somewhere) exploring (she is always on a mission. Sometimes I have to rescue her. She squeezes her clumsy body into every cave or hole, every sewer tunnel, etc.) Noodles dislikes: rain (she once lay flat on the ground under a projecting roof, refusing to go any further, because it was raining. Well, the surrounding people had a good laugh. Glad to make people happy.) having to stay home (when we would like to take one of the two others for a walk she tries to push past us to get outside before us and lie down flat on the ground to protest against being left at home. She also showed this kind of passive resistance when she was new and young and didn't want to go by car. She just lay flat on the ground refusing to move at all.) having to be patient."
'Do Not Disturb' By Tilman Wagner
"Cats can sleep anywhere, but it doesn't hurt to have some careing tourists making sure they don't get disturbed."
'Splash' By Alice Van Kempen
"While playing with eachother one of the puppies fell into the water. The others looked surprised at the splashing sister."
'Poodle Chaos' By Darren Hall
"This is Ted the Poodle. Ted loves his ball more than anything. You can probably tell by his expression in this photo that Ted's ball is the most exciting thing in the world to him. This image was taken in Jesmond Dene, Newcastle upon Tyne. I used a hand held flash to light Ted as he scrambled through the leaves to get his ball."
'Matilda Fleeing The Cows' By Emma Newton
"Matilda stopped for a quick cool down until she realised the field's resident's were approaching at speed."
Highly Commended Winner: 'Living Trophy' By Antonio Peregrino
"This border collie lives on a farm and his name is FOFO. Always cheerful and playful, FOFO also likes to watch the movement on the farm and in this particular photo he is inside the stall of the horses with his head placed in a hole in the wall that gives access to the outside to see me and my cousins walking. I took advantage that I had my camera at the time and took the photo. I called this photo a living trophy because it reminded me of a sad culture that we humans have in killing animals and putting their heads on walls. FOFO proves how much more beautiful, healthy and happy it is for us humans to appreciate free and living animals."
'Crazy Horse' By Daniel Szumilas
"The horse was laughing in front of me. When I got back to the car, I had to check the mirror to see if I had anything on my face. Amazing experience"
'Buddy's New Teeth!' By Lianne Richards
"Our lovable and squeaky ball obsessed cocker spaniel Buddy who we rehomed 18 months ago."
Pets Who Look Like Their Owner Category Winner: 'Morning Mood' By Hannah Seeger
"Me and my rescue dog really tired in the early morning."
'Jumping Hair' By Hetwie Van Der Putten
"Bruc was found as a puppy on the street in Spain with his mother and sister. Now he is my canine friend and model and goes where we go. Catching cookies in my home studio."
Junior Category Winner: 'Good Morning, Fox Mulder!' By Ayden Brooks
"Our cat, Fox Mulder, AKA Squishy, Little Squishy Guy, Squishface, Squish, Foxy, loves to spread himself out on his back when he sleeps. He likes to sleep anywhere including in the middle of a room on a rug or even on the wood floor. I love to take photos of him because he is so cute and funny. I caught him as he was waking up from a nap and yawning."
'Mr Universe' By Carol Delaney
"Tired of working from home during the Covid 19 lockdown Mr Universe is taking a rest at his home in Cambridge New Zealand"
'Hey, Please Pop Some Food In Here!' By Annett Mirsberger
"During an evening walk I happened to pass this pasture and had a lot of fun ..."