Judges in the Mail Tribune's second annual Cute Pets photo contest were hoping entrants would make them say, "Awww," with some of the pictures they sent in.
Boy, did they.
See all entries online at www.mailtribune.com/cutepets.
The contest, held between March 14 and April 15, asked pet owners to send the most adorable images of their animals. Close to 550 entries flowed in, with cute — and frequently funny — pictures of dogs, cats, birds, fish and even a goat or two.
We chose three winners and two honorable mentions. Readers also got in the act, voting online for the Readers' Choice winner.
First place went to Philbert the pug, who was photographed by Shelley Busby of Ashland.
Philbert won over the Cute Pets judges with his playful, goggle-eyed mug.
The nearly 3-year-old canine lives in Ashland with Busby, but that doesn't mean Philbert is a small-town dog.
He used to live in a Portland high-rise with Busby's son, but a year and a half ago, Philbert switched humans and moved south.
"He's the funniest little dog," says Busby. "He makes us laugh every day."
The winning photo shows Philbert clutching his favorite toy, Monkey, in his mouth.
"He loves other dogs and he loves people," Busby says.
He's also energetic, walking his humans more than a mile each day and greeting everyone he sees along the way.
"He really does make us laugh every day. I don't know if that's a pug trait or a Philbert trait," Busby says.
Second place went to Cloud the cat, photographed by Susan Truly of Medford.
A well framed close-up of very content Cloud made the entry stand out for judges.
Formerly a stray found by Truly's son in a parking lot two years ago, Cloud is now a member of the family, though Truly says he has maintained his independence.
"He's not a lap cat," Truly said, adding he enjoys his freedom and the great outdoors.
In the photo she entered, Truly captured Cloud sleeping on her bed, the hint of a grin playing across his face.
Daughter Diana Truly says her mom is a shutterbug when it comes to her pets.
"She takes pictures of all our animals," Diana says.
Third place went to Isis the bulldog, entered by Terri Hurd of Medford.
The sweet-yet-guilty face of Isis propelled her into the finals of this year's contest.
While Terri Hurd submitted the photo, her daughter Jordan snapped it in her Georgia home.
Jordan had been on a phone call with her sister Megan, who also lives in Medford, when Jordan set her iPhone down for a moment. Isis — 7 weeks old at the time — pressed her nose to the touch screen, accidentally ending the call. Then she urinated on the floor.
The whole thing was so cute that Jordan had to take a picture, which she sent to her mom.
"She's definitely queen material," said Terri Hurd, noting that Isis was appropriately named after an Egyptian goddess.
Honorable mentions went to, "Cadbury bunnies" by Mike Wraight and "Huckleberry Hound" by Linda Reid.
The Readers' Choice winner was a photo titled "Life of Doge" by Gerald Jakabosky.