Kaya and her pup Ivy

Best buds, Kaya and her pup Ivy, were in second place in the Wags to Wishes photo contest as of press time.

Now is a great time to teach that old dog a new trick – “say cheese.”

Wags to Wishes, a photo contest collaboration between Make-a-Wish Vermont and the Humane Society of Chittenden County, will be open through August.

Diana Hill, director of development of the Humane Society, said, “It’s free to enter, so anyone can enter a picture. We’re encouraging people to submit photos of their kids with their companion animals, cats, dogs and smaller animals that HSCC supports.”

Hill said the contest’s free entry acts as encouragement for all to join in. Everybody can participate and then donate what they are able, and know that it’s really going to a great cause.

She was enthusiastic about bringing the contest to Vermonters, especially during the pandemic. Because of COVID-19 everyone has taken a hard hit this year, especially nonprofit organizations.

Hill said some of the organization’s events had to be postponed – an annual walk was supposed to be held in June, but is now rescheduled to October. Make-a-Wish had an event that they had to cancel due to the coronavirus’s impact on businesses.

Hill said, “All the money that we raise from the contest will be split equally among both Make-a-Wish and HSCC, and this allows us to grant wishes and support the people in Chittenden county. The contest was just a great way for us to team up and have some fun.”

As a way of supporting this cause, Hill recommended reaching out to friends and family to spread the word – it’s only $1 per vote.

“The top fundraisers will be in a pool to be featured in our 2021 calendar and we’ve got some cool prizes,” she said.

Hill was thankful for the positive response Wags to Wishes has been getting already – before the contest has even begun. She said, “We rely on community support. We’re here for the community. And we’ve taken a hard hit with everything happening but we are really looking forward to making a fun event to get people involved and support both organizations.”

The top 25 fundraisers for the Wags to Wishes team will pick four entrants to be featured in the contest, and one lucky winner will get a special photoshoot with Mountain Dog Photography.

Wags to Wishes has a $15,000 goal on the HSCC website that can be visited at gogophotocontest.com/wagstowishes.

Community News Service is a collaboration with the University of Vermont’s Reporting & Documentary Storytelling program.

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