Submissions are now open for the contest, which is hosted by Biggies Bullies, a nonprofit dedicated to finding forever homes for pit bull-type dogs in and around Pittsburgh, as well as Jessica Wasik, the award-winning pet photographer of Bark & Gold Photography. An online vote will determine the winners, and Wasik will professionally photograph the top 13 grand prize winners for the 2022 Biggies Bullies pet calendar. The highest vote-getter will be featured on the calendar cover.
Pet owners have until March 6 to submit a photo of their dog along with a $5 entry fee donated directly to Biggies Bullies to help the rescue continue its efforts, according to a press release.
While Biggies Bullies might be hosting the contest, Wasik assures that pit bulls aren’t the only breed accepted.
“The contest is open to dogs of all breeds,” says Wasik. “We've had a variety over the years. And it's not a requirement that the dogs be from a rescue.”
In the past, the calendar contest has raised a considerable amount of money for local animal charities. In 2020, Biggies Bullies claims it raised nearly $13,000, which included entry and subsequent calendar sales. That amount served as a safety net when the COVID-19 pandemic canceled many of the in-person events and galas used to generate funding for animal nonprofits.
The pandemic also saw a shift in how local animal rescue groups and shelters operate. Last year saw a significant increase in adoptions and foster applications, as homebound residents looked for ways to make their quarantine more productive or less lonely. Because of this, Biggies Bullies, Humane Animals Rescue, and others were able to turn their attention to fundraising and charity efforts, mainly providing pet food and supplies to owners who had lost jobs or income due to the COVID-19 shutdowns.
This year, Biggies Bullies is using the contest to raise $20,000, which will go to the rescue group, as well as programs like the Hungry Hippos Food Pantry and its Freedom Harness Exchange.
Wasik says several pet-friendly businesses located in Pittsburgh and throughout the country also donated more than $500 in weekly mini-contest prizes for “even more fun and increased participation.”
“We are grateful to have nine pet-focused businesses supporting this year’s contest with their incredibly generous mini-contest prizes,” says Wasik. “Their contributions, coupled with the support of the Pittsburgh pet community, has been instrumental in making this fundraiser a continued success that gets bigger and better every year.”