In the competition for Westport's canine crown, judging for the 5th annual "Westport Top Dog" photo and essay contest has been completed.

Four finalists have been selected from among the photos and essays submitted by residents about their canine "best friends" for the Top Dog honor, which is sponsored by Westport Animal Shelter Advocates.

The winner will be announced during a ceremony set for 4 p.m. next Thursday in Town Hall, with First Selectman Jim Marpe presiding. A photo of the honoree will be posted in Town Hall's Dog Hall of Fame, where portraits of previous year's Top Dog winners are hung.

But before that announcement is made, authors of the winning essays will share them with the audience. Each of the top dog finalists will be front and center when the essays are read.

The finalists are:

- Suzy, a white shepherd mix found in a McDonald's parking lot in Arkansas where she was looking for food. She is now a "gentle, intelligent, funny, curious, warm and great companion" for her Westport family.- -

- Or could it be Gabby, a small furry "bundle of love" rescued from a shelter in Houston, Texas, who now accompanies her "mom" to her Westport store every day where she is the official greeter of customers.

- Another contender is Lurch, a Dogue deBordeaux about 6 or 7 years old, rescued from near death by his Westport "mom" from a horrific situation in Pennsylvania, according to WASA. Lurch was skin and bones at the time, but now weighs in at a healthy 124 pounds.

- Then there's Cali, a lab-mix rescued from California, who demonstrates "that rescue dogs, like her, make happy, loving, supportive family members who enhance lives, sometimes in unexpected ways."

Entries in the contest included a $10 donation to WASA, a 501c3 organization that provides assistance to homeless dogs in Fairfield County. It primary focus is on the dogs at the "no kill" Westport Animal Control shelter on Elaine Road.

For additional information about WASA, visit its website,, or send an email to