Westport Animal Shelter Advocates would like to thank all of the participants in the 2012 Westport Top Dog photo and essay contest. Thanks to the support of individuals and families like you we can continue in our mission to help homeless dogs in Fairfield County. With so many heartfelt essays and stunning photographs, the judges' task was a difficult one, and we would like to thank this year's judges, Hank Herman, Patricia Strauss and Bud Siegel.

In addition to including this year's Top Dog award and top finalists in the ribbon ceremony, WASA members will be awarding the first "Second Chance" award to one competitor. As WASA is an organization that strives to help homeless dogs secure a second chance for a forever home, we thought it would be appropriate, particularly because so many entries were for dogs that were given that second chance by Westport residents, that we add this award. While it is an award certainly for the dog it is also for the family that made a choice to rescue at a time when shelters, including Connecticut's, are overcrowded with wonderful dogs looking for homes.

So, drum roll, the finalists, in no particular order, are as follows: Baby Feinberg, Blue Bear Buzzeo, Bruce Byrne, Lola Lieberson, Bella Rose Kowalsky and China Reid. Please note that we are in the process of scheduling a ribbon ceremony at Town Hall to officially announce Westport's Top Dog. We will be in touch with the finalists and other entrants once that date and time is in place. We invite all of you to participate as a celebration of Westport and all it has to offer its Top Dogs and their families. Special treats and giveaways will be provided for dogs in attendance.

On behalf of all the dogs that will benefit from your support, we thank you.

Julie Loparo, President

Westport Animal Shelter