Through their Eyes — A Photo Contest Celebrating Life


If only we could show our enjoyment for life as our furry friends do. They cannot wait for our eyes to open each morning so that they can get us moving and simply breathing in the wonderful fact that there is a new day greeting us. They easily bring smiles to our faces when they immerse and become one with the beauty of our changing seasons, as seen in the photo below of Sam blanketed in leaves.

So, come show off your photos thatsurely better than wordscapture our dogs' wondrous celebration of life. Whether jumping for joy, cuddling a favorite toy or enjoying a peaceful gaze by the ocean, the expressions on our beloved companions' faces reveal the most genuine emotions in the world.

Given the huge $1,000 prize package, the contest remained open until we reached 60 entrants (not entries). After running from September 2007 to March 2008, we were able to generate a total of 121 photos submitted by 60 separate entrants. There were actually many more photos received but the parameters for this contest were very specific as to purpose and sizing for print (rather than just for computer screen) media. NOTE: Some posted entries failed to meet the size criteria, exempting them from prize consideration. However, their subject quality merited  inclusion.

"Sam with Leaves" by Geoff Hendrickson 

There is a fabulous $1,300 prize package! Our top 10 winners & honorable mention entrants all receive prizes, along with gorgeous awards of excellence. And, our top doggies will be rewarded as well!

A Through your Eyes—Celebration of Life Card Collection will be created to showcase many of our winning and honorable mention entries.

A Flash slideshow will be created from many of the winning entries, then to be featured at our Youtube page

Extra Bonus: All our heartfelt entries will always have a home here at the Land of PureGold.

Delight in our Top Ten Winners & 121 Photo Entries from 60 entrants!

  Top Ten Winners & Honorable Mentions Card Collection Showcase Entries I Entries II Entries III

Fabulous $1300 Contest Prize Package
Our lucky winners and their dogs will all be rewarded for their efforts, prizes provided to folks to tickle their fancy as well as their dog's. The prizes below, plus some special goodies still to be added, are featured.

One-of-a-Kind Kenyan Collection Beaded Leather Collar and Lead
The Kenyan Collection comes from a collaboration among business people and artisans showcasing the wonderful and diverse culture that is Kenya. The goal is to provide people a greater opportunity to share their talent and improve their lives. Their beaded leather product line features true works of art, with no two collars, leads, belts, or horse browbands alike. Hand beaded by the Maasai mamas in Kenya and imported for sale in the USA, each piece is created with individual instinctive techniques and designs. Beautiful beading on sumptuous leather must be seen and touched to be appreciated.

The mamas average the beading for two collars a day. Beads are hand sewn in leather, then an overlay of leather is glued and stitched on the back. Because each product in this line is a unique creation, specific designs cannot be selected, and widths and lengths may vary slightly. Supplies are limited to the number of pieces that the Maasai are able to produce.

Smiling Blue Skies® Jewelry
Smiling Blue Skies® Jewelry celebrates the special bond between precious pets and people!  Very special friend, Foundation Board Member, and talented artist, Suzi Beber, of the Smiling Blue Skies Cancer Fund, has graciously donated a few pieces from her exciting new line of people and companion animal jewelry. One prize to a lucky winner will consist of a customized Silver pendant on a Sterling Silver chain and accompanying Silver dog tog for his/her beloved companion. A second prize will consist of a customized Silver dog tag.

All "Smiling Blue Skies Jewelry" pieces are one of a kind. Each piece is made just for you, with pure and precious fine silver. And, you can choose one of 10 semi-precious stones to add to your special piece. The stones that can be utilized are: Turquoise, Amber, Amethyst, Lapis, Garnet, Citrine, Malachite, Crystal, Moonstone, and Rose Quartz.

All of these pieces are customized for you, For instance, the dog tag can have your dog's name embossed on the front and phone number or special saying on the back, with choice of semi-precious stone.  And, the winner of the pendant necklace will be able to specify the name or message that s/he would like embossed on the front.


Oliver's Paw Pal: The Next Generation in Nail Grooming
Peter F. Baekkelund, Oliver's Paw Pal inventor, has graciously donated one of his marvelous units for our contest. We have used ours for a few years now and just cannot imagine life without it. Learn how to groom your dog's nails without  all of the Blood, Sweat and Tears! Think about it. A guillotine nail clipper, named after an execution device, is typically sold with styptic powder to stop bleeding. And, the nail grinders that are available for pets are merely rotary power tools—originally designed for industrial applications—not living, feeling beings.

Oprah's groomer loves the Paw Pal. It is easy to use and naturally mimics the action of a dog's walking on rough surfaces to painlessly wear down his or her nails. There is a smooth finish without need for buffing or filing, and nails are shaped just above the quick, with accuracy. There are no more marks on your skin or costly hardwood floors, and you additionally save on grooming costs!
Click here to learn more about this incredible product.

Collector's Gift Tins filled with 1½ lbs of 100% Organic Honey Healing Hearts Cookies (for 2 winners)
These gorgeous Golden Retriever puppy and kitten Gift Tins are quite few in number. We have had one for several years and it remains one of our most favorites, also looking as new as the day we received it. The handle makes the tin so wonderful to transport. It keeps your special treats accessible for you yet just as importantly, inaccessible to your furry kids.

There are absolutely no dog treats available today that can compare to these. Initially developed several years ago for a Golden who was very, very sick with inflammatory bowel disease and pancreatitis, it was a miracle that she lived through her ordeal. These were actually the only treats that she could have. No other dog treat out there has 100% organic and kosher certified ingredients. No treat out there has Active 15+ Manuka Healing Honey. No other treat has been specially formulated to be totally soothing and non allergen-provoking. Not only are our ingredients exemplary, but the companies providing these wonderful items are also beyond reproach.

The ingredients to these heart-shaped wonders are: organic milled whole oat flour, organic apples, organic whole rolled oats, organic oat bran, organic Active 15+ Manuka Healing Honey, organic Saigon cinnamon (5% oil content), and organic ginger. All of our organic whole oat ingredients come from USA based Grain Millers, the world's largest supplier of conventional non-GMO and Certified Organic oats and North America's premier oat milling and specialty whole grain company. And, our organic apples come from the orchards on the shores of the Great Lakes.

Sample baggies of these luscious treats will also be provided for all of our other doggie winners.

Roger Hite's Inspirational Buster Books & More
Some years back we discovered the 1994 book, Buster At The Wall. Hungering for more from Golden Retriever author, Buster, we did some earnest detective work and finally located Dr. Roger Hite─Buster's talented co-author. We learned that Roger, recently retired CEO at Dominican Hospital, had published 17 books and is currently (2008) working on another story for his "Buster" series. But, many of these books are not to be found . . . except for now being featured at our Land of PureGold.

The author-signed books that we provide─unavailable anywhere else on the web─truly comfort and inspire. An ancient philosopher's maxim says, "The unexamined life is not worth living." Buster and his companion leave no doubt in their readers' minds that life is truly worth examining. What do they discover as they sniff around The Grand Scheme of Things? Nothing less than the Ultimate─a living appreciation for the "wonderful stuffness of beingness."

Whether one is reading those written by Golden Buster (with Roger's help), Roger (with Buster's help), or just Roger on his own, the experience will be a unique and uplifting one. How can it not be with Buster's special brand of dog-philosophy and Advice For Living?  Just look at the potent dog philosophy about leashes and even sniffing.


Sets of Fine Linen Art Cards & Fun Stickers
These are oversized 5¼" x 7¼" quality classic ivory linen cards at a hefty 80-pound weight with matching 70-pound linen envelopes. Our lovely art collections of pure Golden whimsy feature original illustrations by the talented artists, Paulina Stuckey-Cassidy, of the Restless Moon Gallery, Anna Moore, and Suzi Beber, founder of the Smiling Blue Skies Cancer Fund. Paulina's images display an innocence that draws one into her magical brew of whimsy. And Anna Moore's angel is our favorite, joyfully featuring an engaging puppy smile. So unique, these vivid cards can be used for every occasion, in happy times and in sad, for they truly express the joy that only our special Golden souls can convey.

In February 2004, we had the luck to photograph this chubby litter of three 5½-week-old puppies. And, along with their sweet message, we believe they are even that much more irresistible. The actual size for these bright Photo Gloss oval stickers is  4" wide x 1 6/16 high.

Earth Angel T-Shirt
This short sleeved black tee shirt is made from a durable, high-quality, pre-shrunk 100% cotton. It is what to wear when you want to go comfortably casual. The design is based on a wooden angel piece that was created by gifted artist, Anna Moore and her talented hubby, Terry. Anna paints like a dream and her husband creates the finest wood items we have ever seen.


Mr. Ollie Golden Plush Pups
These plush pups from Russ Berrie are 5 inches high and 12 inches long, and are definitely show quality!  They sport a card that tells you about Mr. Ollie, and also how to care for him he plays too hard and gets dirty. They are super soft and unbelievably cuddly . . . as all Golden puppers should be.


Terry's Ryan's Quick Access Treat Pouch
Terry Ryan has been very busy coming up with new and must-have items. Her Treat Pouch as a super strong hinge, water resistant lining, two storage pockets, a ring attachment, and is roomy enough to fit your entire hand. The pouch comes with the following: Hinge stays fully open & closes with a touch; Front storage pocket and back zippered pocket; Belt clip and detachable belt; and, FREE training tips booklet by Terry Ryan. This pouch is the perfect accompaniment for our clicker trainers.
Learn more about our favorite training technique here.


Art Vanderbilt's Golden Days Book
There could be no finer gift than this lovely, author signed, lovely book. Written by Art Vanderbilt, one of our Foundation's Advisory Board Members, Golden Days: Memories of a Golden Retriever, tells a beautiful tale of the affection between people and their very special dogs. As Art writes, "She had taken us places we never would have gone and shown us things we never would have seen without her."

We are forever after Art about bringing a Golden into his home, but fear that his still sharply focused memories of Amy keep getting in the way. Yet, we can empathize with him about this dilemma, our sharing in the pain that he experienced when Amy transitioned to The Bridge, as lymphoma (which our Ollie battled) proved to be her downfall as well.

Amy had golden eyelashes, a real fondness for Vermont cheddar, and a worn-out slipper she never tired of bringing to those she felt surely needed it. From puppyhood, she considered herself in charge of the Vanderbilt family—making her round of bed checks each night, greeting long-absent members of her human pack with unrestrained affection, herding the family back to shore when they went for a swim in the ocean, and bartering brand-new shoes for one well-chewed rubber frog. And, being the ultimate drama queen, she would lapse into a sulk worthy of the very best Hollywood leading ladies, whenever she was left out of her family's activities. Please do enjoy the book excerpt below, courtesy of Art.


RuffDawg K9 Flyers and Sticks
From founded in 1998 by dog enthusiasts, enjoy their K9 Flyer. It is just perfect for medium to large size dogs. This 100% superior-grade, rubber retrieving toy is made in the USA. Nontoxic, it is also rugged and bendable, tear and puncture resistant, stretchable, and gentle on the teeth and gums. A great source of exercise, this K9 Flyer is definitely the next generation of flying discs.

Throw The Stick just like, well, a stick! A perfect retrieving toy for medium to large dogs, and safe for use in pools and almost anyplace where there’s water. We love to throw it indoors as well. You should just see Alfie prancing around with his in his mouth. And, it is sooo much safer than the real thing. Measures 1 3/8 inches in diameter and a whopping 12 inches long.


KeepSafe Break-Away Collars
Proven to save dogs' lives, the KeepSafe is the only collar with a patented safety buckle designed to protect dogs from collar accidents and be used securely with a leash. Did you know thousands of dogs are injured or strangled by their collars each year? In an informal 2003 North American Veterinary Conference Survey, 96% of veterinarians reported having seen/heard of a collar-related injury or death within the last year. They  believe that only 1 in 4 dog owners are aware of the risks of collar injury or strangulation, 93% reporting that they would recommend a break-away collar for dogs.

This collar, made from high-quality Dupont nylon webbing known for its durability and its ability to hold up in rugged environments and harsh weather conditions, has a patented break-away safety buckle designed to protect dogs from collar injury. Rigorous testing has proven the buckle will release when dogs get themselves in situations where pressure is applied to the collar. Available in 5 sizes; the breaking strength of each safety buckle has been engineered for its corresponding collar size. If a dog's KeepSafe Break-Away Collar becomes entangled, sufficient force is supplied to cause the safety buckle to release, freeing the dog from danger and saving it from possible strangulation. After the collar has released, it can be reattached and used again and again. Go learn more about this important product.

Mia Lane "C is for Curious" Limited Edition and Numbered Prints
This adorable image is part of Mia Miniature Alphabet Puppy Collection. The print is part of a Limited Edition printing of 850, and is signed and numbered. The print measures 3 inches x 3 inches, and with matting and a frame would make a great gift.


100% Wisconsin Cheese Please Baked Treats
For these human-grade treats, they simply crumble Wisconsin cheese and bake. Nothing else is added. The result is mini crunchy-nuggets packed full of all natural goodness and flavor your dogs will truly love.

Since these treats require no refrigeration, they are great to have on the go and to use for training. In fact, their small size is simply perfect for all you clicker trainers out there! The 1.7oz. package includes 75 treats.

These treats are hard for us 2-legged folks to resist!
Cheese Please is actually a human snack disguised as dog treats. If you like grilled cheese sandwiches, you'll love Cheese Please. This prize is for our doggie pals, so moms and dads, please please try to resist munching on them (they are actually great in salads).




Funny 3-year-old Triad GRR River loves to slide downhill headfirst thru leaves

Your entries MUST capture dogs showing an emotion, related to and influenced by another aspect clearly evident in the photograph. S/he could be influenced by something in nature, an object, another person, another dog, etc.

For additional contest guidance, here are some general suggested emotions that could be conveyed through your submitted photograph entries:

Acceptance Courage Kindness
Anticipation Delight/Joy Patience
Amusement Desire Peace
Calmness Determination Pride
Closeness/Love Ecstasy Surprise
Comfort Friendship Thrill
Contentment Gratitude Wonder

Although a low-resolution and high-resolution image might look the same on your computer screen, there will be a big difference between the two images when they are actually printed onto media such as a calendar or book. Just because an image looks good on screen does not mean it will look good printed. Images need to have a resolution high enough to look good on paper. This is true because most computer monitors can only display 72 ppi (pixels per inch) while printers can print between 300 to 600 ppi. Since we are looking to print greeting cards, photos submitted would need to be 300ppi in a 8" x 10" size (i.e., 2400 pixels x 3000 pixels). NOTE: Right mouse clicking on a saved photo file reveals a properties tab and then advanced summary information that details the image's pixel amounts.

 1. Submissions must be ones in which you are the photographer. For those under age 18, an adult must submit the entry. Dogs depicted need not be your own. Please obtain permission for publication from those persons depicted in your photos.

SAR Golden Puzzle (on her days off!)

 2. There is no limit to the number of photos entered. However, one entry form MUST be completed for each photo submitted.

Photos with good focus and definition should be sent in jpg or tiff files. As noted above, only those large enough for print media can be considered. We reserve the right to not publish entries that fail to meet these criteria, or are of poor quality.

4. We reserve the right to enhance any images to improve their clarity, impact, or aesthetics. We also reserve the right to utilize any submitted image on the Land of PureGold Foundation site and products. By submitting an entry, the entrant grants the Land of PureGold Foundation the right to use the photo as mentioned above without compensation or permission. The copyright, however, will remain with the photographer, and photo credit will be given.

The Land of PureGold Foundation reserves the right to modify these rules at any time without providing prior notification. Winners will be notified by email within two weeks of the contest's conclusion, and will be posted online.


Only photos satisfying the contests' emoting and sizing parameters will be accepted. Contest entry information should include a description of the scene, names and/or ages of those pictured, etc.


10 points: Impact/Appeal
How eye-catching and distinctive is this photo? How much does the photo make you smile? Does this photo make a good, strong 'emoting' statement? Does the first glance carry its complete meaning?
10 points: Creativity/Originality
Does the photographer show an artistic eye? Did the photographer use creative techniques to make an interesting effect? Does the photo have an individuality to it that sets it apart from the rest of the entries?
10 points: Technical/Composition
Is the photo in focus or, if blurry, is this done in a clearly intentional artistic way? Is there good placement of the subject matter? Are there harmonious proportions? Does the photo show pleasing colors with clarity and correct exposure?