Best in Show — Stories from Beyond the Shelter Essay Contest

Have you been talking to your pet/s more during the stay at home order? It’s time to share your favorite story about them!


June 27th, 2020 

Contact: Morgan Pulleyblank 
Director of Development & Communications 

Berkeley, Calif—Today, the Berkeley-East Bay Humane Society has launched a Pet Stories Contest as part of a virtual fundraiser. Best in Show — Stories from Beyond the Shelter features Amy Tan, internationally celebrated bestselling author, Dr. Michael Krasny of the award-winning KQED Forum, TV personality Diane Dwyer, and the finalists of this contest! Three finalists will share their 300 to 400-word stories in a live virtual event on Friday, August 14, 2020. Tickets for the event are on sale now.

According to the American Veterinary Association there are close to 77 million dogs and almost 60 million cats in our homes — that’s a lot of great stories to share. For many of us, dogs and cats are part of our daily lives, but they are more than just pets. They make us laugh, keep us warm, serve as alarm clocks in the morning, and warn us of potential danger — or of a squirrel or a bird outside the window. They pull at our heartstrings, and most importantly, they teach us about unconditional love. Everybody has a story about their dog or cat and Berkeley Humane is wanting to reward you to tell yours. 

“We are all dealing with very challenging times and, for many of us, our pets are a huge comfort,” said Jeffrey Zerwekh, Berkeley Humane’s Executive Director. “We can all benefit from sharing stories of the love and devotion of our rescue animals.”   

To enter the Pet Stories Contest, please head to the Best in Show event page and complete an entry form no later than deadline date of Wednesday July 15th, 2020. 

Who: The Berkeley-East Bay Humane Society 

What: Best in Show — Stories from Beyond the Shelter. A Benefit Featuring Amy Tan, Michael Krasny, and Diane Dwyer. 

Pet Story Contest — Online Submissions (Deadline, Wednesday July 15, 2020) 

When: Friday, August 14, 2020. Contest winner awarded “Best in Show” 

Why: Raise Funds to Support Berkeley Humane’s Lifesaving Mission  


CONTEST TOPIC: How has a rescue animal impacted your life? 

During these times more than ever, we would love to hear your story about a meaningful experience you had (or are having!) with a rescue animal, your own, one you met through friends or family, or just around the neighborhood. 

Prize packages for finalists to include a cash prize and other items.   



Give it your best shot! Pull at our heartstrings, make us laugh or make us cry, but only one submission per person permitted. 

Please submit your original 300-400 word personal story about a rescue animal in your life by 11:59 pm PDT on Wednesday July 15, 2020. Submissions that do not meet these requirements will be disqualified. 

This contest welcomes storytellers of all ages, backgrounds. All submissions must be in English. 

All submissions must be online through the official entry website at 

All submissions must be suitable for all audiences. Berkeley Humane reserves the right to reject entries that are gratuitously violent, sexually suggestive, vulgar, or otherwise explicitly offensive. 

Submissions will be screened by a panel of Berkeley Humane’s essay judges. All decisions of the judges are final. 

Finalists will be notified in August.  

The top three finalists will join Amy Tan and Michael Krasny to read their stories in an online event at “Best in Show — Stories from Beyond the Shelter” on Friday August 14, 2020. The winner and runners up will be determined at this event. 

Finalists agree not to share their stories publicly before the event. We want to maintain interest and excitement for the Best in Show Audience. 

Gift packages will be awarded to all finalists. Finalists will be solely responsible for any federal, state, or local taxes on winnings, if any.  

The ownership of any submission becomes the property of Berkeley Humane, but entry into the competition constitutes the entrant’s permission and consent, without compensation, with or without attribution, for Berkeley Humane to use, reproduce, transmit, post, distribute, adapt, edit, and/or display the submission.



With its origins dating back to 1895, today Berkeley Humane serves the people and animals of our community by providing life-saving programs for cats and dogs, cultivating compassion, and strengthening the human-animal bond. With the support of a dedicated and talented volunteer and staff team, Berkeley Humane intakes animals from municipal shelters around the Bay Area who are often in need of medical care, improved nutrition, enrichment, and lots of love. Last year, Berkeley Humane conducted over 1,000 adoptions and touched almost 1,000 additional pets through related services. 

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