Thursday, June 28, 2012

Who is the silliest? The Woofies or the Kitties?

We're 4 days into Garth Riley's FIRST EVER Silly Photo Contest, and I have already received 16 very silly entries!  I had originally intended to wait until the contest deadline had passed before posting entries, and then post all the entries at once.  However I have realized that posting all of the entries at once may result in a silliness overload for my readers.  Therefore I have decided to post the entries in smaller groups.

All of the entries I have received so far are in the Pure Silliness category.  We apparently have some very silly kitties and woofies out there!  

Having had little experience with kitties, I always thought kitties were very serious.  When I see kitties while I'm on my walks, they always seem to either look at me with that "Go ahead, make my day" look, hiss at me, or just run away.  But I have recently learned that kitties, too, can be silly -- very silly -- as evidenced by the photos below.

But who is the silliest -- the woofies or kitties?


Bailey, a five year old Shih Tzu

Declan, a 5 year old ex racing Greyhound
from Yorkshire, UK
Declan's Dogs Blog

Dexter, a 4 year old labradoink
from Massachusetts, USA

Dexter and his brother Mango share a blog called
Mango and Dexter's Great Adventures

Mango, a 7 year old mastiff
from Massachusetts, USA
Mango and Dexter's Great Adventures

Finn, a 20-month old golden retriever
from New York, USA
Finn Howard

Sam, an 8 year old Havanese type from
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
The Hobbit Habitat

Sarge, a 6 year old mutt from Pennsylvania, USA
Sarge Speaks Out

Abby, a 2 year old Goldendoodle from Utah, USA
She and her sister Fiona share a blog called
Another Tequila Sunrise

Fiona, a 4 year old Goldendoodle from Utah, USA
Another Tequila Sunrise

Jacobi, a 4 year old Vancouver
Island Mutt, who doesn't fetch,
from British Columbia, Canada
The Dog Who Doesn't Fetch

Nola, a 1 year 8 month old miniature
dachshund from Florida, USA
Dachshund Nola


Dirk, from the Netherlands
His mom's blog is
Quilts, Cats, and Automobiles

Madi, a 10 year old Diva Feline from North Carolina, USA
Madi & Mom - Down Home in North Carolina

Maggy, an 8 year old tortie-point
Himalayan from Florida, USA
(the grand-bean was mesmerized by her tail)

Maggy and her sister Zoey can be found on

Zoey, a 7 year old blue-point Himalyan
from Florida, USA, 

(lying in her hu-mom's IN box)

The late Stoli, formerly of Washington,
D.C., Virginia, USA and Hitchin, Herts, 
a blue tabby who thought he was a dog

These are some wonderfully silly photos -- the judges are gonna' have a tough time.

There's still a whole week to get your entries in.  So check out the contest info and rules, find your silliest photo, and email it to me by July 6.  There are no entries yet in the Technologically Enhanced Silliness category or the Local Silliness Category.  Come on my RVA peeps -- I KNOW you have silly photos -- I've seen them on Facebook.  And I KNOW you have done some silly captioned or Photoshopped photos.  Send them in!  You may win something!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Announcing Garth Riley's FIRST EVER Silly Photo Contest

I LOVE contests!  And I LOVE to make people smile.  So I have decided to host a contest which will make people smile -- perhaps even laugh.  Plus I have a strong interest in promoting silliness in general because I believe it has a positive effect on the humans around us.

Just find your silliest photo, pick your category, and send it to me per the instructions below.  I will include all the entry photos in posts about the contest, our esteemed panel of judges will select the winners, and I will write a post about the winners with the winning photos.

There will be PRIZES -- of course there will be PRIZES!!!  See below for details.

1. Contest is open to all nonhuman creatures, even cats (big of me, don't you think?).  Humans may be in the photo, but the main subject of the photo must be a creature.
2. You don't have to have a blog to enter, but if you have a blog, I'll post a link to your blog with your photo. (I think this is a great opportunity to learn about new blogs!)
3. By sending me your photo, you are giving me permission to post it in my blog posts about the contest.  I will be posting all photos entered, to share the silliness with my readers and hopefully make them smile and laugh.  If you want me to include a photo credit, please indicate that in your entry email.
4. Only one entry per creature.  If you have more than one creature in your household, each can have his or her own entry or you can have a group entry.
5. Winners will be selected by our esteemed panel of judges from all photos received before the deadline.  The decision of the judges will be final.
6. The contest begins RIGHT NOW and will run until midnight Eastern Standard Time on July 6.  Winners will be announced on July 14. Winners will be asked to provide a shipping address for their prize.
7. Contest organizer reserves the right to extend the contest if necessary to increase the number of entries.
8. Prizes are small in order to reduce shipping costs.  Contest organizer reserves the right to substitute a donation to the rescue or animal welfare organization of the winner's choice if winner is outside of U.S. and the cost of shipping the prize is prohibitively expensive. 
9. Contest organizer reserves the right to substitute prizes where appropriate and possible.  For example, a more appropriate prize may be substituted for a dog-oriented prize, where possible, in the event winner is some other type of creature.
10. Contest organizer reserves the right to add additional prizes and categories if he is so inclined.
11. Since many of the prizes will be handmade and customized by my talented staff, prizes may take 2-4 weeks for shipping.
12. Please follow my blog!  (This isn't a requirement for entry, but if you follow me, you can easily keep up to date with this contest and hear about my future contests).
13. Bribery of contest organizer is strictly prohibited.  (So if you want to give me presents, we can't let my mom find out.)  (Just kidding, no presents allowed.)

To enter:
Send your silly photo to me by email at garth DOT riley AT rocketmail DOT com with "Silly Photo Contest" in the subject line.  I will be posting all entries on my blog in a series of posts. If you have a blog and you would like me to include a link to your blog, please include that in your email.  Please also indicate which category you wish to enter and include your name (or names), type of creature(s) or breed(s), gender, age, where you live (city, state, country), your human's name, and your email address.

If you'd like to help spread the word about the contest and show your support and participation, please add the contest badge to your blog (pick one) and link it back to this page (

(Buttons created by Zoolatry.  Aren't they awesome?)

Categories and Prizes:

In addition to the prizes listed below, all winners will receive a handmade polymer clay trophy ornament, suitable for hanging in your trophy case, from your windshield, on your Christmas tree, or basically anywhere you can hang something.

Trophies are currently in production.
They will look something like this.
First Place Trophy

Other prizes are in production as well.  

Handmade photo frames will look something like these (these are still being assembled):

(With your photo of course!)

Handmade photo frame ornaments:

(With your photo.  Photos of me and Willow are just
for illustration purposes.  And so you can admire us.)

Handmade bone or paw print ornament will be personalized:

(Mom made these for Hero and his kitty brothers
as a moving away present.)


Pure Silliness
This category is for regular photos -- photos that haven't been photoshopped, no captions have been added, and no cute little things have been added from an app like “IHatMe”.  Cropping and use of Instagram or other filters is allowed, just no added images or captions.

1st place - handmade photo frame
2nd place - handmade photo frame ornament
3rd place - handmade ornament

Pure silliness

Technologically-Enhanced Silliness
In this category, anything goes!  You can use Photoshop or any app you want to add or distort images.  (My favorite app is called “IArrPirate”.) You can add captions to your heart's content.

1st place - handmade photo frame
2nd place - handmade photo frame ornament
3rd place - handmade ornament
Most creative use of app - handmade photo frame ornament

Technologically-Enhanced Silliness using
my favorite app - "IArrPirate"

Local Silliness
This category is for locals only, defined roughly as the metro Richmond, Virginia area (Richmond, Hanover, Henrico, Chesterfield, Goochland, New Kent).  (I want my local non-blogger friends to have a fighting chance to win something too!)  These may be purely silly photos or technologically enhanced photos.

1st place - handmade photo frame
2nd place - handmade photo frame ornament
3rd place - handmade ornament

Grand Prize - the ABSOLUTE silliest photo in ALL categories

Handmade photo frame + goodie bag

LOL Award - awarded to photos that make the judges laugh out loud
Handmade dog bone or paw print ornament

Art by Zoolatry

Sunday, June 24, 2012

MORE Sunday Sunshine!!!

My new friend Gemma just gave me the Sunshine Award! 

She said she gave it to me because my blog makes her smile! That means I'm accomplishing what I set out to do with my blog, so that makes me very happy. I hope it makes you smile too.

Me, smiling
There are three rules for the Sunshine Award:
1. Answer 7 questions
2. Pass it on to ten people
3. Let them know they received the award

Most of you know my mom as my hiking companion and bumbling IT staff, but there's actually much more to her. So I thought I should give mom & dad a chance to tell you a bit about themselves. This time, they get to answer the questions.

1. What is your favorite number?
Mom: I hate numbers. Words are my thing.
Dad: Eleventy-seven (he insists that really is a number)

2. What is your favorite nonalcoholic beverage?
Mom: James River water (treated), diet Coke
Dad: You mean there ARE non-alcoholic beverages?

3. Facebook or Twitter?
Mom: It's taken me years to figure out Facebook. Please don't make me do Twitter.
Dad: Neither. This new-fangled stuff scares me.

4. What is your passion?
Mom: Garth, Garth's dad, writing, hiking, the ocean, the mountains, the Keys, beading, wire working, making things with polymer clay & other materials
Dad: Garth, Garth's mom, brown polyester

Me on the beach at Hilton Head, South Carolina
November 2009
5. What is your favorite pattern?
Mom: tie-dye
Dad: brown polyester

6. What is your favorite day of the week?
Mom & Dad: Saturday

7. What is your favorite flower?
Mom & Dad: Daffodils
Mom: Columbine, daisies, bachelor's buttons, irises, day lilies, all kinds of orchids

My dad's prize daffodils -- which he secretly planted last fall.
Mom didn't know until they started coming up this spring.

Mom grew this columbine from seed she collected
at dad's grandma's house in Rhode Island,

after his grandma had died.  It blooms every year
and has made lots of baby columbine plants.

Now I have to pass on the award to ten other blogs. This may not quite be ten.  I don't know if I can count that high.  This is the difficult part because there are SO MANY wonderful blogs I enjoy. So I tried to list newer blogs or those with fewer comments and/or followers, to introduce my other friends to them.

Sheba - My Dog Sheba's Life Story
Jesse at Berner Tails
My Girlz Got Paws (Gracie and Schatzie)
Hades the Golden Retriever
Loveable Lilly (& Muffin)
Lincoln the Great Dane
Go With Gus
Jacobi, The Dog Who Doesn't Fetch
Puppy Momma
This may be totally against the rules because this is not a dog, cat, or other creature's blog, and my Sri Lanka fan club may not fully appreciate the honor bestowed upon them, but I'm listing Lanka Log because I think some of my friends may enjoy reading about life as an American living in Sri Lanka -- my mom sure does.

I really enjoy blog awards because I think they are fun and a great way to get to know other bloggers.  However, I know they can be time-consuming and some of us don't have full time staff.  So we understand completely if you don't have the time or inclination to pass on the award.  We won't stop enjoying your blog!

I will be posting contest info either this evening or tomorrow!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Thursday, June 21, 2012

My Hero

Hero is one of my best friends ever.  But he’s moving away, so I’m very sad.  He's not moving like Willow moved (from the West End to the Southside); he's moving all the way across the ocean.

Me, sad that Hero is moving

Mom, dad and I will miss Hero and his mom and dad very very very much.  We've only known them a little over a year, but they quickly became great friends and hiking buds.  They showed us lots of trails at Pocahontas State Park, cheered me on in tricks contests, helped out A LOT at Dog Scouts events, and Hero has been a star in our recent trick demos.  Not only is Hero a great pup, his mom and dad are among the most delightful people we’ve ever met.

Hero shares my passion for mud

Hero at Woof Wag Walk

I met Hero through Facebook.  His mom was friends with my grandma, who had given her a lot of great information about labs when she was looking for Hero.  When I posted a particularly witty comment on one of my grandma's posts, Hero's mom sent me a message saying she just HAD to friend me and that her lab was on Facebook too.  So I got to know Hero and his mom a bit through Facebook, then they came to watch my tricks demo at the Ft. Lee Puppy Bowl last summer, and we got to actually meet them!  Mom liked Hero's mom instantly, but I wasn't quite as enamored by Hero.  He was still very much of a puppy then, and puppies can be a bit much for me –- all jumpy and kissy and bitey.  But then we started doing hikes together and we became great friends, and Hero has matured into a fine young lab.

Hiking with Hero

Willow, Hero and me playing in the water
at Pocahontas State Park

THROW it, human

Did someone say treat?

Come on old man, says Hero
Hero on his first birthday
Hero is an all-around superstar.  He's only one and a half years old, but he is already the best behaved and most talented lab we know (next to me, of course).

Hero's full name is Doubleplay's Hero Lest We Forget because he was born on Veteran's Day.  He is half American lab and half English lab – and we think he's the best of both.  As you can see from his photos, he's one of the most handsome labs EVER.  He's also one of the sweetest, smartest, and most talented labs around.  He makes friends with everyone he meets, human and canine.  He simply loves everyone, and everyone loves him.  He knows lots of tricks, and will swim far out into the water to fetch a ball none of the rest of us can find.  He has started hunt training (which is how he knows how to find the ball – his mom gives him some signal that means swim out further to look for it).  He has also been learning agility recently, and he's picking it up quickly.

Did I mention that he can fly?

A couple months ago, Hero’s mom entered him into a dog show.  She said she didn’t know what she was doing, and some thought her crazy to try it, but mom and Willow’s mom encouraged her to do it.  Hero had never been to a dog show before and didn’t have any training or practice as to what you’re supposed to do.  But he wowed the judges with his looks and poise.  He even won some ribbons and metals, and now he has letters after his name like some of my other friends.   He won both the National and International Puppy title along with Best Labrador Puppy, and he came third in the Best Sporting Puppy.  In his first show ever.  We were so proud of him!  (Of course he has always been the Best Labrador Puppy as far as we're concerned.)

Hero with his new medals, looking very solemn

Hero’s mom and dad (especially his mom) have spent lots and lots of time with Hero, teaching him things and bringing him up to be a model canine citizen -- and it shows.  We admire Hero and his mom very much and wish that every puppy parent was half that devoted to training their pup to be a delightful companion.  Hero's mom recently shared a photo on Facebook of a bunch of very well-behaved pit bull-looking dogs posing for a camera with the caption "Good Dogs start with Good Owners".  This so true, and Hero and his parents are prime examples.    

Hero and his mom are always taking other pups along on their hikes, which we think is extremely nice of them.  They take Willow hiking with them when Willow's parents are out of town, and I know Willow appreciates it.  She has so much border collie energy, she needs to hike A LOT, and her grandparents can't take her hiking.  A whole lot of doggies are gonna' miss Hero and his mom.

Me and Hero -- and Ozzy pretending he doesn't know us

And I too will miss my pal Hero.  Hikes will not be the same without his fun, silly, exuberant labness.  My mom is gonna' miss Hero's mom terribly.  We're secretly hoping that someday they will be able to move back to the U.S.  (Meanwhile, we’ve got a spare bedroom and an extra dog bed, so we are hoping they visit!)