By Kathleen Swift

The 13th Annual Cutest Pet Contest has once again brought out the cutest pets in the Four States. Pets of all kinds bring us such love and comfort and are integral parts of our families. Proceeds from the contest entry fees go to support the work of the Joplin Humane Society and Faithful Friends in Neosho, who help cats and dogs find their forever homes. Thank you to Posh Dog Boutique for providing a gift basket worth $100 for our first-place winner, and thank you to our judges and to all of our entrants for sharing your precious pet photos with us.

1st Place

DOG (Dee Oh Gee) Blue – DOG Blue is an adorable mini-Australian shepherd puppy who makes his home with Tammie and Jim Felker. This spoiled pup has the run of the house and loves to wear bandanas and bow ties from Posh Dogs Boutique. He might not know it yet, but DOG Blue will have a part in helping veterans. Tammie and Jim plan to use him for breeding, and half of his puppies will be donated to veterans as service animals. For now, DOG Blue is learning to speak and sit and loves playing fetch endlessly. He’s loving life in the Felker family.

2nd Place

This elegant cat is Bar O Maine Coon Ruger Dale Battlecat. Ruger is a 17-month-old Maine Coon that weighs in at 20 pounds. While he is a large cat in size, his personality is so much bigger. Ruger enjoys his days chattering with his sister, Pixie Anna Rose, snuggling his humans, Paula and Alex Walter, and birdwatching from the catio. You can find him on Instagram @ RugerDale_Battlcat.

3rd Place

Three-month-old Creed is a silver Weimaraner that lives with Brian Price. Creed is highly intelligent and loves to play with his toy hedgehog and toy duck. Brian tells us that though the breed has a reputation for being active, Creed is very calm and chill. He also loves to snuggle and cuddle, and he loves playing with the other dogs in the family.

Facebook Fan Favorite

Meet Lucy, a year-and-a-half-old Dalmatian with a lot of energy and love. Lucy goes jogging every morning with her people, Jill and Bryson Dabney. She loves to mug for the camera, and she enjoys playing tug-of-war. Every morning, Lucy and her people snuggle before sharing a cucumber with breakfast. Lucy plays in the backyard with her doggie friend and loves going to the park. She is recently getting into agility training.