Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Contest Seeks Art, Writing about Human-Animal Bonds

As part of its annual "One Heart, Four Paws" Valentine's Day celebration of the connections among humans and animals, Central Iowa non-profit Paws & Effect is conducting its first-ever writing contest for youth, adult, and military writers. Deadline is Jan. 5, 2015.

Established in 2006, the Des Moines, Iowa-based non-profit is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that raises, trains, and places service dogs with military veterans and children diagnosed with medical needs. The organization also trains therapy animals and hosts dog-agility events.

Editors are seeking previously unpublished flash-fiction, non-fiction, and poetry on the theme of human-animal connections.

Winners selected in each of the following categories:
  • Youth (Ages 6-12)
  • Open—Fiction, Non-fiction, and Poetry
  • Military service member/veteran—Fiction, Non-fiction, and Poetry
Winners in each category/subcategory will receive:
  • Recognition at the Feb. 13, 2015 "One Heart, Four Paws" gala event.
  • A monetary award of $100.
  • Publication of their work(s) in a commemorative broadsheet, chapbook, or other physical object, to be distributed at the event.
All submitted works will also be considered for inclusion in a commemorative anthology, to be published later in 2015.

There is no submission fee for the Youth category. Youth submissions should be made via postal mail, using this downloadable form, or on-line here at All hardcopy entries become the property of Paws & Effect and will not be returned. Send entries to:
"One Heart, Four Paws" Youth Contest
c/o Middle West Press
P.O. Box 31099
Johnston, Iowa 50131-9428
Guidelines for Open and Military/Veteran categories include:
  • Limit one submission in each category per person.
  • Poetry: up to 3 poems (5 pages maximum).
  • All prose (including fiction, non-fiction, essay, and memoir): 750-word limit.
  • Submissions exceeding the limits will be disqualified.
  • Include a biography of 75 words or less with each submission. Past and present members of all branches, services, and nationalities may submit to the Military/Veteran category.
  • Winners and contributors will be notified by Feb. 1, 2015.
  • This project acquires first North American and anthology rights.
  • Judges' decisions are final. Judges also reserve the rights to make additional awards in each category/subcategory, and to decline making awards within one or more categories/subcategories.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Top 2014 'Hero Dog' Susie Wins $5K for Paws & Effect

PHOTO: American Human Association
A pit-bull mix named Susie won the top "Hero Dog" award at this year's American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards. As Suzie's designated charity partner, Paws & Effect will receive a $5,000 award based on her win and participation.

Established in 2006, the Des Moines, Iowa-based organization is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that raises, trains, and places service dogs with military veterans and children diagnosed with medical needs. Paws & Effect also hosts Pet Partner training courses and evaluations, supporting therapy teams throughout the state of Iowa. Paws & Effect is widely known for its dog agility programs, where children may complete their physical, occupational, and speech therapy while taking a therapy dog through an agility course.

Susie, who lives in High Point, N.C. was the finalist in the Therapy Dog category. The ceremony will be broadcast nationally on the Hallmark Channel, Oct. 30, 7 p.m. Central Time. More than 130 dogs were nominated in this year's contest, and 1.5 million on-line votes were cast by the public. Suzie was selected from a pool of eight finalists. Other categories include arson, law enforcement, and guide and hearing dogs.

Susie's life story is a dramatic one, involving animal abuse, rescue, adoption, healing, and more. A short summary on the American Humane Association website reads:
Susie was only a puppy when her owner beat her savagely and set her on fire, leaving her for dead in a local park in Greensboro, North Carolina. After being rescued by a local animal shelter and nursed back to health, she was adopted by Donna Lawrence, who had been the victim of a terrible dog attack that nearly killed her and left her without the ability to have children. 
Together, they helped each other heal from their physical and emotional wounds, triumphing over pain and fear to become voices for abused animals and helping pass "Susie’s Law" in North Carolina, which calls for harsher penalties for convicted animal abusers. Susie became the subject of the movie, "Susie’s Hope," and working side by side, Donna and Susie continue to make the world a better place for others by visiting hospitals, schools, and nursing homes to inspire people never to give up.
In another Iowa connection, Chaney, an 8-year-old Labrador and retired Military Working Dog now living in Waverly, Iowa, was the finalist in the Military Dog category. Along with his handler, Chaney often volunteers with Retrieving Freedom, Inc. By participating in the Hero Dogs program and becoming a finalist, Chaney won $1,500 for the America's VetDogs of Smithtown, N.Y.