Editor’s note: After eyeballing more than 400 submissions to Mountain Gazette’s 4th Annual Dog Photo Contest over the course of six weeks, I made a stern vow, one that pretty much mirrors the vow I made this time last year: “NEVER AGAIN!!!” It’s just too difficult to try to pick a relative handful of shots from the mountain of wonderful material our loyal, faithful readers send us. I say this every year: We want to print every single dog shot that comes our way. But, alas, we can’t even scratch the surface. We go back and forth, sluice-boxing the photos into various sub-files, then moving them into other sub-files, until we totally lose control of whatever semblance of organization we were aiming for. Then we start over. Then we say the hell with it and pop a beer. (There are, of course, worse jobs!) Like 2010, we ended up changing the rules midstream. Last year, after asking readers to send in shots in very specific categories, we ended up dunking those categories and making up a whole new set on the fly, categories that fit the photos rather than vice-versa. Thus, we ended up with categories like “tongues” and “sticks.” This year, we opted to dunk the whole notion of categories and simply pick a variety of photos that covered a wide stylistic spectrum: scenics, portraits, action and dogs having wild sex. (I just made that last one up.) Understanding all that, we still pulled some sorta categories our of our asses so we could give out some prizes. Winners have a “Best In” logo above them, with prizes won listed under the winning photos. Unlike last year, when the judging onus fell entirely to me, I asked our art director, Keith Svihovec, to help pick the final selections. And, like last year, we ask those whose photos did not make it into print to understand that such exclusions were unavoidable. We’ll try to get as many of the submissions on our website as possible. Thanks to Granite Gear for sponsoring Mountain Gazette’s 4th Annual Dog Photo Contest, and thanks a million times over to everyone who took the time to share their images of man’s best friend with us. Though, as I said earlier, it’s mentally taxing, every time a new dog photo con-test submission enters my inbox, it brightens the day of both me and my spouse. Editorially, it’s the highlight of the year. We hope you enjoy eyeballing these photos as much as we did. — MJF
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