By Greg Ellison
(Oct. 3, 2019) Let your canine take a shot at fame, if not fortune, during the fifth annual “Pup of the Pines,” contest to support the Ocean Pines Dog Park.
Katelynne Hunt with Ocean Pines Recreation and Parks said the entry deadline is Oct. 20, with voting taking place during November before a winner is crowned at the
event on Nov. 30.
“We know people around here love to show off their dogs,” she said.
Hunt said the dog-centric contest was launched to highlight the outdoor canine facility a couple years after it opened.
“We started thinking, we have a dog park over there and we’re doing nothing to advertise it,” she said. “It just kind of got built and we did nothing with it.”
Entries have been solicited since Aug. 14, with the two-month window closing in just over two weeks.
“All we need is a picture and a little write-up of why you think your dog should be, “Pup of the Pines,’” she said. “The winner at the end gets a year free into the dog park, so that’s always a bonus.”
Voting for the next Ocean Pines canine ambassador begins during the Halloween celebration on Oct. 26.
“We post the dogs up and then people can vote there,” she said. “Last year we just started doing the online voting, so we hope to be able to do that again.”
The canine candidate pool peaked during the first year of the event, with roughly three-dozen pups vying for the top spot.
“The first year was actually a really good number,” she said. “It’s gone down a little bit [but] we still have about 20 people signed up.”
Hunt said additional dog owners interested in having their pooches take a turn in the spotlight are still being sought.
“Everyone gets discouraged after they lost,” she said. “Twenty dogs are still a lot considering it’s our fifth year.”
The somewhat limited selection pool makes for an intimate contest, Hunt said.
“There’s a nice small humble group, so you get a good time to look at all of them,” she said.
In addition to no-cost dog park entrance for the next year, Hunt said the eventual winner would also become a “local pup celebrity,” serving as the bewhiskered face of the Ocean Pines Dog Park.
“They’ll be in our activity guides [and] they’ll be on the e-blast,” she said. “Anytime we reference anything dog park, their picture will be the [one] that goes along with it.”
Voting begins at the Halloween celebration and will run until a week before the Hometown Christmas on Nov. 30.
“We invite all of the dogs and all our ‘ruffer-ups,’ to be there and that’s when we present the actual winner,” she said.
With a wealth of activities and special events for parents and children in Ocean Pines, Hunt said the “Pup of the Pines,” contest caters to “other,” parents.
“Not everyone here has kids and sometimes their dogs are their kids,” she said. “It’s a nice way to reach out to one more set of people.”
For more information contact Ocean Pines Recreation and Parks at 410-641-7052. Contest applications are available online at oceanpines.org/forms-docs/2019-pup-of-the-pines-photo-contest/