If you’re like every other pet lover in the world, you are probably convinced that your shelter pet is the cutest, snuggliest, most gosh-darn adorable pet to walk on four paws. And, of course, you’re right.

But since we here at HSSP know that there’s not a pet owner out there that would pass up the opportunity to share a picture of their favorite shelter pup or rescue kitty, we’ve devised a fun, fabulous way for you to show off your shelter sweetheart while competing to win money for your favorite local shelter or rescue: the first EVER Humane Society for Shelter Pets Shelter Sweethearts Photo Contest!

Owners of rescue dogs or cats, or shelters with adoptable pets in need of “forever homes” can submit their pet’s most adorable glamor shot from September 5, 2012 to October 31, 2012 on our contest website. The owner of the pet whose photograph earns the best score will get to designate a gift of … are you ready for this? … $5,000 in his or her name to a local shelter or rescue group of choice, and five first-prize winners will get to designate a gift of $1,000 to do the same! That’s big bucks for showing off your playful pups and cuddly kitties!

We all know that local shelters and rescues need our help to continue their work saving the lives of healthy, adoptable dogs and cats just like the ones we all own and love (and take way too many photos of). We can volunteer, we can donate, and we can help spread the word about how giving locally makes the biggest difference in helping homeless pets find forever homes. And now, through the Shelter Sweetheart Photo Contest, we can also help raise both money and awareness for local shelters by simply submitting a photo or casting a vote for our favorite canine or feline model!

So what are you waiting for? Visit our Photo Contest Homepage for a complete listing of prizes and rules, and then start uploading! We can’t wait to see all the adorable, hilarious, feisty, and disgustingly cute pictures of your shelter sweethearts, and your local shelter can’t wait to see if they’re the lucky recipient of your winning entries!

Good luck to everyone, and happy posting!