Hello all,

For quite a while, I’ve wanted to start a friendly contest for those who write pet-related literature and call it the “Petlitzer Prize” (kind of an all-companion-animal-focused Pulitzer Prize). I was recently a reader at the Dog Days of Stockholm in Stockholm, Wisconsin, and was very impressed by several of the pieces read by other authors there. In fact, I asked the evening’s emcee, Peter Hautman, to allow me to reproduce his charming poem “A Note from the Dog,” to get things started (posted below). For this first round, I will have entries be strictly pet-related poetry, but in the future, other forms of fiction and nonfiction will be the categories in turn—such as short stories, news articles, blogs, children’s lit, humor, bumper stickers phrases, etc.

Here are some basic ground rules for Petlitzer Prize entries in any or all categories:

1. You must be the author of the piece. Plagiarism is an absolute no no!

2. Entries should not have been previously published in book form (on your own blog is fine) as of the date you submitted it. Meaning that if you get it snatched up by Random House the week after you send it to me, you’re still qualified for this prestigious contest—and congratulations! 🙂

3. For Round 1, I must receive your entry by October 15, 2010. A winner will be chosen and posted by no later than Halloween. (In the future, there may be readers’ choice contests wherein readers may vote for their favorite pieces. For this first round, however, I will be the sole judge.)

4. Please be sure to have a second pair of eyes proofread your entries well. Grievous typos/grammar gaffs will most likely disqualify you.

5. You may only enter one piece in any given round, but you may enter a different single piece in every subsequent category throughout the year. New categories will be posted shortly after the after the deadline is reached.

6. Winners (First, Second and/or Honorable Mention, depending on the number and quality of submissions) will receive a certificate of achievement for their efforts and have their work posted on my blog, Facebook fan page, Twitter, etc. If you have a website, please be sure to submit your URL to be directly linked from my blog in case you win.

7. Winners may also have their works (or excerpts from them) read live on Dr. Robert Forto’s very popular Blog Talk Radio show “The Dog Doctor.” (Air dates will be announced in advance.)

8. No pornography whatsoever will be allowed. Nor will pieces depicting gratuitous violence toward animals (except for the purpose of decrying such acts or as truly salient parts of a story’s plot). I have the final say as to whether entries will be accepted. People of all ages and walks of life may be seeing or hearing these, so the work must be acceptable for a general audience.

9. Send your submission in a Word doc or pasted directly into an email with Petlitzer Prize Entry in the subject line, along with your full name, email address, mailing address, phone number, and a short (sentence or two) bio about yourself if you wish, to me at <goodgriefpetloss@gmail.com>. None of your contact information will be shared without your express permission. They’re only so I can notify you of who won the contest and/or to mail you your certificate.

Guidelines for Round 1—Pet-related Poetry:

You may submit any form of poem (rhyming, free verse, limerick, haiku, etc.) as long as it pertains to companion animals and/or the human-animal bond. Poems may be of humorous or serious nature. Please keep length to no more than two pages.

Tell all your animal-loving friends about this contest. I want to be flooded with wonderful submissions!—Sid

Here’s the inaugural Petlizer Prize submission:

A Note From the Dog

When the freezer died
And the meat had to be eaten quickly
I was happy.

When you lost your job
And stayed home all day
I was overjoyed.

When you had your cardiac event
And the doctor told you to go for a walk every single day
I was ecstatic.

How would you live without me?

– Pete Hautman