black-dog Submissions are now open for PEOPLE’s second annual World’s Cutest Rescue Dog contest, presented by the PEDIGREE® brand. Beginning today through Sunday, June 30, rescue dog owners (18 years and older) may submit photos with back stories of their furry friends, telling PEOPLE how their lives have changed for the better since adopting their pets. Contest entries may be submitted online now at:

The public will be invited to vote for their favorite rescue dog on once PEOPLE’s editorial staff reviews the submissions and announces the Top 10 in its July 29 issue (on newsstands nationwide Friday, July 19).  A panel of judges including New York Times best-selling author Katherine Schwarzenegger; one-half of the Grammy Award-winning duo Dan + Shay, Dan Smyers; PEOPLE Pets Editor Kelli Bender; and PEDIGREE Foundation Executive Director Debra Fair will choose the grand prize winner, who will be announced in the September 23 issue (on newsstands nationwide Friday, September 13).

The World’s Cutest Rescue Dog contest winner will receive a one-year supply of PEDIGREE dog food, a $1,000 donation to the pet rescue organization of their choice, a custom PEOPLE photo shoot, and a feature story in PEOPLE and on

Schwarzenegger and Smyers have a deep love for rescue dogs and are rescue dog owners themselves. Schwarzenegger recently published her book, “Maverick and Me,” which teaches children the importance of animal rescue.  She partnered with the PEDIGREE brand to support pet adoption through the brand’s Every Pup’s Superpower campaign, which highlights the super powers in all dogs. As part of the program, Schwarzenegger hosts a podcast called “The Dog That Changed Me™,” where she talks with friends about dog rescue and the impact their pets have made on their lives.  In addition, Smyers has worked with Proverbs 12:10 Animal Rescue in Nashville, Tennessee.

“PEOPLE received more than 10,000 submissions to our World’s Cutest Rescue Dog contest last year, demonstrating how truly invested our readers and staff are in this contest,” says Cynthia Sanz, PEOPLE Executive Editor. “We love honoring these precious rescue dogs and we are excited to be celebrating another year!”

“We’re thrilled to see the positive impact pet adoption has on so many people’s lives through the touching personal stories from the contest submissions,” said Debra Fair, Executive Director, PEDIGREE Foundation. “We believe every dog deserves a loving forever home, and this contest is a great way to spread awareness for pet adoption and shine a light on our furry friends.”

PEOPLE’s inaugural World’s Cutest Rescue Dog contest winner, Penny, is a one-eyed golden retriever who was saved from an abusive past on the streets of Turkey by her adoptive family in Silver Spring, Maryland. Read Penny’s story here:

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