The World's Cutest Rescue Dog Contest Is Searching for its Next Adorable Canine Star

·2 min read
Worlds cutest dog
Worlds cutest dog

Cynthia Lynn

PEOPLE's World's Cutest Rescue Dog Contest Presented the PEDIGREE® brand is back for its fifth year and is celebrating by passing on the "Cutest" crown to another adopted pooch.

Rescue dogs of all shapes, sizes, and ages are invited and encouraged to enter the 2022 contest for a chance to win exciting prizes — for the winning pup and their shelter! To enter your adopted canine, upload a photo of your pet to People.com/rescuedogcontest, and tell us how saving a dog has changed your life — and theirs. Don't forget to recognize the shelter or rescue that helped match you with your canine companion in your submission. If your dog wins, their rescue wins too! Submissions are open from June 29 — August 10.

For more on PEOPLE's World's Cutest Rescue Dog Contest, listen below to our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day.

Once submissions close, our editors will select 10 furry finalists. Readers will vote to narrow this list of 10 to a top 3. The grand prize winner will be chosen by the contest's panel of judges: The Talk hosts (and rescue dog owners) Akbar Gbajabiamila, Natalie Morales, and Jerry O'Connell, PEOPLE Pets editor Kelli Bender, and PEDIGREE Foundation ambassador Evan Satinoff.

RELATED: Enter Your Shelter Dog in the 2022 World's Cutest Rescue Dog Contest

This year's grand prize winner of the World's Cutest Rescue Dog Contest will receive:

  • A custom photoshoot

  • A feature in PEOPLE Magazine and on People.com

  • A year's supply of dog food from the PEDIGREE® brand

  • A $1,000 donation to the animal rescue organization of the winner's choice

Last year's winner, Heaven — who's part chow chow, Labrador, boxer, and Pekingese — triumphed over more than 10,000 other adorable rescues. Before her big win in 2021, Heaven was a stray in Kentucky who was rescued and transported from an overcrowded shelter to the Starfish Animal Rescue, where she met her owner Jackie Rakers.

worlds cutest rescue dog finalists
worlds cutest rescue dog finalists

jaclyn rakers

Initially afraid of "everything" — especially men and the outdoors — Heaven displayed "intense" anxiety when she and Rakers first met, the owner told PEOPLE. After adopting the dog, Rakers helped Heaven comfortably overcome her fears but taking the canine to parks and dog-friendly businesses. Gradually, Heaven became more outgoing and is now a beloved "social butterfly" in her St. Charles, Illinois, hometown. The pooch also brings smiles to her over 15,000 Instagram followers (@heaven_is_a_dog) each day.

RELATED: Heaven the Smiling Shelter Pup Overcomes Her Fears and Is Crowned the 2021 World's Cutest Rescue Dog

To give your adopted dog the chance to join past champions like Heaven and Lamb Chop in the World's Cutest Rescue Dog Contest winners' circle, enter your pooch now at People.com/rescuedogcontest.

The 2022 winner of PEOPLE's World's Cutest Rescue Dog Contest Presented by the PEDIGREE® brand will be revealed in October.