Massachusetts’ own Ollie Baran is a finalist in People magazine’s World’s Cutest Rescue Dog Contest. The 6-month-old Siberian husky mix has the opportunity to win $1,000 toward the pet rescue organization of “his” choice, a year’s supply of dog food from Pedigree, a custom photo shoot, and a feature in People.
Ollie is joined by nine other certifiably adorable dogs, all finalists chosen by editors at People. Voting for the public opened Thursday on People’s website and continues through the end of August, which will narrow the competition to three dogs for judges LeAnn Rimes, Olivia Munn, Melodie Bolin, and Kelli Bender. The winner will be revealed in October on Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb’s segment of NBC’s “Today” show.
Ollie’s owner, proud mom Alecia Baran, said that if Ollie wins, the $1,000 will go toward the Husky House in New Jersey, from where she adopted Ollie, and the year’s supply of dog food will be donated to the Massachusetts ASPCA-Angell Adoption Center.
“He’s like a bundle of joy, really a goofball,” Baran, an athletic trainer at Lesley University in Cambridge, told the Globe. “I couldn’t ask for a better dog. Part of what makes him so cute is his personality. I’m so happy, and my other dogs love him so much.”
Ollie’s siblings, Bailey and Indi, are both a bit older, so Ollie heads to day care to work off some of his energy at Dogs for Days in Malden.
“He’s just absolutely a cutie,” Dogs for Days co-owner Michelle Govatsos told the Globe. “So we wanted all of Boston to get behind Ollie, because obviously it’s such a great cause. Not even just for Ollie, but for dogs in general.”
“Honestly, he’s the most playful dog at our day care,” co-owner Nick Govatsos said. “He walks in, he comes in at like 7 in the morning, and he just plays. We put him with all of his best friends, basically everybody. Ollie is everyone’s best friend, and we just get him to play as much as humanly possible.”
The Govatsoses, who are currently fostering their second dog together, both advocate for dog rescues, as does Baran.
“The most important thing is, when you adopt a dog from a rescue or a shelter, you’re essentially saving two dogs,” Baran said, before explaining that rescuing a dog from a shelter means there’s new space and funds for another dog to be taken care of.
“There are so many beautiful rescue dogs — whether they’re old, young, disabled — that need someone to love them and if you have the ability to do that please think about it.”Lillian Brown can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @lilliangbrown.