This year, we called on Missouri Life readers to choose their favorite entries in our first-ever pet photo contest. Although it was a tough job to pick from so many adorable critters, our voters rose to the challenge and sent four entries to the top. Meet the animals that won the hearts of our readers.

Photo Credit: Vicki Schlupp

The Winners’ Circle


Owner Vicki Schlup of St. Charles describes her Havenese dog, Opie, as high-energy and loyal. Vicki recalls Opie’s adoption day when his breeder predicted he would become very attached to his new owner.

“Little did I know how true that statement would be. Opie follows me wherever I go in the house,” Vicki says. But, there is one exception. “If it’s bath time, he hides under the bed as if I can’t find him. He has his quirks, but coming home and seeing that dog’s smile and wagging tail is worth it all.”

Photo Credit: Stephanie Goddard

The ‘White Horse’ Herd

Stephanie Goddard of Gordonville is the owner of this beautiful bunch. Each of Stephanie’s horses charms her with its unique personality. From left, Happy is a two-year-old mini horse who is silly, inquisitive, loving, and the head of the welcoming party. Mae is a two-year-old Quarter Horse who is kind, observant, smart, and easy-to-train. Jane, a sixteen-year-old Quarter Horse rescue is cautious but learning to trust again. Seven-year-old Quarter Horse Nicki can be bossy, but she’s a good mother to Mae and serves as a therapy horse for the disabled. Thug, the six-year-old mini horse, lives up to his name when it comes to other horses, but he’s a sweet and gentle therapy horse who especially enjoys visiting nursing homes.

Photo Credit: Lisa Plymell


This blue-eyed Gladstone beauty had the Plymell family wrapped around her fuzzy paws from the moment they spotted her at a pet store. According to Lisa Plymell, KitzLeigh loves to sunbathe and to watch birds flutter around the outdoor feeders. “She runs around from window to window protecting her territory from the neighborhood cats,” Lisa says. “And she loves her blue furry play ball and eating wet snack sticks for treats.”

Photo Credit: Vinnie Clubb


It was love at first sight for the Clubb family of Piedmont when they came upon a four-week-old bottle calf at a small animal auction in Farmington. Caspian was still a baby when his photo was taken, but now the White Park mix is a thriving one-year-old and still a beloved member of the family’s herd. Vinnie Clubb describes Caspian as super sweet and independent, yet somewhat of a loner when it comes to the rest of the herd. “He loves his head and neck scratched and is addicted to his treats!”

Article originally published in the October 2023 issue of Missouri Life.