Thursday, July 29, 2010

Man's Best Friend Design contest

By Jennifer Bush, HSSV Volunteer

What images come to mind when you think of your pet? What makes our connection to our pets so strong? Earlier this month, Humane Society Silicon Valley (HSSV) sponsored a t-shirt design contest with these questions in mind. The theme of the contest, “Man’s Best Friend,” was intended to inspire artists to create a design that embodied the spirit of HSSV. The contest was led by Robin Poncy, manager of HSSV’s pet store, in partnership with, a community based t-shirt company with “a passion for doing good.”

Robin hoped to find a t-shirt design that would appeal to everybody, whether man or woman, young or old. She needed a cutting edge design that she could sell in the pet store at HSSV, called Whole Pets, as well as around the community. It would also become the official t-shirt for fundraising and marketing activities. The winning design would need to have broad appeal and fit HSSV’s mission of enhancing the human-animal bond.

Out of 25 designs submitted, Robin picked one titled “Our Very Own Island” as the winner. Simple and sweet, it features a boy and his cat napping comfortably on a private island. The winner, who goes by “kingmilk,” said the design is about “owning your very own island and sharing it with somebody you love.” The inspiration came from a cat that once wandered the neighborhood. The cat was always very friendly, but one day stopped showing up. Kingmilk, who designs as a hobby, has wondered about that cat for years. Robin Poncy loved that the design showed the best of what animals bring to our lives. Though alone on the island, the two are “in harmony and at peace with each other.”

On a personal note, this design really spoke to me. When I was pregnant with my first child, I was on bed rest for a few weeks. I would take naps on the couch and, although my dog, Berkeley, wasn’t usually allowed on the couch, I made an exception. I’d fall asleep, and she would curl up in the crook of my bent knee. Though these days she’d need an island big enough for a good game of fetch, “Our Very Own Island” reminds me of those blissful naps with my first “baby.”

How does the winning design speak to you? What is your favorite place to escape with your pet? Post your comments below!

The shirt will be available for pre-order at this Sunday’s Music and Wine event, for a discounted price of $15. Shirts with the new design will be available in the Whole Pets store later this summer.

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