We wish that Bert Parks was here to croon to the newly crowned winner of our first-ever pet photo contest. But we’ll just have to do the honors ourselves. Meet Emmett, an impish, one-year-old Jack Russell Terrier from Fishkill who captured our hearts with his playful poses. As cute as Emmett is, it wasn’t easy to choose a winner. We received more than 100 submissions from every corner of the Valley — dogs, cats, rabbits, horses — even a sheep from Rhinebeck who, according to his owner, loves a good cheek massage.
Emmett’s “mom” Lori Silvestri assures us that her little guy is just as charming in real life as he is in front of the camera. “Emmett often goes to bed before anyone else,” she says. “We will hear him climb the stairs and hop on our bed and that will be it for the night! He also sleeps completely under the covers all night, even in the summer.”
Emmett loves to swim in the pond in his yard. “He is quite comical as he happily slaps and tries to eat the water,” says Silvestri. “He’s still not quite sure what water is. It’s funny, though, he doesn’t like baths.”
But Emmett is not the only pet in the house. In fact, he is quite inseparable from his “brother” Brody, a five-year-old black lab. “From the moment we brought Emmett home, Brody has been a gentle giant of a big brother: sweet, calm, playful — an ‘I’ll show you the ropes, kid,’ kind of dog. It’s wonderful to see. They even chew on the same bone sometimes.”
Emmett can even be quite the practical joker at times. Silvestri recalls when her husband took Emmett with him on a day trip to Lake George. “On the way, in the middle of nowhere on the New York State Thruway, my husband had to stop on the side of the road. He left the car running as he would just be a minute, and when he went back to the car, he found that Emmett had locked him out! His cell phone and jacket were in the car, too. What to do? Emmett was up on the door with his front paws as if to say, ‘What are you doing out there? Come back in!’ Well, after coaxing Emmett for a good 15 minutes, my husband finally got him to step on the lock to unlock the door and away they went. Lesson learned!”
In summing up, Silvestri describes the one-of-a-kind love that many people feel for their pets. “Emmett is a very sweet, energetic, comical, smart, cute-as-a-button dog whom we love dearly. We cannot imagine our life without our Emmett.”
Below, find more images of Emmett from his exclusive photo shoot (and Silvestri’s home photos that won our hearts), plus our favorite honorable mentions from the photo contest.