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Who let the dogs (and cats) out?

These days, we all could use a little fun and something to celebrate, especially after this past year. We are excited to announce the Durango Chamber of Commerce is bringing back its Coolest Dog contest.

This year, we’ve added another “cat”-egory (see what I did there) for all the feline lovers! On Thursday, June 24th, the Chamber is kicking off Durango’s Top Dog and Coolest Cat competition. Start looking through your photo albums for your favorite picture of your dog or cat and get ready to enter.

Entering the contest is easy. Simply go to www.DurangoBusiness.org and click on the contest link. Each entry is only $10 and then it’s only one dollar per vote. Proceeds benefit nonprofits. Last year, “Buddy” took the title of “Coolest Dog in Durango” and the Chamber donated more than $8,200 to the La Plata County Humane Society.

This year, our partner is Parker Animal Rescue (formerly Lisa Parker’s Puppies) and our goal is to surpass last year’s contribution amount. But wait ... there’s more. The top three dogs and top three cats will each be featured on the Steamworks Colorado Kolsch beer label, named after the Top Dog and Coolest Cat. Plus, the top three winners receive generous gift cards from the Pet Haus, a local staple and named the Chamber’s 2018 Small Business of the Year, and professional photography sessions by Allison Ragsdale Photography.

This could not happen without the immense support of our sponsors. A huge thank you to Alpine Bank, Steamworks Brewing, Four Corners Broadcasting, Allison Ragsdale Photography, Pet Haus, The Durango Herald and Marketing Concepts Squared. All contestants receive a free pet travel bowl from Alpine Bank and the coveted bragging rights if they receive the most votes.

Be sure to enter your beloved four-legged friend and invite your friends, neighbors and relatives to vote and cheer on your favorite fur-friend starting on Thursday. Remember to vote early and vote often (seriously, you can vote multiple times – it’s actually encouraged). And don’t forget that Friday is National Bring Your Pet to Work Day! Experts say that dogs in the workplace provide valuable social support for employees and additional opportunities for positive interactions between co-workers. Just be sure to check with your supervisor before bringing Fido to work.

In addition to our Top Dog and Coolest Cat contest, the Chamber hosts monthly programs and workshops. Upcoming programs include Tuesday Talk from 8 to 9 a.m. July 5, Business After Hours on July 15 hosted by Morehart Murphy Subaru in Three Springs, and Lunch and Learn on July 28. We’ll also feature workshops for employers on how to save time and find the best applicants. Other program topics include upgrading your LinkedIn account, and using best practices for getting noticed in the job market.

As always, the Durango Chamber is here to help and support the community. And remember, kindness is contagious; make a difference in someone’s life.

Jack Llewellyn is executive director of the Durango Chamber of Commerce. Contact him at jack@durangobusiness.org.