The “Swamp Monster” Photo Challenge in Memory of Jay Kitchener

Some said they heard it just before they felt it, an unearthly sound of breathing that made every hair stand on end. A recording of the sound survives, a brief audio clip taken on a cell phone found floating on strands of filamentous algae.  The phone’s owner was never found.

A labored breath that seems to emanate from the depths of the swamp itself:


Darkness owns a swamp. Deformed, gnarled trees groaning under the weight of moss block out the day, twisted branches reaching out like bony fingers. The air is thick with the stench of decay, a blend of rotting plants and stagnant water so dark, its impossible to tell what lies beneath it, or worse, gives no warning of what may slink out of its inky depths. Though everything that should be alive seems dead in this place, this morass feels alive with a malevolent presence that threatens to consume any who linger too long. Such places do not give up their dead. 

Are you in the mood, yet?

Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, National Purebred Dog Day is delighted to reprise the highly popular “Swamp Creature” Challenge, and in what seems a perfect pairing to everyone who knew him, we are able to offer this contest in the memory of Jay Kitchener, a tireless advocate for purebred dog ownership and ethical breeding. “Ditch the guilt” and “Tale back the conversation” were “Jay-isms” he coined to to encourage all of us to push back against inaccurate and unfair portrayals of the purebred dog world, but Jay was especially notorious for his wicked sense of humor, and he would love this contest.

The challenge:  A swamp has a unique beauty, but beware. It may seem still and silent, but very much alive is the sensation that something is out there, something in the darkness that is watching and waiting to pull you into a murky abyss.  Your challenge is to unsettle our judges. Make them recoil in fear (or laugh doing it) with an entry that should capture a real swamp creature: Unearthly. Disturbing. And very hard to describe.

The prize: $100 Visa Cash Card

The Sponsor: A very generous donor who wishes to stay anonymous

The Dreaded Small Print You Must Read To Enter

•••• This contest happens on May 1 on our Facebook page. It is open to US residents;

•••• One entry per person; You may enter four different photo challenges. If you enter this one, you may enter three more;

••••  When submitting your photo entry on Facebook, you must indicate the name of this contest, “Swamp Monster” Photo Challenge;

•••• Your entry must be for the 2024 contest. Photos submitted from previous years’ contests will be disqualified, and yes, we remember photos from one year to the next;

•••• Within the photo, your image must include a purebred dog and one of the following either downloaded from the link or handmade:

The “IPurebred Dogs” sign

The “Happy National Purebred Dg Day” sign 

The “I Lve My Purebred Dog” sign 

Any official National Purebred Dog Day item available here. 

•••• No photoshopping, and that includes the required sign. Be creative with how you use it, but our judges, David Frei,  co-host of NBC’s National Dog Show, and veteran Westminster Kennel Club photographer, Jack Grassa, must see what you actually shot with your camera;

•••• Many people may help you take your photo, but the prize goes to the person submitting the winning photograph;

•••• Entering this contest implies consent that your photo may be shared on NPDD’s social media platforms;

••• A full explanation of how, when, and where to submit your entry can be read here;  

•••• Important! You and your dog should have safe fun when composing your entry!

•••• Judges’ decisions are final


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