Animal shelter to host Tomato Pooch Virtual Pageant

By Laurie Williams, Copiah Animal Shelter Volunteer

As most of you know, Copiah Animal Shelter’s biggest fundraiser of the year, Gala 2020, had to be canceled for COVID-19 virus restrictions. If you would have attended our Gala, bought a table, or donated/purchased a silent auction item, then we ask you to consider visiting and make a donation to the shelter in that amount or more, or mail in donations to PO Box 366, Crystal Springs, MS 39059, all from the safety and comfort of your home.

As we sat here, in this oppressive heat muddling over our unfortunate financial state in this current virus situation, we found little to get excited about. Flights to tropical destinations have been canceled, masks are required everywhere, and weddings postponed until who knows when. Shelter volunteers decided we needed something fun, something to bring some smiles and happiness and generate income for our animals. So, the idea of the Tomato Pooch Virtual Pageant was born.

In 2020, the shelter is introducing the first ever Tomato Pooch Virtual Pageant. (Dogs only. Sorry, cats. We know the contest says CATegories, and we love you, but walking a cat on a leash in a parade could spell CATastrophe.)
The winning dog will be showcased on the shelter’s Instagram and Facebook pages, have their picture in the local papers, walk/ride in the Christmas parade, and will be invited to all ribbon cuttings and official Crystal Springs city events.

Contestants will submit their pictures via email to [email protected] in the hopes of winning each weekly category. The entry fee for contestants is a one-time $25 donation for each dog. Dogs may enter as many categories as they like. Registration starts now.
Weekly category winners are determined by the dog with the most likes on the shelter’s social media pages: and

The overall winner garnering the 2020 Tomato Pooch title is the dog who receives the most likes for all the categories for the entire contest.
Categories include

  • August 3-8, Mr./Miss Congeniality: Picture/video showing your pet being nice to the mailman or to a hamster friend, cat, bunny, etc. Please no videos longer than 20 seconds.
  • Aug. 10-15, Mr./Miss Beach Body: Show off your pet in their most alluring swimsuit.
  • Aug. 17-22, Mr./Miss Parks and Rec: These pics would have our beautiful Chautauqua Park as its backdrop.
  • Aug. 24-29, Mr./Miss Chamber of Commerce: These pics would showcase your pet at one of our local businesses.
  • Aug. 31-Sept. 4, Mr./Miss Talented: Send us a video or pic of your pet’s talent.
  • Sept. 7-12, Mr./Miss Animal Advocate: The winner of this category is the pet that raises the most money for Copiah Animal Shelter in its name. Make sure donations include the name of your pet. (No photo submission for this category.) Anyone can donate in the name of their favorite contestant and help them win Advocate.

Note: Category winners may live anywhere, but the Tomato Pooch Pageant winner will be from the local area in order to attend Crystal Springs events.

Once a participant’s entry fee/registration is confirmed, the shelter will post weekly contestant entries on our social media pages. Voting each week begins on Monday and closes at midnight on Saturday. Photos are accepted all week, but a late submission will limit the amount of likes you can generate. Weekly category winners will be announced every Sunday. Category winners receive a $25 gift card, one of our newly designed t-shirts, and a sash for your pet proclaiming their title. After the final category winner is announced, we will crunch the numbers to determine our final overall winner and announce our first ever Tomato Pooch. Does your pooch have what it takes?
Rules and entry guidelines can be found online at

Copiah Animal Shelter can’t wait to see your amazing dogs, spread smiles and fun, enjoy some friendly competition, and meet the 2020 Tomato Pooch winner. Thank you for donating to help the animals.