In the style of basketball’s March Madness, food guru Rachael Ray has created Mutt Madness, a competition for animal shelters and welfare organizations across the country. The competition begins with 64 organizations nominated by the public and then selected by a panel of celebrity judges, which is whittled down by half each round, in accordance with votes placed at the website. Sixty-four organizations becomes 32, and 32 becomes 16, then eight, and now the “final four,” where it stands today.
At the website, voters may learn more about each organization’s mission by reviewing its profile page before registering to vote for their favorites.
As an organization progresses through the competition, it receives $1,000 funding for each round in which it remains. The Grand Award Recipient, the candidate with the most votes during the final round of voting, will receive $50,000, with the Second Place Award Recipient receiving $25,000.
Still in the running are Freedom Service Dogs, Inc., an organization that rescues dogs from shelters and trains them to provide critical assistance to people with disabilities; Last Chance Ranch, Inc., which rescues animals from kill shelters but is now in danger of being shut down due to zoning laws if they cannot raise funds to rebuild; Angel’s Gate Hospice and Rehabilitation Home for Animals, a residential home for special needs animals; and Project POOCH, which rehabilitates “unadoptable” shelter dogs by pairing them with incarcerated youth for care and training.
As the competition nears its close, please visit RachaelRay.com/MuttMadness to learn more about these organizations and vote for your favorites. —Sarah Hughes