4th Annual Animal Services Tails of Hope Short Story Writing Contest

Contest Details

Do you have a rescued dog, cat, hamster or friendly neighbourhood squirrel that you want to share with the world?

Join us, the Pickering Public Library and Hifive Kids Dental & Braces and write a story about your furry friend. If you don't have a furry friend, that's okay, use your imagination and create an animal related story of your own. Select stories will be professionally published with one copy going to the child, and another becoming part of a permanent collection that will be used at the library and future animal related programming. Interested children should register for the program in advance to learn more about the criteria and deadlines.

3 Age Categories

  • 5-7 yrs
  • 8-10 yrs
  • 11 - 12 yrs

Guidelines for submission: 

  • All stories must have a biography of the author.
  • Images must have no watermarks.
  • Only emailed stories will be accepted. 
  • Please do not submit cellphone pictures of your story for quality purposes.

Not sure where to start? Here is what you need to know!

Before submitting your story make sure your story has the following:

  • Cover (Title/Written by…you!)
  • Stories must be 14-20 pages long (can be pictures, drawings, cartoons…be creative!)
  • Write a dedication (to my dog Frank/for my dog Shadow)
  • Artist Bio/Self-portrait (write a line about yourself - draw a picture of yourself and your pet)
  • Each page should be 8.5 x 11
  • You have until July 12th to submit your short story

 Register for the contest today!

Tails of Hope Short Story Contest: How to Workshop

Monday May 27, 2024 from 4:30 - 5:30 at George Ashe Library

Are you interested in entering the Tails of Hope Short Story contest, but you don't know where to start? Join us for a how-to workshop on writing your own book with local Pickering author, Sue Palmer.

After retirement from teaching Sue has developed an interest in writing stories. Following the lead of a clever GoldenDoodle named Ben, Sue has created several delightful children’s stories in Ben’s voice, the first about hiking in the forest. The book series is called “Just Ben” and her first published book is “Just Ben Goes to the Forest”. You can find Ben and Sue hiking in Durham Forest on a Sunday afternoon Spruce Trail where Ben leads the hike.

Register for the Workshop today!


A big thank you to Hifive Kids Dental & Braces for sponsoring this initiative.

HiFive Kids Dental & Braces logo                        


2023 Contest Winners

Back in May we asked our community to write a short story about their furry friend. We were thrilled to receive so many creative and high quality submissions and are happy to announce our top 3 winners, one from each age category:

  • The Turtle & The Coyote 2, by Isabella: 5-7 years old  
  • Storm The Dog, by Karissa: 8-10 years old
  • The Three Fish and the Plastic Monster, by Aania: 11-12 years old

Young authors received a professionally published copy of their story and 4 large compilation books were created to highlight the top 23 entries. 2 compilation books will be in circulation at the Pickering Public Library, while 1 will remain at the Pickering Animal Shelter and at HiFive Kids Dental & Braces. We encourage the community to stop into each of the locations to read these talented authors stories.  

Congratulations to all of our young authors!

Here are the top 3 stories, one from each age category. Participants are shown below. 

Short Story Writing Contest Participants


2023 Participants

Photo Gallery: AS 2023 Short Story Contest will appear here on the public site.