This story was a wild ride through the stream of consciousness of a very charming dog with some sharply observed family dynamics happening around him.
I can see why this piece stood out from the rest and was finally the winner. It's original and completely different from any other submission, but it didn't fall into any easily definable category. So it's difficult to give a critique because it doesn't have any of the usual points judges like to look for- structure, plot, dialogue, evocative images, deep insights, character development etc.
Because of this, it could have been badly marked down if all the judges went by the book. But it's just such an enjoyable, fresh story that from the first sentence, the reader can't help being totally charmed.
Using the point of view of an animal, the writer could have fallen into the trap of being too cute, but he doesn't. The characterization was an absolute winner and the reader willingly follows this daft, enthusiastic animal through his days as his thoughts skitter around using a crazy mixture of language.
Furball, a dog of the world acquainted with acid, has obviously been watching too much American TV and taken some of the slang on board, but it all sharpened the gentle hilarity running right through.
The breathless, no-time-to-draw-breath pace of his thoughts made me gallop through the story and added to the readability, although I don't think you could repeat this style too often.
But the writer handled this with such dexterity that I'm sure there's a lot of other interesting work sitting on his computer.
The ending was full of pathos and very touching. Who says dogs can't think?