Born with a birth defect that shortened his front paws, Rex was recently adopted by JoLynn Burden and her family in Janesville. Rex, a Lab mix, is able to move by himself by hopping on his two back legs or using a wheeled cart. Rex was voted as runner up for People Magazine's national World's Cutest Rescue Dog contest.


A dog from Janesville will grace the upcoming edition of People Magazine for his inspirational story—and his cuteness.

Rex, the reddish-tan colored dog originally from Texas with a congenital deformity that left him with underdeveloped front legs, was voted as a runner up, one of the top three dogs chosen in People Magazine’s World’s Cutest Rescue Dog contest.


Janesville dog Rex jumps up to get a treat from owner JoLynn Burden while playing outside the family’s home last summer. Rex, a rescue dog with a congenital deformity that affects its front legs, was voted as runner-up for People Magazine’s national World’s Cutest Rescue Dog contest.

Rex’s Janesville owner, JoLynn Burden, said Rex might not understand the concept of celebrity or being a top dog chosen by judges at People Magazine and the pet food company Pedigree, but Rex has gotten a lot of attention in the past few months.

Rex has been in the running since this summer—one of three rescued dogs initially chosen by People readers as finalists out of a field of about 10,000 dog entrants in the contest.

The winners were announced by People on Wednesday morning via a segment on NBC morning news show TODAY.

Rex and his story will be featured in the upcoming edition of People Magazine, which hits newsstands Friday, Burden said.

The dog that learned how to kangaroo hop on its hind legs with its stunted front legs and paws curled to its chest isn’t demanding any special treatment as a magazine celeb and national top dog.

Burden said Rex just wants love.

And treats.

“We’re probably going to give him a ‘puppuccino.’ And he’ll probably get lots of extra hugs,” Burden said.

The contest, which the magazine runs to benefit and boost awareness of rescued dogs and the organizations that help them find homes, has special significance to Burden.

Burden is a volunteer with Paddy’s Paws, a dog rescue and adoption network in Fort Atkinson. She initially took in Rex while the dog awaited adoption to a family. When Rex’s placement fell through, Burden decided to adopt Rex.

Rex now gets around using a specially designed, wheeled sling. The dog also loves to swim at Lake Koshkonong.

Rex’s photo is on a People web page that announces the dog contest’s top winner—Penny, a one-eyed golden retriever from Maryland rescued from an “abusive” past.

Rex was neck-and-neck as second runner-up alongside Keller, a white and brown long-haired dog.

Rex’s photo shows him hopping on his back legs with a “smile” that Burden said is infectious.

The top winner of the contest—Penny—earned a gift package including a $1,000 prize that gets funneled to selected dog rescue organizations.

Rex wins a Pedigree gift basket.

Locally, Rex has a vaunted status as the only Wisconsin dog to be a finalist in the People contest. The dog is now slated for visits to local schools, including the Wisconsin Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Janesville.

“It’s a win-win for him because he is an ambassador for the world of rescue dogs, and everybody he meets loves him,” Burden said. “He just loves life.”