There’s something about animal stories that resonates in a special way. They shock, they delight and they tug on your heartstrings. They’re often your escape from difficult news days filled with crime and disaster. Before we begin our journey into 2020, let’s take a look back at some of the best pet stories that made headlines in 2019.
Piglet the pink puppy spreads important message.
The tiny pastel puppy is a mascot for acceptance, kindness and inclusion. But the journey to get there wasn’t easy. Piglet was born both deaf and blind in a Georgia home crowded with 37 other dogs. Things started looking up for him once he was rescued from the hoarding situation and placed in a loving foster home, which became his forever home. Today, Piglet lives a happy life with his new family and is a positive role model, teaching children how to face challenges, work with what they have, and not worry about what they don’t have.
Grumpy Cat passes away.
Grumpy Cat, whose facial expressions shot her to viral fame in 2012, died in 2019, at the age of seven. She became an internet sensation after a photo of her perpetually annoyed-looking face was posted online. (For the record, her permanent frown was the result of dwarfism and an underbite, not existential ennui.) Instant fame led to numerous interviews, film roles, books and a line of merchandise. At the time of her death, Grumpy Cat (real name: Tardar Sauce) had 1.5 million followers on Twitter, 2.4 million on Instagram and 8.5 million on Facebook.
Golden retriever befriends seeing-eye pup.
Charlie, an 11-year-old golden retriever who went blind due to glaucoma, found a service animal to guide him around. The energetic four-month-old puppy was named Maverick, and according to their social media account, they were just “two best buds living life to the fullest.” The two didn’t immediately get along, but after a few months, Charlie began relying on Maverick for help with everything, including walking, playing and eating. Charlie unfortunately died in July 2019.
Military working dog takes down ISIS leader.
On October 26, Conan, a Special Ops Military Working Dog, helped U.S. Forces track down ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on a covert mission in Syria. Conan, who was wounded during the raid, performed his duties admirably, earning high praise. Al-Baghdadi was killed. Once fully recovered from his injuries, the heroic Belgian Malinois was invited to the White House to receive a medal for bravery in combat. Conan has since returned to work helping keep America safe.
Woman quits job to find lost dog.
A summer vacation to Montana turned into a nightmare for Carole and Verne King after their beloved border collie, Katie, escaped from a hotel room and disappeared into the forest near Glacier National Park. The Kings searched for more than a month before returning home empty handed. Undeterred, Carole quit her job as a mail carrier to continue the search. Two weeks later, she received a tip that Katie had been spotted in the area near the hotel. After combing the surrounding fields, Carole found her frightened, starving pup curled in a ball beneath a tree. She called out to Katie, and the two reunited with a warm embrace. Missing for 57 days, Katie made it home safe and sound.
No matter how dark the world gets, heartwarming pet stories always bring a bit of light back. Tales of pet bravery and empathy deserve to be told each and every day of each and every year.