33 Times Animals Made Our Day in 2018
Our furry friends were the most reliably good thing of the year.
It's no secret that 2018 has been a doozy, full of tumult and vitriol. Even pop culture wasn't safe! But despite the negativity, there's one thing from the year that has been reliably, steadfastly good: Stories about animals. Between the hyperbolic, raise-the-alarms headlines that dominated the news cycle, animals left and right were making waves of positivity. So, in honor of these aww-inspiring cuties, we've gathered the best and brightest tales about our furry friends from 2018.
The rescue dog who found a new home at a firehouse.
Smokey the dog had spent the better portion of his life at an Arizona animal control facility when fate intervened to save the animal from being put down. After being transported to the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, caregivers quickly noticed Smokey's kindness and intelligence—and thought that he could greatly contribute to those public workers suffering from anxiety and depression.
Eventually, Smokey was sent to help firefighters at the Toledo Fire & Rescue Department, where many recruits were suffering from anxiety and depression on the job. Just this year, the story of Smokey has made headlines as members of the unit in Toledo, Ohio, shared stories about how much the dog has improved morale and changed their lives for the better.
The owl who loved his spray bottle bath.
After his owner posted a video of his squirt bottle bath online, Curbie the owl gained notoriety for possibly being the cutest pet owl on the internet. Throughout the bath, he even lets out a few "hoo hoo"s that make it impossible for viewers to not be completely awestruck by the owl's trust and love in his owner.
The smooth-talking cat who kicked a Roomba aside.
Earlier this year, a Roomba attempted to interrupt this important feline conversation—but this cat would stop at nothing to continue the discussion. In a completely suave and hilarious move, the cat expertly kicked the oncoming Roomba away in the nick of time—and the internet loved every second of it.
The man who became inseparable from his macaw.
For nearly a decade, Rod Shafer and Sally, his rescue macaw, have been inseparable. In the small town of Everett, Washington, residents have grown accustomed to seeing Sally perched upon Shafer's shoulder as they take cruises down the block on his bicycle. This story warmed the hearts of thousands when Shafer admitted that they both had experienced rough pasts—Shafer struggled to achieve sobriety while Sally struggled to find a suitable home—until they found solace in each other. "She wants me to pet her all the time. She follows me around like a little dog. She loves her daddy so much," Shafer told the Herald. Sally, Shafer admits, "straightened me up. I don't drink anymore."
The tortoise who skates like Tony Hawk.
In a decidedly expert and adorable maneuver, a tiny tortoise, with the encouragement of its owner, decided to climb aboard a finger-skateboard and prove this his species isn't as slow as previously believed—and the internet was never the same again.
The raccoon who dressed as Santa.
In a move that seemed to epitomize everyone's Christmas wishes this year, a pudgy raccoon stole the hearts of millions when a video surfaced of the raccoon dressed as Santa while eating grapes from a large container.
The therapy dog who became an icon for a new law.
Since 2014, American states have been actively passing laws to ensure that dogs who have undergone medical experiments are given the prospect of adoption and relocation after the process is complete, as opposed to the sadly common result of euthanasia. Just this past year, in fact, Ringo the therapy dog became the poster child for these new laws, after his new owners, the Bleich family, shed light on the incredibly rough transition that the beagle had to go through in order to find a new home away from the laboratory. Since his adoption in 2015, Ringo has become an incredibly loving and faithful companion to the family.
The other who couldn't get enough lettuce.
Back in May, a video surfaced of Toby the otter thoroughly enjoying a piece of lettuce—and the Instagram post soon went viral as viewers declared their love for the adorable otter.
The kitten who loves living at the monkey spa.
Just last month, a video surfaced of a monkey grooming and embracing a mewing kitten inside of an animal sanctuary in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The drunk birds who terrorized a small town.
In 2018, residents in the small town of Gilbert, Minnesota, began noticing that the local birds were falling out of trees and slamming into windows at an alarming rate. In a lighthearted Facebook post sent out to the citizens of Gilbert, police chief Ty Techar informed them that there was no need to inform the authorities—these seemingly drunk birds were merely munching on fermented berries! Drunk or not, the post managed to go viral and provide a few laughs to thousands of viewers around the world.
The pig who was rescued from sweltering car.
While most are aware that leaving a child or dog inside of a hot car can have serious health ramifications, it seems as though the owner of Ramone the pig didn't think that these rules applied to bovines as well. After taking the time to find the pig's owner, authorities in Orange County, California, were eventually able to free this disgruntled pig from its owner's car. During this process, the authorities bonded with the pig, who seemed happy to be in air conditioning once again.
The dog who found his owner after a wildfire.
After the Camp Fire in California decimated his home while his family was away, Madison waited and kept guard of his old home until his owners could finally return. For weeks, animal rescue organization K9 Paw Print Rescue attempted to help Madison—but the dog seemed persistent in his effort to guard his home until his owners returned. Finally, after a month of waiting, Madison was reunited with his emotional family—who still remain in awe of all that Madison had to go through to see his owners again.
The hedgehog who survived a hard life to find a loving home.
With his knit hats and sunny disposition, Wilbur the hedgehog has been stealing hearts all across the country with his inspiring story of redemption. At the time of his adoption, Wilbur was an injured newborn facing a terrifying set of circumstances, as his mother, after delivering Wilbur's siblings, ate two of them and set her sights on doing the same to Wilbur. Fortunately for the lucky hedgehog, fate intervened when Melissa Schreiner, his owner, found him just in time to save his life. Now, Wilbur is living the good life with Target fruit strips, knitted clothes, and plenty of cuddles.
The dog who was saved by a group of bicyclists.
When Columbo was only five months old, a group of bicyclists found the dog by the side of a bike path in Columbus, Georgia, with multiple broken bones. In a move that ultimately saved the dog, one of the bicyclists, Jarrett Little, actually carried Columbo for seven miles on his back to get to the nearest town. Immediately after they made it into town, the bikers bumped into Andrea Shaw—and for Columbo, it was love at first sight. After immediately taking Columbo to the nearest veterinarian, Shaw decided to adopt Columbo. Months later, Columbo is living a happy and healthy life in Maine with Shaw and her husband.
The baby zebra who was saved by zookeepers.
Just moments after a baby zebra was born in the Valencia Bioparc in Spain, it stumbled to its feet and into a nearby watering hole. In a truly dramatic video, viewers witness the zookeepers quickly take action to lift the foal from the water and on to the solid ground where the mother licked and revived the newborn as the passersby applauded and cheered loudly. Months later, the foal is healthy and happy.
The meerkats who love being groomed.
Proving that even the wildest animals have a soft side, a video of meerkats throwing their heads back in glee during a typical grooming routine at the Werribee Open Range Zoo in Australia allowed millions of viewers around the world to see the animal's calmer soft side. As it turns out, these meerkats are different than others of their species in captivity, as they are spoiled with plenty of grooming and attention from onlookers all year long—so we can't blame them for this truly adorable reaction.
The French bulldog who threw a tantrum.
In a Facebook post that garnered millions of likes in just a few weeks, viewers meet Walter Geoffrey the Frenchie—a pup who wants to go to the park more than anything. Unfortunately for the Frenchie, the park turned out to be closed—and the resulting tantrum upon Geoffrey's discovery of this fact has nearly broken the internet. For at least five minutes, Geoffrey's owner attempts to explain this fact to the Frenchie who is combative, to say the least. Here's hoping that the Geoffrey found another park to enjoy.
The twin baby red pandas who brought hope to an endangered species.
With fewer than 10,000 existing red pandas on the planet, the arrival of twin baby pandas was an incredibly joyous occasion at Syracuse's Rosamond Gifford Zoo back in June. Loofah and Doofah, named after characters from The Land Before Time, have quickly brought the zoo a lot of attention with their constant cuddle sessions with the zookeepers and playful antics that have almost single-handedly given their species hope for a brighter future.
The dog who performed CPR.
If you find yourself in a time of need, Poncho the dog is the one you want coming to your aid. Displaying an impressive knowledge of first aid and obedience, Poncho showed off his hard work and training in a viral video filmed by the Municipal Police of Madrid in Spain and captioned: "The dog is the only being in the world that will love you more than you love yourself." After making sure that the officer was successfully revived, the dog stood proudly by his side like a truly good boy.
The squirrel who tried to break into a police car.
Unfortunately for the police force in Port St. Lucie, Florida, a stealthy squirrel managed to successfully flee the scene after trying to break into a police car—yeah, that's right. In a Facebook post that soon went viral, officers attached pictures to a description of the incident, showing the guilty squirrel looking intently into the parked car. "Squirrel tries to car-jack PSLPD officer while he was parked in a convenience store parking lot. Squirrel got away after fleeing scene," the post read. At this moment, the suspect is still at large.
The dog who tricked McDonald's customers.
Princess, according to her owner, Betsy Reyes, has become a skilled con artist. In a Facebook post that quickly went viral, the owner admitted that her dog had gotten into the habit of sneaking out at night to beg for food at the local McDonald's by her home in Oklahoma City. On a regular basis, it seems, Princess will pretend to be a stray dog to pick up treats from kind strangers outside of the establishment. Finally, a dog who is smart enough to realize and utilize their charms for an extra cheeseburger (or three).
The safari experience that turned into a cuddle session.
A lion at Crimea's Taigan Safari Park surprised a group of tourists in September when he decided to start an impromptu cuddle session on one of the expeditions. Upon climbing aboard the tour vehicle, Filya began to nuzzle and lick the delighted passengers who were lucky enough to capture the heartwarming moment on camera.
The dogs who helped out at the Women's March.
Demonstrating that dogs are also woman's best friends, these loyal canine companions carried around signs and offered their support to the Women's March all across the country. From Dallas to Toronto, dogs inspired and celebrated their female owners for their strength (and constant supply of belly rubs).
The husky who saved her owner's life with her sense of smell.
While dogs are often praised for their impressive sense of smell, Sierra the Siberian Husky deserves a grander prize for her role in saving her owner's life. One night, when her owner, Stephanie Herfel, was dealing with especially troubling abdominal pain, Sierra sniffed the area three times before running away and hiding in a closet. Even after Herfel's doctor dismissed her pain, Sierra still seemed to be distressed about her owner's condition.
Eventually, Herfel was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer—a diagnosis that Herfel herself admits would have never come about without Sierra's warning. Now, four years after the diagnosis, Herfel is cancer-free and telling others about how her dog saved her life—and why they too should always heed their dog's warnings.
The squirrel who found his forever home.
As far as wild animals go, squirrels seem the most skittish and resistant to human contact—but not Horatio, who found a loving and patient friend in owner Mandy McKenna. Since rescuing Horatio from the roadside where she resides in Somerset, England, McKenna has been carrying around the squirrel with her everywhere she goes. In fact, after attempting to bring him to a shelter, Horatio would only break free to escape back to her home. Months later, they are nearly inseparable. "When I watch TV he sits on the back of the sofa and hides nuts in my hair. Sometimes I move something in the house and find out he stashed nuts there," she told the Good News Network in November.
The dog who patiently posed for the perfect photo.
When a bystander noticed Dash the golden retriever waiting patiently to eat his hot dog until after his owner had snapped the perfect picture of the moment at a Seattle Mariners baseball game, they were compelled to post a video of the pup on Reddit's "Dogspotting" page. After the video had gone viral, the owner eventually found the post in order to praise Dash for a job well done. "I live in Seattle and every summer our baseball team (go Mariners!) has a 'Bark in the Park' night where DOGS GET TO GO TO THE GAME WITH THEIR HUMANS. THIS IS NOT A DRILL AND OFFICIALLY MY BEST SPOT YET," his owner, Ande, posted on the page.
The cat who turned in paraphernalia.
Normally, the phrase "look what the cat dragged in" has a negative connotation—but not in this case. In September, a cat in Bristol, England, managed to bring home a bag full of drugs to its owner. After its owner notified the police, the department posted about the incident on Twitter, inciting thousands of laughs across the world as they contemplated the idea of hiring drug-sniffing cats to patrol their neighborhoods.
The dog who pushes his disabled owner's wheelchair.
For nearly 7 months, Digong the puppy has been helping his disabled owner, Danilo Alarcon, navigate his wheelchair through the streets of Davao, Philippines. One of these excursions was eventually caught on camera by passerby Faith Revilla, whose post on social media soon garnered the affections of thousands.
The husky who saved a deaf hiker in Alaska.
Nanook the Alaskan husky gained the respect and admiration of thousands after saving a deaf hiker multiple times on her trek through Girdwood, Alaska's Crow Pass Trail. Seeming to appear out of nowhere to help college student Amelia Milling gain her footing after falling 600 feet down an icy mountain, Nanook saved her life two more times on the deaf girl's solo hike—once by climbing into a river to paddle her to safety and another time by licking her face to keep her conscious until help arrived.
After news of his dog's heroic actions surfaced, Scott Swift admitted that Nanook had saved other hikers from a grim fate on the trail as well. In fact, after creating a Facebook page for Nanook, Swift heard from dozens of other hikers who were also saved in some way or another by the dog's brave actions.
The dog who helped rescue a missing child.
When 3-year-old Remy Elliot disappeared outside her home in Qulin, Missouri, a search party made up of nearly 100 people, including law enforcement, came together to look for the missing girl. After frantically combing the nearby land surrounding her home, she was eventually discovered 12 hours later in a cornfield—accompanied by the family dog, Fat Heath. For hours, Fat Heath stood resolutely by her side, guarding her until authorities were finally able to locate her. Thanks to the loyal family dog, Remy was only treated for mosquito bites.
The pit bull who rescued an entire family from a burning building.
A pit bull puppy in Stockton, California, was hailed as a hero after rescuing her family from a burning building. In the middle of the night, Sasha the pit bull started behaving strangely—and that's when her owner, Nana Chaichanhda, knew that something was terribly wrong. Before Chaichanhda could even act, Sasha was already leaping into 7-month-old Masailah's room. "She had already had my baby by the diaper and was dragging her off the bed," she told KCRA. Without Sasha bolting to the rescue, the sleeping family may have witnessed a completely different result.
The orphaned bear who loves to snuggle.
In a Reddit post that quickly went viral earlier this year, Jimbo the orphaned bear is pictured snuggling with his owner, Jim Kowalczik. For the past several years, visitors at The Orphaned Wildlife Center in Otisville, New York, have had the opportunity to interact (and yes, even cuddle!) with Jimbo, who was abandoned in the wild. Unfortunately, Jimbo passed away earlier this year, just after this post went viral.
The dog who saved his canine friend from drowning.
After posting incredible footage showing one of her dogs aiding in the rescue of another, Mesa, Arizona, resident Laurie Becerra received an overwhelming amount of support from animal lovers everywhere. In the footage pulled from a surveillance camera on her property, Smokey was saved by his canine friend, Remus, after jumping into the family's pool and struggling to tread water. Once Remus successfully pulled Smokey from the water, both pranced away, tails wagging, ready to seek out the next adventure—side by side. And for more heartwarming tales to read as you ring in the new year, check out these 20 Unlikely Animal Friendships That Will Warm Your Heart.
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