And the Winner Is … Presenting the Pet Oscars
Will the South Korean thriller “Parasite” win in an upset or will the World War I drama “1917” take home the coveted Best Picture prize when the 92nd Academy Awards are presented in Hollywood on Sunday?
Will Netflix show up traditional movie studios with its two nominated films: “Marriage Story” and “The Irishman”? Will Joaquin Phoenix win his first acting Oscar for his dark star turn in the lauded “Joker” film?
Before we cuddle up on the couch with our pets to find out who will be taking home the coveted statuettes, we wanted to imagine which stories, pets and pet heroes from the past year deserved their own recognition.
So roll out the red carpet as we present our own Academy Awards for pets – the Paws Awards, if you will, based on pets that made us laugh, cry or just want to hold our furry friends a little closer.
Best Drama: Dog lost for 57 days in rural Montana is found
Talk about a cliffhanger. When a seven-year-old border collie named Katie went missing last summer in rural Montana, far from home, the odds did not seem favorable that she would ever be found. But pet parents Carole and Vern King put their lives on hold and spent nearly two months searching for her. Aided by people in the Kalispell community that helped search, Katie was finally found, thin and scratched up, but healthy. We loved this happy ending. Full story.
Best Actor: Stray cat gets hired at law firm
Leon was a stray Siamese cat roaming the streets of Brasília, Brazil until he managed to sneak into the Order of Attorneys of Brazil building. Employees adopted Leon and let him hang out in the reception area, but when people started to complain about the cat, they hired Leon as a lawyer. Leon has his own employee badge and even inspired the firm to start a fund to help other stray animals. That’s what we call a class act. Full story
Best Musical Score: Honey the dog “singing” along to Michael Jackson
In this video, a rescued mutt named Honey is riding in the passenger seat with her mom Melissa. She turns on the radio and Michael Jackson’s “Will You Be There” starts to play. As soon as the piano chords come in, Honey throws back her head and starts howling and barking in time with the music. No word on whether it’s just Michael Jackson who gets this reaction or just any song. Honey may not be in tune, but her antics are music to our ears.
Best Stunts: Cat climbing a wall like Alex Honnold
Cats are known as excellent climbers, but it’s usually a carpeted post, a tree, or a piece of furniture they are scampering up. Lala, the rock-wall-climbing cat, is like the Alex Honnold (star climber featured climbing El Capitan rope-free in “Free Solo”) of the cat world. In a climbing gym where the holds are designed for humans with five digits, Lala scopes out her route like a pro, leaping deftly from one tiny ledge to another until she scrambles over the top of the wall, no rope involved.
Best supporting actors: Popular breeds at the top dog show
When the Westminster Kennel Club dog show comes to New York on Feb. 10, don’t look for some of the most popular breeds in America – Golden retrievers, Labradors, Dachshunds or bulldogs to win the “best in show” top prize. It’s rarely happened in the show’s 145-year history, and not at all for the past 65 years. While they may be No. 1 in their pet parent’s hearts, show experts say that these dogs are simply too common and not flashy enough to stand out to the judges. Full story
Best star turn: Nala goes from shelter cat to ‘most popular’
Nala started life out in a shelter just hoping to be loved. That all changed when she was adopted by her pet parent Varisiri Pookie Methachittiphan in Los Angeles in 2010. Methachittiphan started an Instagram account for Nala in 2012 just to show photos of her cat with family in Thailand. The wide-eyed feline’s popularity grew, and today she has over four million followers on Instagram, a feat which earned her the title of most popular cat on Instagram. She’s also expanded her empire to include her own cat food line. See her Instagram feed
The best remake of a reality show: “The Bachelor” for dogs
Featuring Crusoe the Dachshund as the bachelor, this adorable remake will give you all the warm fuzzies of the human version, but without all the catty drama. In fact, in this 90-second bachelor episode, no one gets sent home. Watch video
In memoriam: The biggest pet stars we lost this year
Boo, an adorable Pomeranian who was dubbed “world’s cutest dog”, went to doggie heaven in January 2019 at the tender age of 12. Boo became internet-famous after his pet parent started posting his furry little face and puppy antics on social media. Looking almost like a stuffed animal in his perfection, Boo “made the manliest of men squeal with delight over his cuteness and made everyone laugh with his quirky, tail wagging personality,” his pet parents said. At the time of his death, he had 500,000 followers on Instagram and 16 million people “liked” his Facebook page.
Grumpy Cat, the internet sensation known for her permanently “grumpy” facial appearance, crossed the rainbow bridge this year after a life in the limelight in which her angry visage inspired countless memes and parodies. Tardar Sauce (her real name), developed her appearance because of an underbite and feline dwarfism, which just goes to show, even special needs pets can be stars. She lives on with her website where all kinds of Grumpy Cat merchandise can still be purchased.
Best understudy: Cat who airline passenger swapped for his heavier cat
Mikhail Galin wanted to fly with his cat Viktor with him in business class. The Russian airline Aeroflot had a weight limit on cats in the cabin and, at 22 pounds, Viktor was too big. Galin borrowed a lighter, 15-pound cat named Fibi (an understudy) from a friend for the weigh-in and then switched cats again before boarding the plane. He might have gotten away with it, but he boasted about his bait and switch on Facebook with a photo of him and his chubby kitty looking out the airline window. The airline found out about it and stripped him of his air miles and removed him from their frequent-flier program. Full story
Best choreography: Rescuers save pets from Oklahoma floods
A few days after the small town of Webbers Falls, Oklahoma was evacuated of people due to flooding last summer, an animal rescue team made up of volunteers from the Webbers Falls Volunteer Fire Department, American Humane Society and Code 3 Associates came in boats and waders to save some of the pets left behind. “This is our community. These are our friends and our family. Our animals are our family as well,” said a volunteer firefighter. Full story