It’s time to celebrate! Spring has finally sprung. Birds are humming. Dogs are barking. Cats are purring. Baby animals are being born in zoos around the world … and that’s not all: Exactly one year ago today, PawNation.com relaunched with a new look, new editorial team, new mascots Chopper and Cairo, and a new approach to the pets and animals beat. In honor of our first anniversary, we welcome you to take a walk down memory lane with us and revisit the 50 most popular animal news stories from The Dish of the past year. We thank you, our readers, from the bottom of our fur-loving hearts for your loyalty, insatiable animal news appetite and eagerness to share these amazing stories with your own personal network of fans, family and friends. Now, take caution: Sea monsters, bloated rat monsters and real snakes on actual planes ahead!
50. New Species of Lion Discovered with Extravagant Dark Mane
Date: Nov. 28, 2012
Details: Calling all “Lion King” fans. Ever wondered about the origins of Scar’s dark, black mane? The Mother Nature Network has your answer. It was recently discovered that the flowing black manes of pride members in Ethiopia are an indication that these big cats are a separate species unto themselves. DNA taken from the dark-haired lions at the Addis Ababa Zoo proved to have a different genetic makeup from other Asian and African lions. Now that’s something to roar about!
49. Is Viral Video of Cows Spilling Out of Truck on Russian Road a Hoax?
Date: Jan. 3, 2013
Details: Mere months before multiple Russian dashboard cameras caught a meteor hitting Earth came this nearly unbelievable YouTube footage of a truckload of cows crashing and tumbling out on a Russian road. Shockingly, it turned out that neither of these unusual, unsettling events were hoaxes. Why does the craziest s*** always happen in Russia?!
48. Former 30-Pound Cat Named Tiny Hits Weight Loss Milestone
Date: Aug. 17, 2012
Details: You might think fat cat stories are a dime a dozen here at PawNation, but Tiny’s tale/tail is truly unforgettable. According to CBS News, the husky kitty, who once weighed 30 pounds, was taken in by the New Brunswick SPCA where the dedicated staff helped him lose over 10 pounds. The now-famous feline subsequently started a line of pet ties; the proceeds go to emergency animal care and have raised thousands of dollars for a great cause.
47. Meet Quasi: The Ugliest Cute Cat Ever
Date: Sept. 10, 2012
Details: On first glance you might feel bad for Quasi the cat, but there’s really no need to pity this unusual kitty. As Catster first reported, Quasi’s unique visage inspired his owner to launch the My Ugly Kitty crafts and cat blog, which has raised over $4,000 in funds for the Cats R Us adoption center. While it is believed a cleft lip connected to his eye is the root of Quasi’s “special” expression, this talented feline makes up for his vision problems with a superior sense of hearing.
46. Dog Has Been Watching Over His Owner's Grave for Six Years
Date: Sept. 13, 2012
Details: The loyalty of dogs never ceases to amaze. However, readers were understandably shocked and “aww’d” by the story of a German Shepherd named Captain who has been watching over his owner’s grave for six years. According to the Daily Mail U.K., the family noticed the dog was missing after Michel Guzman’s funeral, only to find him a week later at his deceased best friend’s grave. He occasionally visits home, but is dedicated to Guzman and his final resting spot, spending most nights laying by the gravestone. What a beautiful, bittersweet tale of everlasting obedience.
45. Dog Nurses Three Baby Tiger Cubs
Date: Nov. 26, 2012
Details: Sometimes mothers don’t carry babies in their wombs, but in their hearts. Such was the case of three tiger cubs whose birth mom rejected them, but found solace -- and a nurturing parent -- in the form of a Swiss Shepherd named Tally. The Digital Journal reported the dog was already producing milk for an upcoming litter of puppies, but she was happy to share it with her newly adopted cubs. Strange, but truly adorable.
44. Swimmer Caught Riding a Whale Hours Before It Was Found Dead
Date: Dec. 18, 2012
Details: This is one story we wish to never see again. Sadly, the Daily News U.K. reported that an unidentified swimmer was seen climbing upon and riding a sperm whale off the coast of Florida. Hours later, the endangered animal was dead. Word to the wise: Harassing a marine mammal is a federal offense. Proceed with caution and respect.
43. Extremely Rare Newborn White Lion Debuts at Mexico Zoo
Date: Oct. 16, 2012
Details: Something cute to look at here: An extremely rare white lion cub debuted at the Leon Zoo in Mexico in October 2012. There are only about 300 white lions in the world. The Daily Mail U.K. reports these beautiful animals are native only to one region of South Africa and are considered sacred.
42. Incredible Pictures of a Great White Shark Leaping Mid-Air
Date: Nov. 29, 2012
Details: If you thought Great Whites couldn’t jump, well, think again. A photographer named Dana Allen and a group of colleagues spent three days on the water trying to lure their elusive, finned models with a fake seal. We imagine Mr. Allen jumped for joy upon viewing the amazing photographs he eventually managed to capture.
41. Man Catches 3-Pound Goldfish From Michigan Lake
Date: Jan. 22, 2013
Details: It’s hard to resist a good fish tale. According to the Daily Mail U.K., Mike Martin was fishing for perch when he caught the 3-pound, 15-inch-long goldfish -- most likely a former pet -- on his line. Whether or not the fish breaks any records, Martin is holding onto his catch for now and plans to mount poor little, er, big goldie on his mantle for all to admire.
40. Snake on a Plane: Qantas Passenger Spots Python Holding Onto Wing During Flight
Date: Jan. 10, 2013
Details: This snake's wild ride was terrifying, both for the plane’s passengers and for the snake in question. Nobody knows for sure how it came to pass, but according to the Sydney Morning Herald, a python found itself fighting for its life while hanging onto the wing of a Qantas aircraft. The coach section of the flight took turns, fascinated, watching the creature out the window. Meanwhile, first class remained blissfully unaware.
Date: Jan. 18, 2013
Details: This year, Google Maps celebrated eight years of helping us figure out where in the world we are, especially thanks to their innovative street view option. For those of you who have spent some time perusing through random cities, you may have noticed one or two of its animal inhabitants. Here are nine of the most interesting accidental animals snapped by Google Street View's cameras.
Date: Oct. 29, 2012
Details: Snakes on a plane isn't just a movie. It's real life! Last October, an 18-inch snake was found slithering on a Scottish airline. The scaly passenger was on his way to Cancun from Glasgow when he snuck onboard in a passenger's luggage, perhaps in hopes of a tropical vacation. His journey ended when crew members discovered him under the seats. Yikes!
Date: July 19, 2012
Details: The Yalta Zoo welcomed five rare bundles of joy when two of their tan lions produced a litter of white babies. No, they're not albino: they're just the product of a recessive gene that was present in both parents. The zookeepers at the zoo will have the pleasure of raising these adorable babies into the stunning adult tigers they will become.
Date: March 7, 2013
Details: Over 15,000 sharks were spotted along the southern coast of Florida earlier this month, which forced beach closures from Boca Raton to Jupiter. An associate professor of biology at Florida Atlantic University believed they were migrating back north after traveling south for the winter. A majority of the finned migrators were spinner sharks and blacktop sharks, but hammerheads, tiger sharks, lemon sharks and bull sharks were also spotted.
Date: Dec. 3, 2012
Details: It seemed like forever ago when Grumpy Cat was a "new" animal meme sensation. Now, the unimpressed kitty's adorable mug can be found almost everywhere on the Internet. Reflect back on some of the greatest snapshots of the little sourpuss here.
Date: Nov. 12, 2012
Details: A killer whale and a Labrador playing in the surf of a New Zealand beach had a very close encounter, as captured on video. It all began when a free diver and his dog were swimming around the ocean, as per usual. Suddenly, four orca whales began to swim dangerously close to the shore of Mathenson Bay. The diver was able to swim away, but his dog did not budge. However, once he realized what was happening around him, he made a beeline back to land. Phew!
Date: May 4, 2012
Details: Claude is one lucky crustacean! Instead of turning him into 160 crab cakes, a kind Australian fisherman decided to sell the 15-lb Tasmanian giant crab to a British Aquarium. Now, aquarium-goers can gawk at the U.K.'s largest crab! What's even cooler is that Claude still has some growing to do. They believe Claude is still a juvenile, so he is expected to double his weight. Incredible!
Date: July 24, 2012
Details: A woman stumbled upon a not-so-pleasant surprise when walking alongside the East River under the Brooklyn Bridge. She found an unusual-looking "monster" and wondered whether it could be another Montauk Monster incident ... or just a bloated rat from the river. Whatever it is, this stomach-churning creature shared the same mysterious fate.
Date: Oct. 5, 2012
Details: Most young boys like to go exploring around their neighborhood and dig up bugs and creepy-crawly creatures. But this particular 11-year-old found something quite unusual during one of his adventures in his Russian neighborhood -- a nearly intact woolly mammoth! The specimen happened to be one of the best found in over a hundred years, according to experts. Its flesh, bones, fur and layers of fat were still all there. Sounds like he has quite a future in archaeology!
Date: Jan. 4, 2013
Details: Who knew dolphins were such gracious gift-givers? On top of being one of the world's most intelligent creatures, these marine mammals are also super generous. On 23 different occasions over the past several years, wild dolphins have been observed giving gifts to humans at the Tangalooma Island Resort in Australia. These gifts have included everything under the sea, from eels and tuna to octopus and squid.
Date: May 2, 2012
Details: Carli Davidson made a name for herself with her breathtaking and intimate photographs of animals. Davidson has a soft spot for all kinds of creatures, especially those who are unique and special in their very own ways, like Ramen the two-legged Poodle. In a series of photos, Davidson shares the heartwarming story of Ramen, how he lost both of his front legs and what a happy life he now leads with his owner.
Date: Aug. 10, 2012
Details: A German Shepherd named Amanda won the Internet over when she was photographed bringing her puppies to safety in the form of a firetruck. When the residence where her babies were in went up in flames, Amanda ran in and retrieved each one of her 10-day-old babies, alongside the firefighters. After she collected them, she brought them to a firetruck, carefully handling each one in her mouth. Thankfully, the mom and most of her puppies only received minor injuries and burns. (Sadly, one puppy died soon after arriving at the vet.) We named Amanda dog mom of 2012!
Date: Nov. 1, 2012
Details: Bad haircuts happen to everyone, even fluffy dogs. When Snieguole Ghuman brought her furry German Shepherd Simba to the groomers for a wash, she was beside herself when she returned to find that he had been fully shaved instead. Even though Ghuman only wanted them to work out the mats from his fur, the groomers took it upon themselves to shave everything off. The groomer defended her actions saying that it was in Simba's best interest, however, Ghuman still believes they went too far. Check out Simba's real lion 'do in the gallery.
26. World's Largest Dog Is Newest and Biggest Pet Literary Star
Date: April 11, 2012
Details: Giant George had already put himself on the maps by earning Guinness World Records for both tallest and largest dog when he became the subject of his first book last April, according to the Daily Telegraph U.K., "Giant George: Life with the World's Biggest Dog” was written by George’s owner and tells George’s life story from adoption to fame.
25. Dog Shaming: The Next Big Viral Trend
Date: Aug. 23, 2012
Details: Sometimes when people commit minor crimes, they’re forced to stand in public for punishment, holding signs describing what they did. Last summer, dog owners caught onto this “shaming” punishment and used it to reveal to everyone on the Internet the gory details of their dogs’ misdeeds. Thus the “dog shaming” meme was born.
24. Dolphin's Heartbreaking Mourning Ritual Over Baby Captured on Film
Date: July 17, 2012
Details: Tourists on a dolphin-watching boat witnessed a rare display of dolphin mourning last summer, according to the Daily Mail U.K. The tour-boat passengers saw a dolphin carrying her dead child out to deeper waters. The small dolphin’s body had a large gash, suggesting it might have been killed by a boat propeller.
23. Meet Snoopy, the Newest Instagram Cat Sensation
Date: Aug. 15, 2012
Details: There are a lot of cats who have been admired on the Internet, but most of them get 15 seconds of fame and then fade back into anonymity. It takes a special cat to break through to be known widely by name. Snoopy became a sensation on Instagram last August and was featured in his own PawNation gallery.
22. Whale Carcass Washes Ashore in South African Tourist Town
Date: April 12, 2012
Details: A crew from the National Sea Rescue Institute thought the 46-foot-long object that had washed ashore in a South African town was an overturned ship, but it turned out to be a whale carcass. The enormous whale stymied efforts to remove it from the rocks on which it was stranded.
21. Sheep Has an Upside-Down Head
Date: October 5, 2012
Details: A sheep in North Yorkshire, England, has an upside-down head, according to the Daily Mail U.K. It is believed the sheep twisted its spine, but vets say it’s in no pain, and it can do anything a normal sheep can do. On the other hand, most normal sheep can’t star in a YouTube video that earns 50,000 views in one day. For that, you need an upside-down head.
20. Whale Watchers Look the Wrong Way as Huge Animal Breaches
Date: December 3, 2012
Details: You’d think it would be impossible to miss a huge, 45-foot-long humpback whale, but when you’re trying to watch the entire vast ocean at once, we guess it’s possible. And that’s just what happened to group of whale watchers off Ireland’s coast in December, according to the Daily Mail U.K. The hapless sightseers found themselves with their backs turned to the very sight they wanted to see.
19. Man and Crocodile Are Cuddle Buddies
Date: November 9, 2012
Details: Just because crocodiles have the most powerful bite in the animal kingdom and CAN bite your head off doesn’t mean they WILL bite your head off. Pocho is a friendly croc whose best friend is Costa Rican fisherman Chito; they’ve been palling around for 20 years. Still, don’t try this at home.
18. Hero Shark Guides Stranded Man to Rescue Boat
Date: September 17, 2012
Details: Not only are shark-attack stories blown out of proportion in general, but in fact, sometimes sharks go out of their way to help humans in distress. According to the Daily Mail U.K., a man adrift in the Pacific Ocean for 15 weeks last summer said it was a shark who saved him. One afternoon during his weeks adrift, Toakai Teitoi fell asleep, only to be awakened by a shark bumping his boat. That was when Teitoi saw and hailed a nearby boat and was rescued. He needed a bigger boat ... and got one. Thanks, shark!
17. Did Hiker Film Bigfoot, Bear or Blobsquatch?
Date: November 6, 2012
Details: For years, cryptozoologists had one blurry, inconclusive photo to point to as evidence of the existence of Bigfoot. Now finally, they have a blurry, inconclusive video to point to as well. The video was shot last fall and shows a furry, dark figure. Bigfoot enthusiasts have a term for these sightings: “blobsquatch.” Probably not coincidentally, the video emerged when a $10 million prize was being offered for proof of Bigfoot, as a promotion for a TV series about finding the legendary creature.
16. Woman Raises White Lion Cub in Her Home
Date: October 31, 2012
Details: Annal Snyman of South Africa owns several animals, including a white lion cub named Timba, according to the Daily Mail U.K. That may seem unusual at first, but Snyman’s home is a registered animal sanctuary on which she’s also cared for cheetahs, leopards and other wild cats. OK, it’s still a little unusual. That’s a soon-to-be 500-pound lion in your house!
15. Unveiling of Boo's Owner as Facebook Employee Has Internet Up in Arms
Date: August 9, 2012
Details: When Boo the World’s Cutest Dog took Facebook and then the Internet by storm, most assumed his discovery and rise to stardom was an organic process. But last August, it was discovered that his previously mysterious owner was in fact a Facebook employee, according to All Thing D. Many of Boo’s fans called shenanigans, believing Boo’s stardom must have been manufactured. Six month’s later, Boo is still pretty popular, so we guess most people decided that a cute dog is a cute dog.
14. Photographer Takes Enchanting Images of Rare and Elusive Silver Fox in the Wild
Date: October 11, 2012
Details: Silver foxes are remarkably elusive animals, normally darting away quickly whenever one of us clumsy humans comes lumbering by. But photographer Steffen Sailor got lucky last fall and successfully engaged a silver fox in a remarkable photo shoot, according to the Daily Mail U.K. The gorgeous fox was remarkably tolerant of Sailor’s presence, posing for several pics. These animals are so rarely seen that Sailor wasn’t even sure what he shot, but a park ranger confirmed it to be a silver fox.
Date: Oct. 4, 2012
Details: According to the Daily Mail, tourists visiting the Antarctic Peninsula had a close call with a Humpback whale. One of the 48-ton marine mammals decided to breach the water only meters away from a tiny raft full of tourists. The group was shocked but pleased by the close encounter, whipping out their cameras to capture the amazing moment. While it may seem differently, expert say the whale was just trying to dive for krill, not put on a show.
Date: March 26, 2012
Details: According to Animal Planet, South Carolinians got a fishy surprise when a sea monster washed up on the shore of Folly Beach. The massive creature quickly got the attention of local officials who were unsure what the dead animal could be. A visit from an aquarium veterinarian provided answers. The vet who looked over the monster believed it to be a part of a sturgeon, a fish that can grow to be 15 feet long and 800 pounds.
Date: Dec. 13, 2012
Details: One woman got a wild surprise according to WMTW. A Maine resident was driving at night when she accidentally hit what she thought was a cat. Worried about the animal’s well-being, the woman scooped the “cat” off the road and into her car to take to a vet. On the drive to get help the animal awoke, at which point the woman realized there was something different about this house cat. The woman found that her passenger was really a bobcat. Worried about her safety, the driver pulled over and called the police who had wildlife officials escort the bobcat to an animal hospital.
Date: Jan. 16, 2013
Details: AFP reported on an amazing story about a dedicated dog. Ever since losing his owner several months ago, Tommy the dog has been regularly attending mass. The pooch is a parishioner at a small Italian church were his master’s funeral was held. Others at the church, the priest included, cannot imagine mass without Tommy and welcome the dog to all events at the church.
Date: Oct. 1, 2012
Details: Photos of an injured Sea World orca whale that appeared on Daily Mail U.K. led to outcries from animal lovers. The pictures show Nakai the whale with an injury on her chin that exposes the animal’s jaw bone. Sea World said the gash came from contact with a portion of Nakai’s pool, but others were doubtful, believing the whale was injured by another animal during a show. PETA filed a complaint asking for follow-up on Nakai’s case.
Date: Nov. 16, 2012
Details: According to Daily Mail U.K., a newly engaged couple’s vacation went horribly wrong. The pair were visiting South Africa’s Kruger National Park when an angry elephant turned over the couple’s car. The elephant attacked the vehicle with his tusks, rolling the car onto its back. Luckily, no one was hurt during the incident. Park officials tracked down the elephant to see what caused its outburst and believe the issue was the result of pain caused by a tooth abscess.
Date: Sept. 26, 2012
Details: It is always nice to have a story with a happy ending. Daily Mail U.K. reported on one of the sweetest stories of the year, regarding a man and his aging dog who was suffering from arthritis. The owner was photographed floating with his dog in a lake to help soothe the canine’s joint pain, since the owner couldn’t afford the surgery his pet needed. The response to photo was so overwhelming that the owner was able to use the donations to help treat his dog and start a foundation to help animals.
Date: Nov. 14, 2012
Details: According to TODAY, a 5-year-old formed an amazing animal friendship when he was only a toddler. Over a year and a half ago, Sean Goodman visited the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California, and formed an instant connection with Milo the sea lion. The boy now visits Milo every month to say hello to his friend and play games. The pair usually end up putting on quite a show for the other aquarium guests, even doing a few tricks that they have come up with together.
Date: Aug. 27, 2012
Details: Last summer, Daily Mail U.K. drew attention to yet another unbelievable animal and human friendship. Over the past four years, Matteo Walch has formed an amazing bond with a group of marmots in the Alps near his family’s vacation home. The usually shy creatures were automatically attracted to the child when he first visited and have become closer with the boy every year since. The animals allow Matteo to feed, pet and play with them, coming out of their hiding places when they see he has arrived. Thankfully, Matteo’s father has photographed his son’s numerous interactions with the marmots for everyone to enjoy.
Date: August 3, 2012
Details: Shipman George Edwards is certain he photographed the Loch Ness Monster this past year, reported theDaily Mail. Edwards has studied the infamous creature and has hosted Nessie tours for many years. One day while out on the water, he spotted a black hump rising above the surface and snapped a few shots of the sight. Edwards swears that these are the best pictures of the Loch Ness monster on record, but non-believers still abound.
Date: March 6, 2013
Details: According to Orange News, expert angler Steve Townson made an impressive catch with help from another kind of fish. Townson traveled to Guyana in hopes of capturing the rare and giant arapaima from one of the local waterways. Using a 5-lb piranha as bait, Townson was able to hook a 250-lb arapaima. Because the creature is protected and Townson does not kill his catches, the fish was released back into the water after a few photos. The angler hopes to start tours of Guyana’s rivers to help others have the same fishing experience.
Date: Nov. 15, 2012
Details: Moby Dick lives, or at least you would believe so, based on this Daily Mail story. A rare white Humpback whale was spotted in Norway swimming with a group of normal-colored whales. Experts say the creature probably has leucism, a condition that affects the pigmentation of the skin. It was a special moment for Dan Fisher, who spotted the whale, since it was his first sighting of the rare creature in his ten years of work at sea.
Next: Check Out the 50 Best Animal Photos of the Year!
Date: Oct. 19, 2012
Details: You never mess with a cat’s food but, according to Daily Mail U.K, one crocodile did not get the memo. The intruder decided to come out of the water of a Zambian river and tried to share in a lion’s feast. In the midst of their antelope meal, the lions didn’t notice their uninvited guest at first. But when the crocodile tried to take a bite of the catch, the claws came out. The lions swiped and stared at the crocodile until he got the point and slinked back into the water.