The Top 10 Pet Stories of 2019

Posted by Scott Tunstall

From the passing of an internet legend to the discovery of a new way to determine a dog’s age, 2019 was filled with heartwarming and interesting stories involving our four-legged friends. Kick back and relax as we rewind the 2019 calendar to spotlight 10 memorable Fido and Fifi moments.

10. Researchers Discover New Method to Calculate a Dog's Age

“Wait, I’m how old?” Photo by Photo by Delaney Dawson on Unsplash

The old adage that one human year of life equals seven dog years has finally been debunked. A team of researchers published a study in November that discovered dogs age very quickly the first two years of life, but aging slows rapidly as they grow older. To conduct the study, blood samples were drawn from 104 Labrador Retrievers ages 4 weeks to 16 years, and the molecular profiles most similar to humans were compared. Plugging results into a dog calculator, it was determined that a 2-year-old dog “ruffly” equates to 42 human years, while four dog years is equivalent to 53 human years, and eight canine years is closer to 64 in human age. For a more detailed explanation, read the full study here.

9. DOT Declares Delta Air Lines’ Pit Bull Ban Unlawful

“I promise to behave.” Photo by benedek

Delta Air Lines’ decision to ban Pit Bull breed service dogs and emotional support animals on all its flights in July 2018 was declared unlawful by the U.S. Department of Transportation in August 2019, after the DOT concluded there was no credible link between specific breeds and animal attacks. Despite the ruling, Delta refused to lift its ban, citing that Pit Bulls are responsible for “37.5% of vicious dog attacks.” Delta’s ban stemmed from a lawsuit filed by a passenger who was allegedly attacked by an emotional support Pit Bull on a flight in 2017. The airline did reverse its decision to restrict emotional support animals on eight-hour flights, but they are standing their ground on Pit Bulls for now.

8. Woman Quits Job to Find Her Lost Dog

Katie at home. Photo by

A summer vacation to Kalispell, Montana turned into a nightmare for Carole and Verne King after their beloved Border Collie named Katie escaped from a hotel room and disappeared into the forest near Glacier National Park. The Kings searched for over a month before returning home to Chattaroy, WA empty handed. Undeterred, Carole quit her job as a mail carrier to continue the search in Kalispell. Two weeks later, Carole 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 to Chattaroy safe and sound on September 17.

7. Black Cat Crashes NFL Game

Better than Eli Manning. Photo by suetot

The Monday Night Football game on November 4 between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys was interrupted by a black cat wandering onto the field at MetLife Stadium. Play was suspended briefly in the second quarter while the inquisitive feline slinked across the field then showed off its superior athleticism by darting into the end zone. Stadium security attempted to corral the four-legged interloper, but it disappeared down the players’ tunnel to a rousing ovation, leaving behind more bad luck for the hapless Giants, who lost 37-18. The cat in question is said to live in the bowels of MetLife Stadium. No word on whether the Giants have signed it to a contract.

6. Sully the Service Dog Joins the Navy

Reporting for duty. Photo by @_ozko

After former President George H.W. Bush passed away in late 2018, his Labrador Retriever service dog, Sully, was ready for a new mission. Three months later on February 27, with a firm paw shake, Sully was sworn in as a Facility Dog with the rank of hospital corpsman second class at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Trained by America’s VetDogs as a service dog, therapy dog and guide dog, Sully can open doors, answer phones, retrieve items, turn lights on/off and most importantly, provide joy and companionship for sick or wounded military members and their families.

5. Guide Dogs Help Blind Man Complete NYC Half Marathon

In the winner’s circle. Photo by Guiding Eyes for the Blind

With assistance from a trio of guide dogs, Thomas Panek became the first blind person to complete the NYC Half Marathon back in March. Panek, the 48-year-old CEO of Guiding Eyes for the Blind, enlisted the aid of three service dogs, Westley, Waffle and Gus, to finish the 13.1 mile race. He even outfitted his four-legged chaperones with special running shoes to keep their paws from bruising. Each of the three Labrador Retrievers ran 3 to 5 miles and were monitored by veterinarians and volunteers to ensure they were properly hydrated and didn’t become injured or exhausted. The fearsome foursome completed the half marathon in just under 2 hours and 21 minutes.

4. Narwhal the Little Magical Furry Unicorn

A tale of two tails. Photo by

On November 13, WeRateDogs posted a photo of an adorable puppy with a tiny tail growing from his forehead, and within hours the internet’s collective heart grew three sizes. Narwhal, named after the tusk-toothed whale, was taken in by the Missouri-based special needs dog rescue Mac’s Mission on November 8 after he was found wandering the streets in the freezing cold. The extra tail was diagnosed by veterinarians to be harmless and there are no plans to remove it for health reasons. Unfortunately, the tail doesn’t wag. Despite receiving hundreds of applications, Mac’s Mission is letting the furry unicorn enjoy the celebrity life before officially putting him up for adoption.

3. Woman Opens Home to 97 Dogs During Hurricane Dorian

Shelter from the storm. Photo by Chella Phillips

With Hurricane Dorian bearing down on the Bahamas in early September, Nassau resident Chella Phillips opened her home to 97 homeless and abandoned pups in need of refuge. Cleanup was challenging, but Phillips packed the majority of her four-legged guests into her spacious master bedroom and calmed them with treats and affection as the storm intensified. A crowdfunding campaign also raised over $70,000 to help defray the costs of caring for her bountiful brood. Phillips is no stranger to sheltering Bahamian dogs in need. Over the last 15 years, she has assisted over 1,000 stray dogs and found homes in the United States for 200 others.

2. Military Working Dog Takes Down ISIS Leader

A true American hero. Photo by

On October 26, a Special Ops Military Working Dog named Conan helped U.S. Forces track down ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on a covert mission in Syria that resulted in Baghdadi's death. Conan, who was wounded during the raid, performed his duties admirably, earning high praise from President Donald Trump. Fully recovered from his injuries, the heroic Belgian Malinois was invited to the White House on November 25 to receive a medal for bravery in combat. Conan is presently back at work helping keep America safe.

1. Grumpy Cat Passes Away

“Deal with it.” Photo by

What began with a photo of an irritable-looking kitty posted on Reddit in September 2012 quickly morphed into internet stardom for a female calico cat named Tardar Sauce. Caused by a combination of feline dwarfism and an underbite, Tardar Sauce’s perpetually ornery expression was used to create photoshopped parodies under the nickname “Grumpy Cat.” Her instant fame led to numerous interviews, TV commercials, film roles, books and a line of Grumpy Cat merchandise that includes shirts, mugs and stuffed toys. Sadly on May 14, Grumpy Cat passed on to the great cattery in the sky at the age of 7, leaving behind a lasting legacy filled with countless internet memes.

What is your favorite pet story of 2019? Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!

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