Let’s forget 2020—except for these pets.

By April Saylor
December 30, 2020
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Credit: Sylvain Cordier / Getty

There’s no denying 2020 has been a tough year for all of us because of *gestures wildly at everything*. But there has been one silver lining to come out of all this time sequestered away at home: More time with our pets. Dogs, cats—and yes even a few other furry and feathered friends!—made this year (and our endless scrolling through social media) a little more tolerable in 2020.

Here are a few of the best pets to join us in quarantine. 

‘Big Bags of Seed for Me?!’ 

This video of a bird who won’t go swimming single-handedly carried me through the darkest hours of spring, when the coronavirus pandemic threatened to drown me in a pool of my own tears. And then Fefe the rescue parrot showed up with a literal pool, and all seemed to be right in the world again while I played this continually on loop. Her adorably cautious hesitation around the water was captured in a hilarious voiceover version by comic Dulo Folarin Harris (@iamdulo). It’s the funniest thing I’ve seen all year, and I watch dog videos for a living. Don’t @ me.

Olive and Mabel Compete for Our Hearts

Lockdown had everyone getting creative from the confines of home, including BBC sports announcer Andrew Cotter. The Scottish sportscaster used his time away from golf and tennis this spring to entertain the world with the everyday antics of his two gorgeous Labs—the 7-year-old Olive and youngster Mabel. His commentary through a series of increasingly hilarious events made the rather mundane, everyday life with dogs feel like a masterpiece. Cotter even used his pandemic downtime to write a book about his pups: Olive, Mabel & Me. If their YouTube success is any indicator of what to expect, this is going to be one super fun read.

Loved It, Couldn’t Wear It

This too-relatable video of an Italian greyhound showing off all the outfits she couldn’t wear because of canceled plans is the most 2020 thing to come out of this terrible year. “So many outfits, nowhere to wear them,” she says while modeling cat-walk-ready fashions. Preachin’ to the choir, Tika.

‘Mr. Sandman’ Cat on TikTok

Do you ever wake up with a song already stuck in your head? If yes, there’s a pretty good chance it’s this one. “Mr. Sandman,” the classic tune from the 1950s, got a hilarious refresh on TikTok thanks to an adorable tabby cat with some well-timed choreography.

The Masked Rider

In a summer when everyone was wearing a mask, this raccoon reminded me that mask wearing doesn’t mean you can’t have some good old-fashioned homemade fun. The kind you get just ridin’ around in a bucket swing in your four-wheeler. As you do. Like the dogs who make a guest appearance in this video, part of me wants to ask So Many Questions. But I quelled those urges and just went along for the ride—again and again. 

Stella, the Lab Who Loves Leaves

Sure, the first chilly day of fall gives anyone a little thrill. Sweater weather and pumpkin spice season is right around the corner, after all. But nothing compares to the excitement Stella (@dognamedstella) has for autumn. This Labrador retriever loves jumping in leaf piles. And who could blame her!? This good girl gets so much air, she even has her own alter-ego (Judith) who appears in butterfly costume on Instagram for peak leaf-jumping time. Bonus clip: Watch Stella show her dark side when the humans finally come to take the leaves. Spooky pup!

When Your Roommate Forgets You’re on Zoom

Barking in the background, cats walking across the keyboard, and plenty of other moments made us laugh (maybe cry) in the middle of client presentations and classroom lessons as we worked from home alongside our pets. But while most of our pet faux paws may have interrupted a Zoom meeting or two, they didn’t interrupt an entire newscast. Local news anchors across the country weren’t so lucky, and shared the screen with their pets in stride during live broadcasts. We’re particularly impressed with Lola the weather beagle, Cheryl Scott’s 12-year-old pup who regularly steals the show on ABC 7 Chicago.

Or When Your Roommate Prioritizes Food Over Manners

Speaking of cats who are mostly interested in their own agendas, this gray kitty (identified as Tiger) at Canterbury Cathedral is so focused on her own breakfast that she doesn’t even notice Dean Robert is leading viewers in a daily meditation. Not content with the bit that’s been left for her on the ground, she hops up on the table and starts dunking her paw directly in the milk! Luckily, the unflappable Dean Robert is accustomed to sharing his daily program with animals. He’s often joined by Leo the black cat or a host of pigs and chickens. I only wish I could be so calm when one of my menagerie shows up hungry for the daily staff meeting on Zoom! 

Found a Stick on the Ground

This TikTok challenge pairs an outrageously funny audio with users’ pups as they triumphantly parade around with a stick. You know the ones—the bigger, the better. Turn your sound up, the lyrics are totally LOL-worthy.

Sometimes My Lips Get Stuck

If you’re a doggo parent who didn’t sing this song to your pup, are you even an animal lover?! This viral TikTok trend reached full meme status with its original audio. In the series, the ridiculous lyrics by @puppysongs (“Sometimes my lips get stuck on my teefs”) are paired with footage of pups whose lips, well, got stuck on their teeth. To say I’m obsessed would be an understatement.

Perseverance! 

Ever feel like giving up sometime this year? (Yes.) That’s understandable, but Dash the dachshund is the embodiment of perseverance. This puppy is little; the stairs are big! Doesn’t matter! Dash climbs them like a champ because, as the song says, ain’t nothin’ gonna break his stride. 

Now we just need a Dash workout video to get us in shape in 2021. Maybe play this in the background? 

Night at the Opera

Who needs opera tickets when you can get just as good of a show from the comfort of your favorite chair? Plus, it’s not like you had the option for the in-person version. Instead, you get the much better option—in our mind—of Hugo the golden retriever’s dulcet tones. 

We especially enjoyed his holiday stylings over the past month, but he’s also an opera aficionado. He particularly likes singing along with his three buddies: Pavarotti, Carreras, and Domingo. All four are tenors, you know. So before the year is out, knock back that last bit of eggnog and enjoy.

Making a Break from the Big House

Sometimes you feel like life is just one challenge after another (I’m lookin’ at you, 2020). But this adorable hamster working his way through an elaborate “prison” break—complete with twirling blades of doom and crazy tilting floors—made me believe there’s no obstacle I can’t overcome. And that maybe there really IS a clever way to reuse all those Amazon delivery boxes I’ve been shoving under the bed. 

Job Well Done

When you need a job done, according to this list, apparently, you call a dachshund. Dash took on the stairs, and then we have Frankie taking on the sheep herding duties. 

Back in the fall, we saw this video of Frankie getting his charges where they need to go—and making quick work of it, too, we might add. They all (mostly in an orderly fashion) make their way into the desired pen at Frankie’s urging. He even keeps a few stragglers from trying to escape from the end of the queue. 

His mastery brought to mind the sheep-herding expertise of Babe the pig. Who’s better? Find out here

Meanwhile, this bird’s-eye view of a border collie doing his thing is absolutely mesmerizing. 

Best Welcome Home

It never gets old. I know what’s coming … The lady pulls into her driveway … Stops … And suddenly: one! two! dog noses pop out of the holes in the fence! Little dark eyes blinking excitedly, and there’s a little adorable whining as if the dogs are saying, “Your home! You’re home! I can’t wait to sniff you!” No matter how many times I watch this, I’m delighted every time their little snouts and eyeballs magically appear. 

A Photo Finish

Cats are elite athletes, too, and this video proves it. Most of these two-legged sprinters stood no chance against the stray cat we’ve since named Carl after the all-time great. He showed great promise with his closing speed, and to be quite honest, it’s a little fun to see world-class sprinters get outdone by a stray cat. Great job, Carl! 

By our judgement, the cat took home the bronze. As a year, 2020 would finish dead last. Let’s hope for better in 2021—but that our pets are still here to make us smile.