For the second year, we went searching for the most adorable animals in Columbia. We received entries in the form of dozens of dogs, a cache of cats and a passel of pets to populate our unique pet classification. Our panel of pet enthusiasts narrowed the entries to the final five in each “cat”egory and more than 2,100 reader votes later, the four winners were selected.
Each winner was awarded a gift certificate by Lizzi & Rocco’s Natural Pet Market, the sponsor of our digital contest, as well as the chance to be photographed and appear in this issue.
One of our criteria for judging included the originality of the pet’s “gotcha” story. There were “tails” that made us tear up; others that made us crack up. But no matter what, one thing was fur-ociously apparent: Every entrant was clearly considered a beloved blessing in their owners’ lives.
Category: Furry Feline
Owners Catrina and Charles Rehm adopted Hermes last year after their beloved dog passed away. “We decided to foster a kitty for some furry friendship during the pandemic,” Charles says. “We had never owned a cat before, and didn’t think of ourselves as cat people, but Hermes turned out to be more like a dog than even our old lab.”
Catrina says there was one moment that made them realize they just had to keep Hermes. “After a long day at work, Charles was getting ready for bed,” she says. “Hermes was already asleep in the middle of the bed, but woke up, walked over to Charles and stood up on his hind legs to give him a hug.” It was a pretty quick decision, Charles says, but Hermes continues to keep them entertained every day.
Hermes enjoys playing with his worm and fishing pole toy and loves to eat Catrina’s sushi.
Find him on Instagram @a.cat.named.hermes
Category: Compact canine
Pitbull Scoots may have a disability, Owner Alyssa Pax says, but she doesn’t let it get her down. Scoots’ back legs are paralyzed, but “She doesn’t let her disability affect her,” Pax says. “She absolutely loves life, can run and even swim with a life jacket on!
“I love how she is always happy and fits right in with other dogs; Scoots doesn’t see herself as any different and neither do we.”
Scoots is almost 4 years old and her favorite activity is spending time outdoors, just taking in the smells and sounds of nature. She doesn’t have one favorite treat, Pax says, but they haven’t yet found anything she doesn’t like. “Scoots will eat anything!”
Category: Huge hounds
Ella and Maia are maternal half-sisters, but they’re also best friends. Ella, the eldest, is a certified therapy dog, and owner Debbie Sykuta hopes to put Maia through the training now that pandemic restrictions are lifting.
“Before getting Ella, it had been several years since we had a dog,” Sykuta says, “But I knew if we ever got another, I wanted her to be a therapy dog. I saw so much joy from my dad and others in a nursing home years ago who were able to enjoy therapy dogs.”
Ella was certified two years ago, at 2 years of age, and prior to COVID, participated in the Reading to Rover program at public libraries and visited with staff, patients and patients’ loved ones at the University Hospital. “We can’t wait to start that again,” Sykuta says.
Both Ella and Maia love meeting new people and playing with their puppy pals, and have even done a little modeling. “They have modeled for a few different Etsy shops, including bandanas, tutus and accessories,” Sykuta says. “Their ‘closet’ is bigger than mine!”
Find them on Instagram @ella.maia.thegoldengirls
Category: Pet-icularly unique pet
This year’s unique pet isn’t kidding around: Isabelle was expecting some cute new additions at time of press. Check our Facebook page for a photo of the baby goats.
Isabelle is a Kinder goat, Owner Amanda Brummet says, which is a dual-purpose breed that is used for both meat and milk. Thankfully for Isabelle’s case, it’s the latter. Amanda says she had always wanted goats, and the smaller size of Kinders is perfect for them.
Isabelle, or “Miss Isabelle” as Amanda refers to her, also has a goat best friend — or herd mate, if you want to be technical: Alice. “They have the best personalities, and I could hang out with them all day,” Amanda says.
Still a young 2 years, Isabelle loves running in the pasture, balancing on logs with the Brummet’s daughters and climbing on their jungle gym. She also loves to go into town for visits, Amanda says, including trips to Lizzi & Rocco’s.
She enjoys her small amount of grain and alfalfa hay each day, but her absolutely favorite treat is animal crackers, Amanda says.