2014: The Year in Dogs

As we approach the New Year, it’s time to review some of the highlights of 2014. No, we are not talking about the year’s biggest news stories, best movies, top songs or most amazing sports moments. DogTails wants to review 2014 the way we know best – the Year in Dogs! Below are some of the most memorable dog (and cat) stories of the past year. Enjoy, and a Happy New Year to hound and human alike!

January
The year started off strong for dogs, when an adorable yellow Lab puppy and his Clydesdale friends won the other battle of Superbowl Sunday – the race for the best commercial! Budweiser premiered its one minute “Puppy Love” spot during a break in the 4th quarter of the game, and captured hearts around the world. In fact, USA Today voters rated it the top ad of the game. The spot was so successful that Budweiser premiered a “sequel” in September – “Friends are Waiting” – which warns against drunk driving by highlighting the bond between a man and his yellow Lab buddy. Budweiser is no doubt hard at work on their next Super Bowl ad, but we think it will be hard to top this year’s winning campaign.

February
One of the most memorable stories of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia this past February took place off the podium. Days before the Games began, news spread of efforts by animal lovers to save the many stray dogs of Sochi, some of whom were being killed in a effort to clear the streets before the Opening Ceremony. As athletes and fans arrived in the city and met some of the surviving dogs, some fell in love and vowed to take them home as pets after the Games ended. These adopters included US skiing silver medalist Gus Kenworthy, who posted photos of a litter of stray puppies on his Twitter account, eventually taking home two of them (now named Jake and Mishka). Leaving with a medal AND two new best friends – now that’s a great Olympic story!

March
March brought the annual Global Pet Expo, held in Orlando, FL, featuring 985 exhibitors and thousands of new products for every pet and pet owner. Dog products debuting at the event included the Tuggo dog toy, a toy that allows your dog to play tug-of-war by himself! The ball-and-rope design can be filled with water (weighing up to 20lbs), thus providing resistance and lots of fun for the tug-loving dog. Another innovative product – the iCPooch, a video-chat/remote treat dispensing tool – was introduced at the Expo by its 14 year-old inventor, Brooke Martin. Pretty impressive work for a high school freshman!

April
On April 8, a Metro-North Hudson Line train traveling from the Bronx to Manhattan moved a lot slower than usual, as a Shepherd-Collie mix ran ahead of it on the tracks. A situation that could have ended in tragedy ended happily thanks to a team effort – train engineer Joseph Delia slowed the train’s speed to avoid hitting her, rail traffic controller Alex Rodriguez signaled ahead to warn about her presence on the tracks, and MTA Police Officers Luis Alvarez and Errold Borges pulled her off the tracks to safety at the Harlem-125th Street station. The dog, who was limping but quite friendly, was nicknamed “Tie” (after all of the railroad ties she had jumped over on her journey). Tie’s next stop after the tracks was Animal Care & Control’s Manhattan Animal Care Center in East Harlem, where she was treated for her injury and recovered. Her dramatic story attracted many potential adopters, and she eventually went home with the Miller family, joining their equally playful Collie mix. Good luck and safe travels (off the tracks, of course!) to Tie and her new family!

May
On May 17, the world of Presidential pups got a little bit smaller. Miss Beazley, one of two Scottish Terriers who lived in the White House with President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush, passed away after a battle with lymphoma. Her Scotty relative and fellow White House dog, Barney, passed away in 2013. The former President shared the sad news on his Facebook page, saying “she was a source of joy during our time in Washington and in Dallas. She was a close companion to her blood relative, Barney. And even though he received all the attention, Beazley never held a grudge against him.” Goodbye Miss Beazley, we’ll miss you!

June
In June, a blind dog got to see his owners for again for the first time in months, and the world got to share in this joyous event thanks to a video shared by his owner. Benjamin May had watched over a 3-5 month period as Duffy, his 8 year-old Irish Terrier, lost his vision due to diabetes. In January, Benjamin’s family took Duffy to the Veterinary Referral Center in Malvern, PA for correction eye surgery. The procedure was a success, and Benjamin was there to film Duffy’s excited reaction to seeing him and his parents for the first time in months. Despite his “cone of shame,” Duffy was all wiggles, smiles and whimpers to see his beloved people again! After Benjamin posted the video on sharing site Reddit in June, it quickly went viral, eventually achieving over 7 million views on YouTube. Duffy’s family reports that, although he needs regular treatment for his diabetes, his vision is still strong and he has had no complications.

July
What’s cuter than a newborn baby? How about a newborn baby cuddling with a puppy? A 16-second video of 11 week-old Eisleigh and 9 week-old Pit Bull puppy Clyde cuddling together in a baby seat became another viral video sensation when Eisleigh’s mother Brandi Hodges posted the clip to her Instagram account. In an interview after the clip spread all over Facebook, Brandi said: “My fiance and I are both die hard animal lovers and adore pit bulls. We’ve always said we would get a puppy when we have a baby so they can grow up together and have a special bond. We never knew it would be as sweet as this.” Brandi has continued to chronicle the bond between her baby and her Bully on Instagram, and judging by the latest photos, the two are still best friends and still make an unbelievable cute pair.

August
August brought us one of the stranger dog stories of 2014. As part of a competition at ad agency BBH to create buzz around a campaign, a group of interns created profiles for adoptable dogs on the dating website Tinder. The 10 dogs, who were all from Social Tees Animal Rescue in New York City, got 2,700 matches in less than a week (most likely making a lot of single New Yorkers quite jealous)! These “matches” then received more information about the dog and the shelter, where they could meet the dogs (their first “date,” so to speak). While we are not sure about the success rate of this “dating” program, it is certainly a unique and fun way to raise awareness about shelter dogs. Tinder users, “swipe right” to meet your furry soulmate!

September
A month before Halloween, we learned of a terrifying new monster – the mutant giant spider dog! Polish filmmaker Sylwester Wardega dressed up his medium-size black mixed breed dog Chica in a frighteningly realistic looking spider costume and set him loose to scare some unsuspecting passersby. The video is both scary and totally hilarious. The reaction shots are great, but the very best part might be the end, when we see the smiling pup frolicking and licking his human friends, showing just how sweet he is when he’s not scaring the bejesus out of you. The rest of the world appears to share our enthusiasm, for YouTube named it the top trending clip of the year, with over 120 million views.

October
Ebola was perhaps the biggest news story of 2014, as the deadly disease struck thousands worldwide. In October, a rare piece of positive news on the topic drew cheers, as Dallas nurse Nina Pham, who had treated an Ebola patient and contracted the disease herself, was released from the hospital. Also cleared of the disease – her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Bentley. While Nina was being treated, Bentley was in quarantine at Dallas Animal Services, where he underwent many tests and was seen to by caretakers in hazmat suits. After receiving a clean bill of health, Bentley was reunited with Nina, to her delight and the delight of the many people worldwide who had kept her and her beloved dog in their thoughts during her illness. Describing the reunion, Nina said “It feels like Christmas literally. I just can’t imagine just having my best friend back. It’s an amazing feeling.”

November
Sure, she’s not a dog, but how can we talk about 2014 without mentioning Grumpy Cat? The most famous cat on the internet, Grumpy (whose real name is Tardar Sauce), continued to grab headlines this year, be it for her super cool agent, her starring role in her own TV movie that premiered in November, and her well-publicized (but probably exaggerated) $100 million annual earnings. Can the dour feline maintain her status as the most famous celebrity pet in 2015? We’ll have to wait and see. Grumpy cat, however, remains unconcerned.

December
The last story of our Year in Dogs is perfect for the season of giving (and not giving up). Derby is a rescue dog who was born with a deformity in his front legs that severely limited his mobility. Luckily, foster mom Tara Anderson works for a 3D printing company called 3D Systems in Rock Hill, SC, and she and her company were determined to find a solution to help Derby run and play with other dogs. 3D Systems created custom 3D-printed prostheses for Derby, and documented the process in this YouTube video. With these new prostheses, Derby now runs 2-3 miles a day with his adopted family Sherry and Dom Portanova. Hats off to the designers, Derby’s foster mom, his adoptive parents and the unstoppable pup himself!

We hope you’ve enjoyed these 12 stories from the Year in Dogs, and we look forward to sharing many more stories like these with you in 2015!

Photo Credits

Top Row, Left to Right: Susan Sterner – Whitehouse.gov, “Miss Beazley Arrives at the White House” via Wikipedia; Gus Kenworthy (@guskenworthy) via Twitter; Brandi Hodges (@brandileigh080) via Instagram; still from YouTube video from Budweiser

Bottom Row, Left to Right: Nina Pham via Facebook via CNN; still from YouTube video from SA Wardega; still from YouTube video from Puppy Love; still from YouTube video from 3D Systems

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