It was an easy guess that the highly trained Navy SEAL team dog would take Time magazine's Animal of the Year honor. But the runner up might make a nice sidekick for the Person of the Year, The Protester. The No. 2 animal of the year is Loukanikos, the protest dog in Athens.

Share story

It was an easy guess that the highly trained Navy SEAL team dog would take Time magazine’s Animal of the Year honor. But the runner up might make a nice sidekick for the Person of the Year, The Protester. The No. 2 animal of the year is Loukanikos, the protest dog in Athens.

Seeing the list of top animals got us to thinking about some other memorable stories about pets and working animals from this past year. Here are a few of the stories that touched our hearts, made us smile and laugh or just made us pause.

Dog knows names for 1,022 items
Chaser, a border collie who lives in Spartanburg, S.C., has the largest vocabulary of any known dog. She knows 1,022 proper nouns, a record that displays unexpected depths of the canine mind and may help explain how children acquire language.

UK soldier, loyal dog make final journey together
Liam and Theo were a team, fast friends doing a dangerous job – searching out roadside bombs laid by insurgents in Afghanistan.

12-year-old cat with 2 faces sets record
Frank and Louie the cat was born with two faces, two mouths, two noses, three eyes — and lots of doubts about his future.

Many eager for stray dog who survived gassing
A young stray that survived a dog pound’s gas chamber is beginning a new life with a new name, Daniel.

Four legs and an eye for landscaping
The dog was needy, messy, he had to be walked and he got between us. He was perfect.

Pet tortoise, about 90, survives garage fire
Pokey, a pet Mojave Desert tortoise, is awake for the first time in a December after surviving a fire in the Livermore, Calif., garage where he was hibernating.

Nearly mailed puppy paired with new owner
A Minnesota puppy that made headlines when it was saved from a likely deadly trip through the mail went home with a new owner Friday – an exuberant Minneapolis woman who was thrilled to welcome the fuzzy black dog into her life.

9 lives, 1 leash: Adventures in training a cat
A growing number of animal behaviorists believe that training and walking cats is not only possible, but good for the cat.

This blind dog can really hunt
Watch Norm Moody’s English setter, Golly, work a field for pheasants or sharp-tailed grouse, and you never would know the dog has a major handicap: He’s blind.

Rescued horse is a rising star with police, community
When Lobo the horse was rescued, his tongue was lacerated, his ribs poked out and his halter was so entrenched that screwdrivers were needed to pry it off. Today, he’s working with a police department and enjoys stepping up to the drive-through window at Starbucks.

By helping a girl testify at trial, a dog ignites a legal debate
The defense plans to appeal the use of Rosie, a dog who comforts witnesses in courtrooms.

Dog gets hugs from owner after tsunami rescue
A dog rescued from drifting ocean debris immediately jumped to her owner and wagged her tail at their reunion more than three weeks after Japan’s tsunami.

Pets as bedmates: Who’s master in this bedroom?
Sharing a mattress with pets has its risks: germs, crowding and rivalries. It also has its rewards: unconditional love.

After 8 years, lost dog is home for holidays
Perhaps a million pets get lost every year, and about 3.7 million are killed at shelters. Petunia beat the odds. She was found in a wilderness area 2,700 miles from her Virginia farm and sent home eight years after she was lost.

Got a favorite pet story from 2011? Add a note in the comments area of this post.

For a roundup of the most-read posts from Tails of Seattle, the pets blog, click here.