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Meet Columbia’s Cutest Pets

By Inside Columbia
Cutest Pet Winner Loki

Photos by L.G. Patterson

Meet four of Columbia’s cutest pets.

How do we know? You helped us pick! We sought out the most adorable animals to feature in our pages and received hundreds of entries of dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets and even one zebu. (Unfamiliar? So were we. It’s a form of cattle.)

Suffice to say, these were some tough choices. Not only was each submission somehow cuter than the last, the stories of how each pet joined their families were amazing to read. We took into consideration each animal’s “gotcha” story and, after nearly 3,000 votes, we declared a winner in each of our four categories.

As part of claiming their title, each winner received a prize package from our contest sponsor CountryVets, as well as a photo shoot and appearance in our magazine. Ready for “paw”-fection?

Cutest Pet Winner Chloe

Chloe
Category: Compact Canine

Chloe had a rough start to life. She was found at 8 weeks old with worms and sarcoptic mange, a contagious skin disease that meant Chloe had to be isolated from others until she was about 4 months old. Owner Lynn Hurd was Chloe’s foster mom, and Hurd fell in love immediately. “The more I worked with her, the more I knew I couldn’t let her go,” she says.

Nearly five years later, Chloe has come very far, though the lack of socialization at a young age left her shy around new people and animals. Hurd says she’s smart as a whip and eager to learn. “We don’t conquer everything because even though curious of them, some things are ‘scarier’ than others,” she says. “Chloe is a cute, dainty little girl with a big heart who really just wants to meet and love everyone if only she could get past her shyness.”

Cutest Pet Winner Turtle

Turtle
Category: Furry Feline

Not many people go on a Target run and return with a new furry companion, but that’s exactly what happened with Kayla Lewis. Lewis was heading to Target with a friend who worked for Second Chance. Before arriving at the store, they had to head to PetSmart, where someone wanted to see a cat available for adoption. The person had left by the time they arrived, but Lewis was taken immediately with the small 4-month-old kitten who had “the prettiest markings and the cutest face. I asked to hold her and she curled up on my chest and started purring.”

That was it. Turtle was coming home with Lewis.

Nearly three years later, Lewis describes Turtle as warm and loving, eager to get affection from anyone. “If you have two hands, they should be used to pet her,” Lewis says. Though she was never really a cat person before, Lewis says Turtle has definitely changed that.

Cutest Pet Winner Prince Pawl Henry

Prince Pawl Henry
Category: Huge Hound

Owner Trey Dawson connected with Prince Pawl Henry when the golden retriever was 8 weeks old. A professional dog trainer who found his calling while in recovery, Dawson says Henry assists him with training dogs all over Boone County. “I can honestly say when I needed a hand, I found a paw,” Dawson says. He sees Henry as a true testament to God, a loving companion Dawson found when he needed him. “He’s really therapeutic,” Dawson says of Henry, who often acts as a bit of a therapy dog at In2Action, a local organization that provides transitional and recovery support for those released from prison or at risk of incarceration. In fact, Dawson hopes to have Henry working in area nursing homes once the dog gets a bit older.

Henry is a huge Kansas City Chiefs fan who is best friends with Jobe, a house dog at In2Action.

Cutest Pet Winner Loki

Loki
Category: Pet-icularly Unique Pet

Amy Carver had never had ferrets before. She had seen Loki and his brother available at a local pet store but thought it would be better for someone else, someone more prepared for ferret care. Then the pair was returned a second time. She was starting to soften.

Then Loki’s brother was adopted without him. That’s when Carver caved and Loki went home with her. “I thought about renaming Loki, but the name fits because he is full of mischief,” Carver says. Since adding Loki to her family, Carver says she’s learned how smart and curious ferrets are, noting they can and will get into everything. But what surprised her more than anything was how loving, social and cuddly Loki is. “Loki is and always was a happy ferret,” Carver says. “Loki is very social and likes meeting people. He gives kisses and loves belly scratches and food.”

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