Once again, we pay tribute to the faithful companions who have comforted us during COVID - petsitterbank

Once again, we pay tribute to the faithful companions who have comforted us during COVID

If 2021 had a mascot, it could have been Bandito, the one-eyed cat.

After a second year defined by the pandemic, we are all feeling crippled, disjointed and exhausted, but we have also become undeniably resilient as we navigate this new world.

The seven short months of Bandito’s life, so far, have been similarly shaped by struggle.

The black and white domestic shorthair landed at Best Friends Veterinary Medical Center in South Portland as a young kitten after wandering around a ranch with only one eye. The breeder brought the stray to the clinic and Bandito was quickly adopted by one of the technicians working that day.

“It looked like he had walked a long time,” says Bandito owner Meghan Howard-Hakala, “because the soles of his feet, even at 12 weeks, were all brown from his long journey from where ‘he comes.’

Bandito received more votes than any of the other 702 nominated animals and is the 2022 crown champion of WWAnnual pet competition, presented by the DoveLewis Veterinary Emergency Hospital. Portland, after all, still likes to root for the underdog, uh, cat.

One of the little joys of COVID has been the great comfort our fur babies have given us.

In this issue, you’ll find a photo tribute to nearly two dozen of these pets, from fluffy bunnies and adorable ducks to a goat Portlanders are looking to be the face of the next cryptocurrency. Click here to see the full results of our Pet Pageant, in which over 11,000 votes were cast.

For tips on how to help your dog cope with the slow return to the office, we spoke with two behavioral specialists about the steps that will prepare Fido for an eight-hour workday on his own.

We also asked local vets to explain why appointments are becoming rarer than cream cheese.

If you’ve ever thought about adopting a pet, whether out of the goodness of your heart or simply out of fear of a long-term commitment, a woman who served as a temporary caretaker for dozens of kittens describes the process.

We discovered a homeowner in the Overlook neighborhood who is turning heads with a gym in the jungle of feeders for squirrels and a mini condo for stray cats.

Finally, we’ve rounded up the best bar patios in each neighborhood, where four-legged friends aren’t just allowed, they’re adopted, and dog-friendly amenities abound.

A one-eyed cat may seem like a silly symbol of hope during a global health crisis, but these are unusual times. Now is where he should shine.

—Andi Prewitt, Arts and Culture Editor

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