With the pandemic stretching on, some people have been looking for a little extra companionship and decided to expand their family to include a furry friend.
CBC Radio's In A Day asked listeners to send us their cutest photos of animals they adopted during the pandemic — and to tell us what that furball has meant to them.
Here is our (shamelessly) warm and fuzzy holiday story:
Just before COVID-19 struck, Sandra Miller's father Carl died. She named her new Australian shepherd puppy "Carlie" in his honour.
"[My father] was such a big part of my life," Miller said from her home in western Quebec. "What he always said was 'don't live to work, work to live, travel … and be with family'."
With the pandemic making travel and seeing family difficult, Miller is cherishing her early morning walks with Carlie, and keeping her dad's memory alive.
Jodie MacInnis is an English teacher at Philemon Wright High School. She already looking to adopt a cat when she heard the phys-ed students had rescued a kitten while out on a hike.
"When I found out there was a kitten in the principal's office, I ran," MacInnis said. She brought Poe home to her three children who showered him with all the love and affection they haven't been able to give their grandparents this year.
"Poe fell out of the sky and into our laps for a reason," she said. "The kids said it's just so nice to hug something, because they haven't hugged something in so long."
Fattoush & Broadway
Meet Fattoush and Broadway — named respectively after the Lebanese salad and show tunes that their owners CJ Huard Berro and Brooklyn Holmes love.
The guinea pigs have taught them a lot about relaxing and enjoying life, and even what it might be like if they have children of their own one day.
"We really learned how each other cares for other living beings," said Holmes. "And everything is going to be OK if we do have a family one day."
Mona is a rescue dog who arrived from the Dominican Republic in November. Mona is settling, owner Michelle Saunders wrote in an email to CBC. Mona is helping Saunders feel less isolated while working from home.
"She keeps me company and keeps me in a good mood because sometimes it's not always easy. It was the best decision we made."
Look at that face! Paco was the star of Centretown when the bulldog puppy was first brought home by owner Erin Hutchison. She said people stopped her on the street or rolled down their car windows to greet him.
Owning a puppy has had a big effect on Hutchison and her husband — not least in pushing them to buy their first house so that Paco can have a backyard.
Daisy, Felix & Stella
Empty nester Rachel Lalonde wrote that she and her husband have found life quite lonely now that the kids have left home. These three rescue kittens are "the absolute joy in our lives."
Carolyn Eaves said it took a long time to build up the courage to get a new pet after her old dog died last summer. She applied to adopt Ruby, a Maltese-Yorkie mix, and met the little pooch in August.
"It was like being on a first date, I was super nervous, I had butterflies," said Eaves. "Right away it was love at first sight. I know that may sound cheesy, but really and truly she just won me over."
Hannah Lo found her Polish dwarf rabbit for sale online. "The happiest moments I have had during the pandemic are when I am kissing her on the forehead or giving her treats," Lo wrote in an email. "She is just so freaking cute!"
Phoebe's owner, Kimberly White, saw the call out for pet pics on social media from her home in Iqaluit, Nunavut. Phoebe is a husky mix found in Kinngait. The pupper gets White out of the house often because she needs walks to burn off energy.
"In lockdown it's hard to motivate yourself to get out, but with her I was obligated to. So it was really nice to have her count on me to go for a walk."
Here's a game of cat and mouse. Owner Catherine Heinmiller said Hemlock "must be involved in all activities at all times, which can be a challenge when working and on Zoom meetings."
Yet, she said her new pet has been "a real bright spot during this difficult year."
Thank you to everyone who sent us your fur baby photos!