And the winner is…

This level of cuteness must not be confined to a single household. Nukka, an Alaskan Malamute, is this year’s Mt. Lebanon Cutest Pet. Reign well, Malagator. Photo by George Mendel.

Pets. Pets are the true MVPs of 2020. With all of its fears, stresses and disappointments, 2020 has been the year that feels like a decade, and we’ve all depended on our pets even more than usual to do what they do best—be loving, fun and cute.

For this reason, we knew that our 2020 Mt. Lebanon’s Cutest Pet Contest was of the utmost importance to our community, the world at large and, really, the universe, to help restore balance and peace.
The contest is in its fourth year, and it had some firsts. Daisy was our first snail, teaching us that you don’t need to have fur or bones to be a cutie patootie. We also saw our first-ever “what is it?” entry, where we each questioned what sort of animal the adorable poof-ball named Mochi could be (although we decided she might be a hamster, turns out she is in fact a bunny).

Round one had 50 entries. Five of them, all dogs, moved on to the final round. Fiona the happy Boston Terrier and Dublin the self-proclaimed “Mayor of Park Entrance,” entered the final round tied, and the competition was close—Fiona finished in fifth and Dublin in fourth. Clementine, a cheerful rescue with a priceless smile, took third with 78 votes. Our runner-up, Bailey, came in second place with 113, but decided to forfeit his prize to Clementine. His mom said, “I really only entered to show that Bailey is still cute even after recently having his eye removed. Thank you so much for that opportunity!”

Nukka the Alaskan Malamute came out on top as the clear winner with 161 cumulative votes. Affectionately referred to as “The Malagator” by her family, Nukka was born in June and loves to explore and play, especially with her feline siblings. She already knows more than nine commands, including touch, paw and speak, and she’s training to become a therapy dog.

Many thanks to our sponsor, Dean Car Wash and Dog Wash, for gift certificates for our winners. And our heartfelt thanks to all who participated. Having our newsfeed filled with cuteness for a week is always a pleasure, but it was particularly welcome this year.