It doesn’t take much for an animal to look adorable, but this bunch of creatures managed to turn up the cuteness dial to another level. Some of these pets and wild animals were in the middle of the year’s most harrowing natural disasters.
Ryo Taira lifts a porpoise out of a flooded rice field after it was swept by the tsunami and earthquake in Sendai, Japan.
A sheep is rescued from a farm in Vermont after flash floods left it stranded due to flooding from Hurricane Irene.
A cat sits on top of a Kosovo Serb man's hat in front of German soliders at a village in Jagnjenica, Serbia.
Harper the Pitbull puppy was given away in a trash bag. She was so afflicted by a rigor-mortis-like condition that she could barely move. Today, she's walking almost like a normal dog.
Ciuchcia, a four-month-old dog, chases a cat in a courtyard at a shelter for homeless animals in Poland. Ciuchcia's rear legs were paralyzed after he was physically abused and abandoned with his two siblings on a train track. The dog survived despite being run over by a number of trains.
From the photographer Mrs. Wai Chun:
"Taken in June this year during a game drive at Nakuru National Park in Kenya. Rounding a bend on the track I came upon not one but seven of these magnificent young lions draped across the branches of an acacia tree. Some are dozing and some are looking disdainfully at me. I was transfixed by these superb, regal creatures. What a privilege for me to have witnessed this amazing moment."
An African spurred tortoise with two heads and five legs is displayed in Slovakia.
A kitten is given oxygen after being saved in a house fire in Missoula, Montana.
Medo the bear plays with the Logar family dog in Podvrh village in central Slovenia,
A black rhino is transported by helicopter in South Africa. This was all part of a relocation plan for black rhinos, meant to move the endangered species to less populated areas so that they have a better shot at survival.
Iris licks her 7-week-old cub during one of their first walks in an open-air cage at the Royev Ruchey zoo in Russia's Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk.
From photographer Amy Sly:
"Amid the crowds of protestors and media in Zuccotti Park, this little guy was just hanging out on Danielle's shoulder. She found the squirrel a few months ago under a tree near her house after a heavy storm. Its legs were broken and a veterinarian told her it likely wouldn't recover. Instead of putting the squirrel down, Danielle adopted it and nursed it back to health. Now they go everywhere together. The squirrel's name is Hazelnut, she likes peanut butter, and her leash is made of braided hemp."
A Kamchatka Brown Bear and one of her two three-month-old cubs share a kiss in Hamburg, Germany.
A dog wanders around the exclusion zone in Fukushima, Japan.
Zukhro, an employee of a Russian city zoo, walks with Vadik, an 18-month-old male lion.
An Oklahoma woman suffering from depression has found solace in the company of a kangaroo, but local city officials worry that the therapy pet — a partially paralyzed kangaroo — could become a public safety risk.
A boy plays with a cat while his father works on their shack at the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas, Venezuela on May 31.
Jonna Baquillas holds her pet, a rescued cat named Rue, for an event to benefit the Philippine Animal Welfare Society in Manilla, Philippines.
Jess, a seven-year-old female cat, looks on as a mouse runs by in a back yard in Gosport, England.
A Slovenian soldier pets a puppy on the road in the village of Rudare near Mitrovica.
A flood-affected resident stands with her dogs at her flooded house in Thailand.
Mammals keeper Kylie Hackshall gets close to a baby spotted-tail quoll.
Misty Pate loads her dogs Abby and Roani along with her other pets in her truck as she prepares to evacuate from a forest fire in Springerville, Arizona.
A 7-year-old female elephant named Laxmi reaches with her trunk to touch her 13-month old daughter in India.
Dogs take part in the 2011 Surfing Dog competition in California.
A pet bear sits among residents who escaped to higher ground from their flooded village in the Tando Allahyar district of Pakistan.
Alex, a seven-year-old German shepherd, guards the body of her mother, Lexus. Lexus passed away in a tornado on April 27 in Concord, Alabama.
A woman comforts her dog during an aftershock at an evacuation center for pets and their owners in Japan.
Two-year-old chimpanzee "Do Do" feeds milk to "Aorn", a 60-day-old tiger cub.
This little orange seal has been ostracized by his fellows for being ginger. Also, unfortunately, he is almost blind. He was found waiting for his mother under a log on Tyuleniy Island in Russia. He was picked up and taken by staff at a dolphinarium to keep him from anymore emotional stress.
Researchers dressed in panda costumes put a panda cub into a basket before transferring it to a new living environment at the Hetaoping Research and Conservation Center on February 20. The panda costumes are part of a new plan to reintroduce captive giant pandas back into the wild.
A macaque monkey in Indonesia took a camera from a wildlife photographer before snapping himself in a variety of poses. The macaque monkey is extremely rare and critically endangered making these pictures all the more special.
Carrie Clark and Ted Garver remove her cat Tucker from her destroyed apartment in Joplin, Missouri. Clark said she last saw him moments before Sunday's deadly tornado and had found him only minutes before under a bed frame.
"Frank and Louie" is the world's longest surviving "janus" feline. He's 12-years-old. The cat, who's name is "Frank and Louie", has two mouths, two noses and three eyes. Frank and Louie have one brain, so the faces react in unison.
A little girl saves a baby lamb from a farm near the village of Kirkjubaejarklaustur in Iceland. People living next to the glacier where the Grimsvotn volcano burst into life were most affected. Ash shut out daylight and smothered buildings and vehicles.
Loukanikos, the riot dog, watches as riot policemen try to avoid an exploding petrol bomb thrown by protesters during a demonstration in Athens, Greece.
A baby hippo and his mother Nicole are pictured at the Berlin Zoo.
A zoo keeper holds a 9-month-old baby orangutan orphan named Boo as he plays with a toy.
A one year-old gorilla named Uzuri eats a salad at a zoo in Germany.
Famous cross-eyed opossum Heidi inspects her new home at the newly built tropical hall of the Zoo in Leipzig, Germany. Unfortunately, Heidi passed away in September.
Christina Kosorygina weighs a one-month-old jaguar cub at the Leningrad city zoo in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Tyson receives dental treatment at a veterinary clinic in Medellin, Colombia.
A dog named "Leao" sits for a second consecutive day next to the grave of her owner, Cristina Maria Cesario Santana, who died in catastrophic landslides in Brazil.
Abandoned dogs look through the window of a flooded temple in Ayutthaya province in Thailand.
Japan soldiers rescue a pet dog and a woman at a village which was flooded due to typhoon Roke in Japan in September.
A veterinarian and an animal shelter owner in Sao Paulo, Brazil take care of a paralyzed lion. The lion, who's name is Ariel, was born with a degenerative disease that has left him unable to use his four legs for the past year. (AP)
A dog looks out from a window as a woman comes out from the door of her house in the ancient city of Bhaktapur near Nepal's capital.
A baby dolphin with its umbilical cord still attached was found beached near Montevideo city, Uruguay. Luckily, a rescue organization got involved and and nursed the little guy back to health.
12 giant panda cubs lie in a crib at the Chengdu Research Base in China.
Japan Coast Guard members rescue a dog that survived the Japanese earthquake and three weeks at sea!