Some of the most popular moments of the year revolved around animals.
From the story of three dogs who helped their dog walker survive two nights in Coquitlam’s backcountry, to the sea lion that pulled a girl into the water in Steveston, they shocked us, they made us laugh, and some of them warmed our hearts.
Here are the top animal stories of 2017:
A Coquitlam family found itself facing down three cougars after two wild cats ran from Noons Creek on to their property.
They banked on the windows and their Australian shepherd barked at them before they left.
But then they came back — one sat on their fence, another perched in their tree.
One of them was particularly stubborn it growled and bared its teeth as the couple used a bear horn to try to scare them off.
The cougars’ behaviour wasn’t considered “abnormal” enough for the Conservation Officer Service to intervene.
Cary McCook had just hopped out of a co-worker’s truck at the Stork Nest Inn in Smithers when a deer leapt, headbutted him and knocked him down in a surveillance video that drew many thousands of views.
The deer was apparently being chased by a dog.
“I find it more hilarious the more I watch it,” McCook said.
Another day, another cougar encounter in the Tri-Cities Area.
SkyTrain surveillance video showed two adult cougars walking along the tracks through an Evergreen Line station in Port Moody at about 4:10 a.m.
Officials weren’t immediately certain of how the cats ended up on the tracks.
Two fishermen who were scouting the Fraser River for a new fishing business came upon a stunning discovery: a sturgeon covered in “vivid, golden spots and golden plates on its skull.”
Normally, sturgeons are gray or white.
The fish was just under six feet long, meaning it was approximately 20-years-old. Sturgeon are known to live for over a century.
The discovery was released back into the river.
One of the most shocking animal stories of the year happened at Steveston Wharf, where a girl was pulled into the water by a sea lion.
And it was all caught on tape.
As the girl sat down on the dock, the sea lion reached up with its mouth and dragged her in before a member of her family jumped in to fish her out.
The girl had a “superficial wound,” according to the Vancouver Aquarium.
Just as the raptors learned to open doors in Jurassic Park, bears appear to have learned how to open vehicles in Whistler.
That was certainly true of a black bear that was seen opening a van door and then spent about 12 minutes inside.
He’s been a fixture at Vancouver’s Pacific National Exhibition (PNE), and his face adorns a t-shirt.
But earlier this year, Canuck the Crow added to his fame when he visited a McDonald’s on Hastings and Cassiar Streets, where he walked on tables and helped himself to diners’ food.
Swimmers at Whytecliff Park had a bit of a surprise in July when a pod of orcas approached them.
The swimmers hopped out of the water and on to the rocks as fast as they could.
Wildfires were raging. Communities were being evacuated.
Amid the chaos, Likely, B.C. resident Cindy Roddick thought that everyone could use a good laugh.
So she shared the story of how she told her son to spray-paint her phone number on the family’s two horses in case they had to be released during an evacuation.
Her son didn’t quite follow instructions — he painted their horse Rosie pink from head to hoof, prompting Roddick to exclaim, “What the hell happened to my horse?”
Luckily, the paint could be washed off with water.
In Deroche, a community east of Mission, an eagle was spotted swooping down and grabbing a hen right off the ground.
The hen had some help. A neighbour’s cows appeared to corner the eagle and chase it off.
But that wasn’t enough in the end. The eagle made off with its prey.
A video circulated by the Critter Care Wildlife Society in Langley showed two beavers grooming themselves after they were doused in motor oil.
The oil was eventually washed out of their fur.
But the video served as a reminder of how not to dispose of oil.
One of the most emotional stories of the year involved the rescue of Annette Poitras, a dog walker who spent over two days lost in the Coquitlam backcountry.
Poitras was walking three dogs in a watershed area when she fell and lost her cellphone.
It would be days before search and rescue personnel found her. And in the meantime, collie Chloe, boxer Roxy and puggle Bubba stayed by her side, cuddling with her, standing on guard and ultimately helping to keep her alive.
“We can learn a lot of things from dogs,” Annette’s husband Marcel Poitras said.
The only way to describe the expression on the face of a dog that waited for its owner in a vehicle at Nanaimo’s Beban Park.
A video posted on Facebook showed the dog leaning on a horn, as if to rush its owner back from whatever else was being attended to.