Critter Files was dreamed about long before we officially launched last Dec. 8, 2013 and started because we knew that critter stories weren’t just click bait or attempts to get readers to go awww.
We believe that when people recognize the lessons we can learn from critters, we have a better understanding of ourselves, whether it’s birds or guinea pigs, moose or sharks. Or even moose-eating sharks.
For years, we’ve had a critter count between us. At the beginning of each year, the count would be reset to zero and we would challenge each other to see who could write the most critter stories for our newspapers. We were lucky to live in regions where lots of critters managed to come into some kind of encounters with humans. Each of us counted ourselves as winners.
But we always wondered why there wasn’t there ever a single source for all critter news. When we finally had the chance to start Critter Files, we realized that we weren’t the only readers who loved these stories.
Some of you have found us through word-of-mouth, through the advocacy work you do with rescue organizations like the Mia Foundation, the rescue group that helps pets with extreme birth defects or Gozques, which aims to help the hundreds of stray dogs in Colombia.
Tragedies and the awareness of how loyal our canine companions really are brought many of you to discover us for the first time.
When Danny the service dog whose owner RCMP Cst. Dave Ross was killed in the line of duty in Moncton, the German Shepherd’s devotion at the memorial service had many across Canada in tears. And when Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was killed by an extremist outside the National War Memorial in Ottawa, our story about his love of dogs left many readers aware of how one man could have a major impact on so many people and critters’ lives.
Others have found us through strange searches–we get a surprising number of hits every week from curious people typing in tourists humping and we get a lot of satisfaction knowing that the sight of an elephant straddling a car may not be exactly the image they were searching for.
Some of our most viral stories come from us recognizing there are stories out there that need to be told. When a travel company eliminated unethical Thai elephant rides, you let us know this was important to you and the decisions you make on where to vacation.
Or when we told our readers about a petition circulating to outlaw dog brothels, you were among the tens of thousands who signed up to let officials know that the practice was grotesque and deserved to be shut down.
Please keep reading and continue to let us know what stories you like and the stories we’re missing. We are around for the long term and as long as you’re out there and keep checking in with us, we’ll keep typing like our monkey mascot to bring you critter files from around the world.
Dawn and Peg