Park Record Cutest Pet Contest winners: a dog named Willow, Scurry the guinea pig and a kitty named Kitty Kitty |

Park Record Cutest Pet Contest winners: a dog named Willow, Scurry the guinea pig and a kitty named Kitty Kitty

The three rose to the top of nearly 300 entries

Willow, an Eskimo mix, is flanked by owners Mary and Rob Katzenbach. Willow took the top dog award this year in The Park Record's Cutest Pet Contest.
Courtesy of Mary Katzenbach

The votes are in and the cutest pets in Park City are an Eskimo mix dog named Willow, a guinea pig named Scurry and a cat named Kitty Kitty.

These three fur babies rose to the top of their respective categories in The Park Record’s annual online Cutest Pet Contest after 19 days of online voting that started on April 19.

Willow was named top dog of 249 entries, while Scurry took the top spot in the “other” category that included horses, alpacas, rabbits, a lizard and a hamster. Meanwhile, Kitty Kitty snagged the No. 1 position out of 36 cats.

Willow’s owner Mary Katzenbach is thrilled about her furry friend’s win.

“It’s so fun, silly and humbling and all of those things,” Katzenbach told The Park Record. “I’m so happy people took the time to look at her photo and vote.”

Willow, who will turn 12 on May 21, which is Katzenbach’s 27th wedding anniversary, came to the family as a rescue dog out of Southern California.

“My sister actually adopted her, and when Willow was about 1, she couldn’t keep her, and I told her she couldn’t give Willow away to a stranger,” Katzenbach said. “So the deal was that Willow was going to stay with us in Park City for a year, and my sister would take her back. That was 11 years ago.”

Moving to Park City was the best thing to happen to Willow, who Katzenbach calls an Eskimo mix.

“She loves the winter, and she loves the snow,” Katzenbach said. “Each year I take four or five pictures of her sitting on a block of snow looking like she is not letting it melt.”

When she’s not chasing around a red laser pointer dot, Willow also enjoys walking the trails near her home in Summit Park.

“She’s just a sassy senior with a ball or stick in her mouth,” Katzenbach said. “She’s also very social, but when dogs come up to her, she’ll give them a little husky talk to let them know she’s the boss.”

In 2018 Willow was diagnosed with cushing disease, which causes an overproduction of cortisol in the blood that can lead to increased thirst, urination and reduced activity, but the disease hasn’t dramatically affected the dog.

“She’s just rocking it,” Katzenbach said. “She has a great quality of life, great vet and great community. I had no expectation of her winning, and I’m so shocked that everybody voted for her.”

While Willow is the biggest pet to win this contest, the smallest is a black guinea pig whose full name is Scurrington Popcorn Kahn, known as Scurry for short, said owner Jessica Kahn.

Scurrington Popcorn Kahn, known as Scurry, took home the No. 1 prize in The Park Record Cutest Pet Contest's “other” category that included horses, rabbits, a hamster and a lizard.
Courtesy of Jessica Kahn

Scurry joined the Kahn family home in the Highland Estates neighborhood five years ago, after Kahn’s husband bought him for their son.

“I was out of town when I got a call that he had bought a guinea pig,” Khan said. “I wasn’t very happy about it, because I worried about who was going to take care of it. But it only took 24 hours for me to fall in love with this little creature. I just think he’s the cutest thing in the world.”

Scurry enjoys a daily meal of hay and water, and gets fresh vegetables every morning and night, Kahn said.

“His favorite food is carrots, and he also likes to eat lettuce on my shoulder,” she said.

One of the quirks that inspired Scurry’s middle name of Popcorn is a little jump he does when he’s happy, according to Kahn.

“Guinea pigs jump off the ground and twist their bodies when they are happy, and that’s called popcorning,” she said. “We were told that as guinea pigs get older they stop popcorning, but he’s still popcorning just as much as he did when he was 1.”

Scurry’s other favorite pastime is running around.

“We let him out all the time, since guinea pigs have sensitive feet, we have a couple of different soft surfaces he can run around on,” Khan said.

Providing a safe home for Scurry was a top priority for the Kahn family, she said.

“Guinea pigs are from South America where they are eaten by everything, so they are, by nature, shy and scared of most things,” she said. “They don’t always love to engage with people, so creating an environment where he feels comfortable was super important to us.”

Kahn is honored Scurry won the Cutest Pet Contest.

“We are super excited and feel super special, and my biggest thing is hopefully he’ll realize how popular he is,” she said.

The owner of Kitty Kitty, the winner in the cutest cat category, could not be reached for comment.

Kitty Kitty won the 2021 cat category in The Park Record Cutest Pet Contest.
Photo submitted by Haven Nash

The Park Record’s Cutest Pet Contest, which was sponsored by Park City Animal Clinic, Julie Hopkins Real Estate and Best Friends Animal Society, began accepting photo submissions on April 7, and the voting ran from April 19-30.

The photo that collected the most votes in each category netted the winning owner a $75 gift card to Jans, plus other prizes from the sponsors.

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