It always begins innocently. I open Firefox intending to check one thing — a bank balance or a movie start time. Hours later, I’m still online, gazing at Zoo Atlanta’s panda cam or some other time waster. No, I’m not procrastinating. I’m simply being guided by the universe at my fingertips, and some researchers say that’s a good thing. (At least that’s what I read on while surfing the Web for something else.)


For those who welcome the occasional workplace distraction, check out a few of my favorite pet-related tools for wasting time online. Feel free to share yours below.


The Pet Collective YouTube Channel

The Pet Collective has enough eye candy to send pet lovers into diabetic shock, and that’s before you check out “Hot Vet” or “Kitten on a Keyboard.” Folks who crave quirky stories will love Lily, the shy bulldog that gains confidence wearing her turtle costume. For inspirational videos, watch dogs that help veterans cope with PTSD on “The Healing Power of Pets.” I’m partial to “Growing Up Wild,” which features Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin’s adorable kids. Don’t miss the fun, inspirational and addictive mix that has earned more than 41,000 subscribers and 11 million video views since the channel launched in January. Check out Bindi and Robert Irwin's "Growing Up Wild" feature on dingoes:





smiling pit bullSmiling Dogs in The Bark Magazine

If you ever need a little instant sunshine, The Bark magazine aims to please with its popular “Smiling Dogs” feature. Online, you will find weekly galleries that showcase grins galore. Call me biased, but I’m partial to the megawatt smiles that only bully breed dogs like Anvil (right) can deliver.




Collared on The Baltimore Sun’s Unleashed blog

cat lying on its back

The Baltimore Sun’s pets blog may focus on local news, but topics such as dental care and mourning the loss of a pet reach far beyond city limits. I’m addicted to the “Collared” profiles that offer tidbits on a pet’s favorite food, special skills and life motto. Little Man (left), a recently collared Tabby, offers this very simple outlook on life: “When all else fails, roll over on your back and show 'em your adorable belly. From there, it's a short putt to the food bowl.”




Cat movie festival

While I’m not exactly a cat person, there’s a warm place in my heart for what some people refer to as “pet-loving freaks.” Nearly 10,000 kindred spirits recently gathered in Minneapolis to celebrate the inaugural Internet Cat Video Film Festival. If you have time to kill, check out some of the submissions on YouTube. Filmmaker Will Braden took home the Golden Kitty award for “Henri 2: Paw de Deux.” Enjoy.





Amanda Jones pet photography

When it comes to pet portraits, photographer Amanda Jones is in a class by herself. Each photo in her portfolio uniquely captures a pet’s personality — and makes you wonder how in the world she got those shots. Thankfully, Jones shares a few tips in the video below. I may never match her memorable pictures, but it’s nice to watch and learn.



Related pet stories on MNN:


Feel free to share some of your favorites and join the conversation with Morieka on Twitter @soulpup.


Click for photo credits

Photo credits:

Smiling dog: The Bark

Cat belly: Baltimore Sun Unleashed blog