EVERY YEAR for the past decade, the Portland Mercury has awarded one local species of animal the city's highest honor: Portland's Pet of the Year. It's a job we do not take lightly. We have countless meetings and endless bile-spewing arguments—all to decide which pet will rise above all others.

It's a big, and oftentimes, controversial decision. I remember back in 2009, when we awarded the corgi as the Mercury's Pet of the Year. Portland literally went insane.

"How the fuck could you choose that ugly-ass fucking dog as your 'Pet of the Year'?" one reader angrily wrote. "You Mercury people are GOD... DAMNED... IDIOTS!"

And yet? Eight months later, the corgi was chosen as Time magazine's "Pet of the Decade," as well as People magazine's "Sexiest Dog of 2009." Our decision vindicated, I personally visited that angry reader's home to hand deliver a gift-wrapped box. And inside? An empty Tupperware container.

"What am I supposed to do with that?" the still angry reader spat.

"You're supposed to put your teeth in it," I said, and POW!!! I punched him right in his big fat, fucking stupid mouth, sending 13 of his teeth skittering across the dirty linoleum floor.

Now, I told you that story to tell you this: There's no point arguing whether we're right or wrong about our choice for the 2015 Pet of the Year. Because we're right. And if you disagree? No problem. I have a Tupperware container with your name on it, too.

All that being said, the Portland Mercury is hereby thrilled (and for once, in enthusiastic agreement) to award the 11th annual "Portland Pet of the Year 2015" to...

The Ant

What makes "the ant" the perfect choice for Portland's Pet of the Year? The following attributes:

ANTS ARE UBIQUITOUS! Ants are found everywhere—especially Portland kitchens—and outnumber pugs in the city by about 10 billion to one.

ANTS ARE EASY TO CARE FOR! Ants are the perfect indoor-outdoor pet. They're there in the morning when you wake up, and when you get home from work, they excitedly scamper about on your countertops and garbage pail. When you go on vacation, don't pay for an expensive boarding facility, or ask your put-upon neighbors to "check in on them now and again." Simply drop a sugar cube in the middle of your floor, and leave. Whether it's for a long weekend or three years, not only will your ants be there upon your return—their friends will be there, too!

ANTS ARE INEXPENSIVE! Can't afford a sugar cube? Unlike some pets, ants appreciate your low-income Portland lifestyle. Place a tiny potato chip crumb on your counter and watch those ants pile on with gustatory glee. (Potato chip crumbs tend to be less expensive than the gluten- and GMO-free, non-allergen, 100 percent human-grade, organic dog foods you're currently serving poochie.)

ANTS ARE LOYAL! Even if you do accidentally gas them with Raid, or some other useless hippie brew, ants will always return. They love you that much.

ANTS ARE AFFECTIONATE! There's nothing I like better after a hard day at work than to cuddle up on the couch with my ants and just chill. I simply dab a bit of honey behind each ear, and let them swarm. Stop tickling, you guys!

So congratulations to... the ant! Our Portland Mercury "Pet of the Year for 2015!" And congratulations also to our runners-up: the crow, the nutria, and those tiny curly worms that die in your basement.

More Pet Issue Articles:
Magic Friends
Point/Counterpoint: The Mercury Argues about Dog Food
Love the One You're With
Which Pet Is Right for You?
Creepin' On Dogs
Portland's Pet of the Year 2015
Four Paws On The Street
Behold! The Winners of the Most Glamorous Pet Photo Contest