Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Shark Photobombs Family Photo

Can there be such thing as a shark photobomb?  That’s what many are calling an eerie and eye-catching photo inadvertently snapped by a California mother that appears to show a large shark, or maybe a dolphin, swimming near her two children.  "It was quite a shock to see” the photo, June Emerson told KTLA about her photo, which captured the outline of a large fish swimming underneath a breaking wave close to the shore on Manhattan Beach.


Monday, December 30, 2013

Puppy Brings a Family Christmas Joy

Like many Christmas presents, my dog Tucker came in a box.  A few years ago in Denver, three tiny newborn puppies, just hours old, were stuffed in a cardboard container like some old shoes and dumped off in front of an animal shelter without explanation — no note detailing what had caused the dog-dumper to lose his humanity, no apology for yanking the puppies away from their mother or for visiting tragedy on the first person to open the box.


Friday, December 27, 2013

Video: Dramatic Rescue of Dog Swept Out to Sea

A lucky dog was rescued in the UK Sunday after being swept out to sea and assumed dead.  The Labrador and its owner were taking a walk when the dog went into the ocean off Sea Palling on the north Norfolk coast and was taken away by the tide, according to Sky News.  Two kayakers helped the man search for his pet but eventually gave up.  However, the next morning, crews from Royal National Lifeboat Institution began searching the reefs half a mile off the coast.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Your Dog Recognizes Your Face

Your dog may be able to recognize your face in a photo.  That’s the latest from the University of Helsinki, which published the results of its study in the journal Animal Cognition this December.  According to Science News Daily, the researchers had dogs look at facial images of familiar humans (such as their owner) and other dogs in the family, as well as unfamiliar humans and dogs they’d never encountered. Then the researchers measured the dogs’ eye movements as they viewed the photos.


Monday, December 23, 2013

American Animals Are Getting Fatter

Everyone knows Americans are fat and getting fatter, and everyone thinks they know why: more eating and less moving.  But the "big two" factors may not be the whole story. Consider this: Animals have been getting fatter too. The National Pet Obesity Survey recently reported that more than 50 percent of cats and dogs—that's more than 80 million pets—are overweight or obese. Pets have gotten so plump that there's now a National Pet Obesity Awareness Day. (It was Wednesday.) Lap dogs and comatose cats aren't alone in the fat animal kingdom. Animals in strictly controlled research laboratories that have enforced the same diet and lifestyle for decades are also ballooning.


Friday, December 20, 2013

World's Only Floating Cat Sanctuary

Imagine, if you will, that you live in Amsterdam. It's a very chill time and you enjoy a comfortable existence near a canal because you're Dutch and that's a thing. One day, one of the city's many stray cats hangs out adorably near you for so long that you think, "Alright, lil' buddy, you can live with me." The cat thinks, Wat leuk! Over the next few weeks and months, you take in so many cats that they literally overrun your home and you are forced to do the only logical thing: buy a houseboat adjacent to your dwelling and fill it with dozens and dozens of homeless cats, creating the world's first and only floating cat sanctuary. 


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Ancient Chinese Cat Shakes Up Domestication Theory

A cat-and-mouse game played out in a Chinese village 5,300 years ago is helping scientists understand how wild felines became the tame pets we know today.  Scientists believe it was the cat's appetite that led to domestication. Grain stored by ancient farmers was a magnet for rodents, which in turn attracted wild cats.  Over time, the cats adapted to village life and became tame around their human hosts.  This is, at least, the leading theory, derived from archaeological evidence in the Middle East, rather than China. But bones recently discovered in a Chinese village add weight to the idea that felines took on pest-control duties in ancient times, says researcher Fiona Marshall of Washington University in St. Louis.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Blind Man and Guide Dog Run Over By Subway and Survive

A brave seeing-eye dog loyally leaped to the subway tracks when his owner tumbled off a Harlem platform Wednesday — and they both survived getting run over by a train, according to witnesses.  Cecil Williams, 60, was heading to the dentist when he felt faint about 9:30 a.m. on the uptown A train platform.  His guide dog, a black labrador named Orlando, was trained to keep him from going over the edge — and tried to hold him up. The dog was barking and trying to pull him , but Williams fell, according to witnesses.  Matthew Martin, 54, said that the dog never hesitated.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Seven Animals Who Need A Hug

We've all had those days -- the ones where nothing seems to go right and we have a to-do list that continues to grow by the minute. Stress is a natural response, so it's important to have go-to tricks to banish our anxieties -- whether that's a few calming meditations or something as simple as cute photos to put a smile on our face. Luckily, these seven stressed animals know exactly how we feel -- and if a kind gesture can make them feel better, then maybe it can for us, too.


Friday, December 13, 2013

Dog Saves Man Hit By Car

A dog helped save her owner who was badly injured in a car crash just days before Thanksgiving.  John Miles was walking his dog Lucy on Neponset Street in Dorchester, as he does every day, when both of them were hit by a car.  John blacked out and doesn’t remember what happened. Lucy, a husky-beagle mix, who was also injured, limped to a nearby dentist’s office and barked until help arrived. She limped back and stayed by John’s side until emergency crews arrived.


Thursday, December 12, 2013

World’s First and Only Seeing Eye Cat

Carolyn Swanson was featured in a 1947 LIFE magazine issue because of her special pet: she owned a seeing eye cat. Her Persian kitty named Baby was so loyal to her, he led her everywhere she wanted to go. He helped her leave the house, safely cross streets and go about her daily life.  He may be the first (and only) seeing eye cat to ever exist.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Animals With Pets Of Their Own

From a gorilla who loves cats to an elephant with its own dog, check out these astonishing stories of interspecies affection.  For many of us, pets aren't just casual companions. They are cherished members of the family. (Sometimes it even feels like we're the pets, and our pets are the masters.) So it’s worth asking: Are humans the only animals that keep pets? Or do other animals also keep pets and form deep companionships with other species?


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Scientists Discover New Species in 'Lost World'

On the second day of a four-day trek to Cape Melville a team led by Dr Conrad Hoskin, from James Cook University, and Dr Tim Laman, from Harvard University, discovered three reptile species, including a "bizarre-looking" leaf-tailed gecko, a golden-coloured skink and a boulder-dwelling frog — species that have been isolated from their closest cousins for millions of years.  "We're talking about animals that are ancient — they would have been around in the rainforest of Gondwana... rainforest that's been there for all time," said Dr Hoskin.


Monday, December 9, 2013

Images: Dogs Go For Joyrides

A creative photographer has come up with an unusual pet project – snapping pictures of ecstatic dogs as they hang their heads out car windows. Lara Jo Regan, 48, took on the venture for her 2014 calendar “Dogs In Cars.”


Friday, December 6, 2013

Animals Benefit From Dog Custody Battle

The Manhattan custody battle over a miniature dachshund named Joey will finally give Fido proper weight on the scales of justice, experts predict.  “We’re seeing a shift in the law,” said Stacy Wolf, an attorney with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.  “We’re very heartened and happy to see a judge considering the emotional connection between humans and their animals as relevant to custody,” Wolf added.  Family law attorney Sherri Donovan who represents one of the spouses fighting for sole residential custody of Joey said last month’s landmark decision by Justice Matthew Cooper establishes “a whole new status for animals.”

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Group Files To Gain Legal Personhood For Chimp

An animal rights group has filed a first-of-its-kind lawsuit that seeks to establish the “legal personhood” of a cartoon-loving chimpanzee they say is being held prisoner on an upstate used trailer lot.  The Nonhuman Rights Project filed the suit Monday in New York Supreme Court demanding that the monkey – a 26-year-old chimp named Tommy – be freed to live out his life in a sanctuary for primates.  Court documents describe Tommy as “a cognitively complex autonomous legal person with the fundamental legal right not to be imprisoned.”

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Animal Selfie: Bird Records Journey on Camera

A brazen bird snatched a video camera that was recording crocodiles in northwest Australia and captured fascinating footage of its 70-mile journey across the country’s remote landscape.  Wildlife rangers in Western Australia’s Kimberly region released video on Monday that reveals the sea eagle’s caper. The bird’s flapping wings can be seen as it grabs the device and takes off, and the eagle later poses for a selfie, poking its face into the camera lens.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Is Your Pup An ‘Einstein’?

Like many dog owners, Raymond Meza, 51, has long thought his dog was especially smart. Turns out he was right.  A few months back, Meza, a retired deputy sheriff living in Utica, NY, signed up his 4-year-old English coonhound, Lilly, for a new online service called Dognition. Dog owners can test their pups’ intelligence via special games that then provide them — and Dognition’s research center — with information about their pet’s intelligence. According to Dognition, Lilly is a canine “Einstein,” one of nine profiles it assigns its doggy test subjects.


Monday, December 2, 2013

Dog Survives Nine Days Under Tornado Rubble

A six-month-old pit bull that was buried under a pile of rubble for more than a week after a tornado ripped through a central Illinois city has been coaxed to freedom with hot dogs and reunited with his owner.  Jacob Montgomery, a member of the Illinois National Guard, was separated from the dog, Dexter, when the Nov. 17 tornado destroyed his third-floor apartment in Washington. Montgomery combed through the wreckage multiple times but turned up no sign of Dexter.