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Dec. 27, 2016: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
Christmas came one day late for Holly, a 17-year-old dog who was sadly surrendered to Dallas Animal Services just a few days before the holiday. A few short hours after the shelter shared the “very sweet” deaf dog’s story on Facebook Monday, they had an update. They shared a photo of her contentedly sitting in her new owner’s lap by a Christmas tree! The deaf dog will be starting the New Year in a loving new home. “Holly's had a bath, a walk, a snack, a chew and now a power nap. Cheers to 2017!” her adopter posted Monday night, with a photo of her curled up in a comfy bed. — Read it at Dallas Animal Services’ Facebook
A new study finds there are only 7,100 cheetahs left in the wild, and that the species has been driven out of 91 percent of its historic range. The researchers say the dramatic decline means the cheetah should be listed as an endangered species. “Given the secretive nature of this elusive cat, it has been difficult to gather hard information on the species, leading to its plight being overlooked,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Sarah Durant. “It is likely to be much more vulnerable to extinction than was previously thought." The authors are calling for urgent new conservation efforts to save the cheetah. The study by the Zoological Society of London, Panthera and Wildlife Conservation Society was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. — Read it at Phys.org
Technical rescue teams in Washington State came to the rescue of a dog who got separated from his owner during a slick hike on the Rattlesnake Ledge Trail on Christmas Eve. The Pit Bull could be heard but not seen after falling down a slope and getting stuck on a ledge. It was too slippery for him to get back up, and he needed some help. Seattle Mountain Rescue and Washington State Animal Response Team managed the “very icy conditions” to reunite the 4-year-old dog with his relieved owner. — See photos at WASART’s Facebook
Actress Carrie Fisher, best known for her iconic role as Princess Leia in “Star Wars,” is reportedly in stable condition in a Los Angeles hospital recovering from a “cardiac episode” during a flight from London on Friday. Fisher has been touring to promote her new memoir, “The Princess Diarist.” On Friday night, her service dog Gary, a French Bulldog, “tweeted” a photo of himself staring out a window with the caption “I’ll be waiting right here mommy.” The dog, who helps Fisher cope with her bipolar disorder, is always by her side. He became a celebrity, too, when he accompanied her on interviews promoting last year’s movie “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” On Sunday, Fisher’s mother, legendary actress Debbie Reynolds, tweeted that her daughter was in stable condition. — Read it at People Pets
Update: Carrie Fisher passed away Tuesday morning at age 60. “She was loved by the world and she will be missed profoundly,” Fisher's daughter Billie Lourd said in a statement to People. “Our entire family thanks you for your thoughts and prayers.”
Fisher's dog, Gary, tweeted, "Saddest tweets to tweet. Mommy is gone. I love you @carrieffisher."
With the help of some generous donors, a Colorado animal shelter was able to waive its adoption fees for dog and cats over 5 years old for the holidays — and cleared out its dog kennels for two days in a row. Last week, the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region posted a video on Facebook of its staff and volunteers cheering in the empty dog kennels, because they’d all been adopted out to happy homes in time for the holidays. “Seeing so many pets find wonderful new homes is what makes it all worthwhile for us,” said the shelter’s community relations manager, Gretchen Pressley. — Read it at the Huffington Post
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