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Dec. 14, 2016: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
Cathy Medernach and her dog are warm and dry at home thanks to Medernach’s quick-thinking 8-year-old son. Medernach and her son, Caden, were out for a walk behind their Aurora, Illinois, home with Bailey on Monday when the 11-year-old Labrador Retriever spotted some ducks on a retention pond. She ran out onto the ice after them, and fell through. Medernach then ran up to her property and grabbed a canoe and a broom to use as an oar, and went out on the ice after the dog. “As soon as I took that first brush through, I fell in,” she says. With both his mom and dog struggling in the frigid water, Caden called 911. The dispatchers told him to yell for his mom to come back to the shore while they sent help. The fire department’s dive team arrived and had Medernach and Bailey out of the water within minutes. Aurora Fire Marshal Javon Cross reminds everyone to stay off the ice and leave any emergency rescues up to the professionals. — Watch it at CBS Chicago and learn how to keep your dog safe around ice
Typically, experts believe there are 9,000 to 10,000 species of birds worldwide. But in a new study, researchers from the American Museum of Natural History argue that number is likely closer to 18,000. That’s because birds had been placed in various species based on which animals breed together, which the study’s lead author says is an outdated idea that’s hardly used outside of birds. The researchers instead used different metrics to assign species, such as plumage and color. In a random sampling of 200 species, they found almost two new species for each bird they examined. The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE. — Read it at Seeker
After getting a report from a group of commercial fishermen about an endangered humpback whale who was trapped by a rope near the coast in Boston, rescue teams were able to reach the whale on Sunday to free it. The young whale, who was about 30 feet long, had been entangled in the rope for about a week. "While the prognosis for the whale is now much better, it will take time for it to heal," the Center for Coastal Studies said in a YouTube posting with video of the rescue. — Read it at UPI
Iris Estrada Samaniego had an emotional reunion with her cat at a California animal shelter after a long search. “Something told her to check the shelter today and when she looked she saw a cat [that] looked just like her Diego,” reads a Facebook post by Estrada Samaniego’s sister Crystal Samaniego, who shared the video. “She came straight to the shelter after work and when we saw him we knew it was him.” Diego, Estrada Samaniego’s cat of 12 years, disappeared in 2015, and his owner feared he’d been attacked by a coyote. But something told her he was still alive. “You have no idea how long I’ve been looking for him,” a tearful Estrada Samaniego tells a shelter worker in the video. “My kids are gonna flip out … I knew he wasn’t dead.” She says she hopes the video, which has been viewed more than 3 million times, will “give others hope.” — Watch it at People Pets
Da Mao ecstatically welcomed the year’s first big snowfall at the Toronto Zoo on Monday. Security cameras caught the panda, who’s dad to 1-year-old twin cubs, somersaulting off his play structure and down a hill in his enclosure — and then climbing back up the hill for more fun in about 6 inches of snow. Later, the cubs followed in their dad’s footsteps, adorably frolicking in the snow. — Watch it at YouTube
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