Pet Scoop: Baby Bear Burned in Wildfire On the Mend, Blind Dachshund Paints for Charity

Sept. 7, 2012: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

A baby black bear is healing after suffering burns from an Idaho wildfire.
A baby black bear is healing after suffering burns from a wildfire that has burned close to 250,000 acres in Idaho.

Black Bear Cub Hurt in Massive Idaho Fire Recovers

An orphaned bear cub nicknamed Boo Boo, who suffered burns to his paws from the Mustang Complex Fire in Idaho, has people all over the country championing for his speedy recovery. The 4-month-old, 23-pound black bear scampered up a tree in the Boise National Forest last week when he saw fire crews approach him. They brought him to the Idaho Humane Society, where veterinarians are treating him.

“He’s healing nicely,” said Dr. Jeff Rosenthal, DVM, the organization’s director. “Eating like a little pig, very feisty, and not very social . . . He charges the cage front whenever anyone gets near, trying to scare us off.” But his caretakers don’t have a problem with that — they want to save Boo Boo’s life, while ensuring that he doesn’t get too used to people, so that he can be potentially released back into the wild. Officials also hope that Boo Boo — like that other famous bear, Smokey — will remind people of the consequences of fires. — Watch it at CNN

San Diego Zoo Reveals Panda Cub’s Gender

Speaking of bears, here’s some happier news: The San Diego Zoo revealed on Thursday that their new panda baby is a boy! At just over 3 pounds, the 5-week-old cub is a little lighter than mom Bai Yun’s previous cubs were at this age, but veterinarians say that he looks healthy, and his belly girth shows that he’s eating well. Following Chinese tradition, the zoo will name the cub once he’s 100 days old — and they’ll be asking the public to offer suggestions. — Watch the exam on YouTube, and see the photos on Facebook

Plus: Meanwhile, the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., has closed its panda house to visitors as zookeepers anxiously wait to see if their female panda is pregnant. Mei, who was artificially inseminated in April using sperm from the zoo's male resident, Tian Tian, is showing plenty of pregnancy signs, including eating less, shredding bamboo to build a nest and cradling her toys. (But zoo officials know that these can also be signs of a pseudopregnancy.) Mei gave birth to one cub, Tai Shan, at the zoo in 2005. — Read it at the National Zoo

Nation’s First Obesity Clinic for Pets Opens Its Doors

The new clinic at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University hopes to see 600 clients per year by 2015 — and focus on providing effective weight-loss programs for pets, educating veterinarians and pet owners on pet obesity and conducting clinical research to find the best methods for treating and preventing obesity. “While the common perception leans toward overweight pets being happy, research has proven otherwise, and we hope to effect change in the obesity epidemic among companion animals," said Dr. Deborah E. Linder, DVM, who’s overseeing the clinic. — Read it at BusinessNewsDaily via Yahoo

Blind Dachshund Paints to Save Fellow Rescue Pups

Dee Dee Murry, a professional painter in Seattle, was devastated to learn two years ago that her longhaired Dachshund, Hallie, had lost her sight from Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome (SARDS), an autoimmune disease that attacks the retina. “It probably happened within 2 or 3 days,” said Murry. “She was seeing fine, and then suddenly she was walking into walls.” So she and Hallie turned to what they knew for comfort: the canvas. Murry had taught Hallie how to paint by holding the brush in her long snout, but after the dog’s diagnosis, Murry was surprised to discover that Hallie still enjoyed creating artwork. A rescue dog herself, Hallie uses her talent to help other dogs in need by selling select artworks online, and then giving all of the proceeds to Purple Heart Rescue. — Watch it at ABC News, and read about Dr. Marty Becker’s own experience with SARDS

D.C. Shelter Takes in Dogs Displaced by Isaac

Since animal shelters throughout the Gulf are overwhelmed in the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac, the Washington Animal Rescue League is lending a hand by taking in nine dogs, including four puppies who were rescued in Mississippi. The pups will be up for adoption once they’ve been examined, and their behavior has been evaluated. — Read it at NBC Washington

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