Pet Scoop: Blind Dog Gets Help From Guide Cat, Florida Zoo Welcomes Baby Elephant

Jan. 2, 2012: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Pwditat is a guide cat for blind dog Terfel.
Pwditat made himself a guide cat for blind dog Terfel.
Stray Kitty Is Dog’s Best Friend

Pwditat seemed to know Terfel could use his help. The cat showed up at Judy Godfrey-Brown's door in Wales four years ago, and headed straight for her 8-year-old dog, who had lost his sight due to cataracts. "He ignored everybody and went straight for my blind dog and started loving him," Godfrey-Brown told People. "He realized something was different about the dog” and wanted to help. Pwditat uses his paws to help lead his canine pal on walks outside. The two are now living at a local cattery while Godfrey-Brown recovers from surgery, and their inspiring relationship has made headlines all over the U.K. in recent weeks. — Read it at People Pets and watch it on YouTube

Bright Orange Shellfish Reef Found

The Scottish government says that a huge shellfish reef found off its coast could be the largest of its kind. The 4.5-square-mile reef in Loch Alsh contains at least 100 million rare saltwater clams with neon-orange tentacles. "This important discovery may be the largest grouping of flame shells anywhere in the world," Scottish Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said in a statement. "And not only are flame shells beautiful to look at, these enigmatic shellfish form a reef that offers a safe and productive environment for many other species." — Read it at Live Science

Tiny Tim’s New Year’s Resolution: Lose More Weight

It’s a new year, and Tiny Tim has resolved to keep up his goals from last year — lose weight, slowly and steadily. The cat, who was a whopping 36 pounds when he arrived at a Texas shelter last Christmas, was down to 28 pounds earlier in 2012, when he stopped losing weight. The puzzled staff at the Southside Place Animal Hospital realized that the clever cat had clawed a small hole in a bag of food in the pantry where he slept, and was sneaking snacks after the small, measured amounts they left for him at night had run out. Now that the food is out of reach, the “super sweet” 9-year-old is back on track. He’s continuing his diet plan and 50-foot walks through the clinic for feeding time to get exercise. — Read it at the Huffington Post

This photo of the calf was taken just 15 hours after its birth.
Dave Parkinson, Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo
This photo of the calf was taken just 15 hours after its birth.

Rescued Elephant Gives Birth

Mbali, one of 11 elephants rescued from a Swaziland, Africa, park nearly a decade ago, became a mom for the first time at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo just before Christmas. The calf is the first born in Tampa from the rescued herd. The baby and its 19-year-old mom are being closely monitored by the zoo’s staff and will be reunited shortly with two other mature females, who will help Mbali raise her calf. The zoo has asked a family in Swaziland who’ve been active in establishing three national parks for wildlife conservation to name the newborn.  Read it at the Orlando Sentinel

Comfort Dogs Arrive in Newtown for School Opening

Nine Golden Retrievers from Chicago's Lutheran Church Charities' K-9 Parish Comfort Dogs program traveled back to Connecticut on New Year’s Day, and will be on hand to greet the children from Sandy Hook Elementary at their new school. The kids and their parents will visit the school that they will attend in neighboring Monroe on Wednesday, and classes will start on Thursday. — Find out more on Facebook

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