Pet Scoop: Bo the 'First Dog' Visits Children’s Hospital, Pig Walks on Two Front Legs

December 13, 2011: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Bo the 'First Dog' listens to Christmas reading
"First Dog" Bo listens intently at the first lady's feet as she reads The Night Before Christmas.

Presidential Dog Bo Joins Michelle Obama for Christmas Reading

Bo, the White House "first dog," accompanied Michelle Obama on a trip to the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington on Monday, bringing smiles to the children there as his famous owner read The Night Before Christmas. The kids got a chance to pet the well-behaved Portuguese Water Dog, who was decked out in a red holiday collar with jingle bells, after the first lady's reading was over. — Read it at People Pets

From Vetstreet: Bo Stars in White House Christmas Decor

San Francisco Wants to Place Pro Dog Walkers on a Leash

With the backing of a political advocacy group of dog owners as well as the San Francisco Professional Dogwalkers Association, the city of San Francisco, where nearly a third of households have dogs, wants to set regulations for commercial dog walkers. The rules would include a permit requirement, and the number of dogs that could be walked at one time would be limited to seven or eight — that figure is still being debated. Currently, some walkers take 12 or more dogs at once. — Read it at SF Gate

British Couple Sends Off 40thGuide Dog

Tony and Ruth Warrington are considered puppy experts. As such, the couple are saying goodbye to Bobby, the 40th and final puppy they have taken into their home to help train as a guide dog. The two, who also have their own dogs, usually bring a guide-dog-to-be home at about 6 weeks of age and send them off to a regional training center once they reach their first birthday. — Read it at BBC News

Pig walks on two legs

‘Strong Pig’ Walks on Two Front Legs

Born in July with only two legs, this pig on a farm in China hoists all of his 66 pounds onto his two front legs to walk, sending his body up almost straight in the air. His owner, who appropriately named him “Strong Pig,” is looking for someone to adopt him. — Watch it at Today

Hundreds of Threatened Species Aren’t on Official U.S. List

New research comparing the U.S. Endangered Species Act list of threated animals with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List found 531 American species that are part of the Red List are not on the ESA protection list. "The ESA has protected species since its establishment in 1973, and it may have prevented 227 extinctions. However, the implementation of the ESA by successive U.S. governments has been problematic, including poor coverage of imperiled species, inadequate funding and political intervention," said Bert Harris, a study leader. — Read it at Science Daily

Dog Flagged by Baggage Handler Had Been ‘Worked Very Hard’

The baggage handler at Nevada’s Reno-Tahoe International Airport who said she was fired for refusing to load a dog she thought was sick may have been offered her job back, but the story hasn’t ended there. Many people were still concerned about the hunting dog in question. “The dog looks nice and was very responsive,” an animal control officer in the dog’s home state of Texas said. Vets have said that though the dog looked sick, its state was “consistent with a dog that has been worked very hard” while hunting. — Read it at Dogster

U.K.’s New Giant Pandas Make Media Debut

Tian Tian and Yang Guang, or Sweetie and Sunshine, are settling in at the Endinburgh Zoo in Scotland, where they’re set to live for the next 10 years. The pair, who officials hope will strike up a romance, have met through the partition between their enclosures, where they’re being kept separated until they can adjust to their new home. — Read it at the Huffington Post

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