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Sept. 21, 2016: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
In June, we shared a sweet surveillance video of 9-year-old Josh Breaux biking into his neighbor’s driveway in Louisiana and sneaking into her garage to hug her black Labrador Retriever, Dutchess. The video went viral, and the dog’s owner learned that Josh’s own dog had passed away last year, and he “misses having a pup to love,” his mom explained at the time. Well, now Josh can get his hugs in any time he wants. His family recently added a new member: a black Lab puppy named Drake. The adorable duo has quickly become inseparable. — Watch it at North Carolina’s ABC 11
There’s some good news for Southern sea otters, who are considered threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Telescope counts and aerial surveys by the U.S. Geological Survey have for the first time put their population at a number that would allow them to be removed from the threatened list. However, the otters will first need to repeat their strong showing for two more years — and officials are still concerned that there aren’t enough of the animals at the northern and southern ends of their surveyed range. The three-year running average of the annual census count has climbed from 2,939 in 2013 to 3,272 with their latest count. — Read it at Seeker
When a Dalmatian mix puppy was lost at 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, he seemed to instinctively know where to go for help: the fire station, of course! The pup followed an engine returning from a call into a Hillsborough County, Florida, fire house. “He eagerly made himself part of the crew,” said a spokesperson. A video shared by the department on Facebook shows him having a fabulous time exploring the station and getting plenty of attention from the firefighters. Luckily, though, Chico’s family was found and they were reunited later that day. “We are all so happy for a happy ending to this story!” the department said. — Watch it at Florida’s WFLA
We’ve often seen stories about therapy dogs visiting college campuses at finals time to help students through the stress. Now, the University of Southern California has made a full-time hire to fill that role: a 2-year-old Goldendoodle who’s trained as a facility dog. Professor Beauregard Tirebiter has taken up residence on the second floor of the school’s student health center, where he wears a uniform and holds office hours. His name is a tribute to George Tirebiter, the nickname given to a dog who was the school's mascot in the 1940s. USC is hoping Professor Tirebiter will help create a sense of community and provide therapeutic companionship for its students. USC says he’s the first full-time university facility dog in the country. — Watch it at ABC News
Wedding photos are usually happy — but a couple in Pennsylvania found a way to make them even better at their Sept. 1 nuptials. They added puppies! Five 8-week-old sisters from a litter of Boxer and Coonhound mix puppies — plus one special Pit Bull named Biggie Smalls for the bride — added more bliss to the wedding party’s photos. All of the pups were from the non-profit rescue Pitties Love Peace, where the bride, Sarah Crain, works. Photographer Caroline Logan said there were no “dresses harmed in the making of the photos!” and found the puppies made her job easier, as her subjects were more relaxed and natural. — See photos at People Pets
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