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Jan. 8, 2015: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
When an Australian soldier’s mother died recently, he was left with her beloved 12-year-old dog, Prinny. But when he was deployed to Iraq, he didn’t have anywhere for Prinny to go. He reluctantly surrendered her to the RSPCA with a loving letter about her to potential adopters. The RSPCA couldn’t find the senior dog a home, and Rescued With Love stepped forward to help. On Monday, the group’s founder, Kae Norman, shared an open letter to the soldier, whose identity was unknown, on Facebook. She offered condolences for the loss of his mom and his heartbreak over Prinny, and hoped to somehow let him know that her group had found a home for the dog with a military veteran and his wife. “Prinny has fallen in love with her dad, and he with her, and they are now inseparable, and very, very loved,” Norman wrote. “I don’t know where you are, or how to find you to tell you Prinny is safe. Maybe this will find you. All I know is my throat ached when I read your writing on that form when you handed her over — and I could not try to let you know she is safe, and very happy.” Her letter was shared thousands of times — and it reached the soldier. In an update Tuesday on Facebook, Norman said she’d been in touch with the soldier, Marc, and Prinny’s new owners, Brendan and Sheryl, will contact him when he’s back in the country. — Read it at Today
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison have discovered how the deadly white-nose syndrome kills hibernating bats in the U.S. They found that the fungus causes severe dehydration that alters the body’s chemistry. The scientists found that infected little brown bats burn twice the energy that healthy bats do during hibernation. These internal changes happened during the early stages of infection with the fungus. Researchers are hopeful that the discovery, which confirms the work of previous studies, could help lead to treatments for the fungus, which has affected bats on the East Coast from Canada to South Carolina, and as far west as Missouri. The study was published in the journal BMC Physiology. — Read it at National Geographic
After a debacle with the Staten Island groundhog last year, a change in protocol is in the works for New York’s Groundhog Day ceremony this year: Mayor Bill de Blasio won’t handle the animal. Last year, a groundhog from the Staten Island Zoo squirmed out of the mayor’s hands and fell several feet to the ground. She died a week later, although it wasn’t clear if the internal injuries that an autopsy showed were related to her fall. De Blasio was happy about the change. "I think reform is needed," de Blasio joked during an unrelated news conference Wednesday. "I welcome a new approach." — Read it from the AP via Yahoo
OR-7, the Oregon wolf famous for wandering on his own, is officially settling down. State and federal wildlife agencies said Wednesday they’ve named a pack that includes OR-7, his mate and their pups the Rogue Pack for their location in the Rogue River drainage in the Cascades in the western part of the state. OR-7 became well known when he left his pack in eastern Oregon at a young age in 2011 in search of a mate. He traveled thousands of miles across Oregon and northern California before finding a mate last winter. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hopes to update OR-7’s GPS collar and to put tracking collars on the rest of his pack this spring when they’re expected to hunker down in their den for more pups. — Read it from the AP via the Denver Post
There’s promising news for Kai, the Shar Pei we told you about yesterday who was left alone with a suitcase at a train station in Scotland. The Scottish SPCA, which is taking care of the dog, has been flooded with offers to adopt him after his sad photo appeared all over the media. “We have been overwhelmed with lovely messages for Kai and would like to thank everyone,” the group wrote on Facebook. “The phone at our Glasgow centre has … been ringing off the hook with offers of a new home for this adorable boy, who must be the most filmed and photographed dog in Scotland and has taken being in the media spotlight in his stride.” Although some offers even came from the U.S., the SPCA says it will “find him a new home in Scotland :).” They said Kai does need an operation on his eyes, and they’re raising money for his care at JustGiving. — Read it at the Washington Post
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