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2016: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal
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A lucky cat was pulled from the destruction of the earthquake in Amatrice, Italy, on Monday — nearly six days after the 6.2-magnitude quake hit. Finding the
cat, whose name is Gioia or “Joy,” alive was a rare happy moment in the devastated town. Gioia’s owner, Daniela, couldn’t find her hiding cat when the quake struck in the middle of the night and she had to flee her home. Then, she couldn’t return to look for Gioia because her home completely collapsed in an aftershock. Daniela begged rescue workers to find her
cat, and amazingly, a worker spotted her alive as a bulldozer dug through the rubble. Firefighters freed her and carried her to the street, where they gave her water. Although Gioia was dehydrated, veterinarians who examined her said she would recover, and she has been reunited with her tearful owner. — Read it at Italy’s
There may be hopeful news for the Tasmanian devil. Researchers from
Washington State University have identified a genetic resistance to the highly contagious devil facial tumor disease in some populations. The fatal transmissible cancer has decimated the marsupials’ numbers in recent years, killing an estimated 80 percent of them on the island of Tasmania. The team has found two devil genome regions that suggest there could be hope for the animals, who only live in Tasmania. Several genes in those regions showed the animals may be evolving a resistance to the disease. The findings were published in the journal
Nature Communications. — Read it at
Belgian Malinois and her owners were boating on Lake Michigan on Sunday when the dog went overboard. Owner Kristin Casas was helping her husband with an electrical problem on the boat when they realized Rylee was missing. They couldn’t find her anywhere in the water, and put out a “Dog Overboard Call” over their radio to nearby fishermen and the Coast Guard. But in the end, it was a Facebook post from the local Lost
Dog Search Group that helped reunite Rylee with her relieved owners. On Monday, commenters spotted the pup near a campground. They estimate the dog swam about six miles to shore and then walked more than 12 miles to the campground. — Read it at
Sassy, a rescued
Chihuahua, loves to sit in her elderly owner’s lap and only barks at the doorbell. But earlier this month, her barking may have saved 92-year-old Marie Alexander’s life. Sassy accompanied Alexander when she went to check for the mail outside her Florida home. While she was walking back to the house, Alexander tripped over a stone and fell and hit her head. As she lay in her yard in the hot sun, Sassy protected her and sought help for five hours, leaving her side only to bark at passing cars to try to get her help. Finally, someone walked by the house and Sassy got their attention. The Good Samaritan saw Alexander and ran to get her help. She was taken to the hospital and treated for dehydration and bruised ribs. She’s now back home and recovering, with her loyal dog in her lap again. “I saved her at the shelter and she saved me,” Alexander said. — Watch it at Florida’s
ABC Action News
In the last two weeks, a 25-year-old Taunton, Massachusetts, police officer has helped two different lost
dogs get home — by snapping selfies with them in his police car. Evan Lavigne asked the man who runs the
department’s Facebook page to share the photos, and each time, the dogs’ owners were found. Lavigne has now become the department’s “Dog Whisperer,” getting dispatched to any calls involving dogs — and he doesn’t mind. “If it were my pet, I would want someone to make sure he was OK and that someone would take care of my dog until I was able to find them,” he said. — See photos at
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