Pet Scoop: Cat With 26 Toes Is Boon to His Shelter, Ram and Deer Fall in Love

December 9, 2011: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

AP

Daniel the 26-Toed Cat Helps Shelter Raise Money

Daniel, an orange and white tabby, has 26 toes – leaving him just two short of the world record for cats. Amy Rowell, owner of the Milwaukee Animal Rescue Center in Greendale, Wis., found Daniel at an animal control facility and decided to adopt him as the shelter’s mascot. When she found out the rent on her center was going to be doubled at the start of the new year, she started a campaign to raise money to move – asking for donations of $26 each, or one dollar for each of Daniel’s toes. And it’s been a success. So far, about $50,000 of the $80,000 that has been raised has come from these $26 contributions. — Read it at the Huffington Post

Ram and Doe Fall in Love at Chinese Zoo

Maybe it was his horns that caught her attention. Officials at an animal park in China said Chunzi, a female deer, and Changmao, a male sheep, have forged an inseparable bond. Handlers haven’t had much luck in their attempts to separate the ram and doe couple, and they said Changmao has integrated himself into the deer herd. — See photos at Today

Crackdown on Dogs in San Francisco Looming 

In San Francisco, where the dog population has swelled higher than the number of children, new rules are being considered that would affect the pooches and their owners. Some of the possible restrictions include regulations for professional dog walkers and a reduction in off-leash play areas. — Read it at The New York Times

Dog Found Alive and Well in Rubble of Home Explosion

The day after its Dallas-area home exploded, a family was thrilled to find its dog, Diva, alive in the rubble. The family members had escaped unharmed but had feared the worst for their pet when they couldn’t find her. Diva was shaken up but was found to be in good shape. —  WFAA

Study Reveals Rodents Able to Show Empathy

In a University of Chicago study, rats repeatedly worked to free their companions from a restraint, scientists observed. This is the first time that helping behavior has been seen in laboratory rodents, they said. — Read it at Science Daily

New Zealand Penguins Cleaned Up and Released After Oil Spill

Forty-nine little blue penguins waddled back to the sea in New Zealand on Thursday. They were among 343 penguins who were rescued and cleaned after being coated in oil when a container ship struck a reef on New Zealand’s north island in October. — See photos at Today

Michael Vartan Pens Letter to His Dog

"You are the most gentle and tender creature I know, your sweet little essence ever soothing to my soul," actor Michael Vartan wrote to his chocolate Labrador, Millie. Vartan, who recently starred in the TV series Hawthorne, wrote those words to be included in a book of correspondences from dog lovers to their pets, titled A Letter to My Dog. — Read the letter at People Pets

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