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April 18, 2013: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
Five K-9 Comfort Dogs descended on Boston on Wednesday, visiting dozens of hospitalized victims of Monday’s bombings at the Boston Marathon, and the medical personnel who’ve been treating them. Three of the Golden Retrievers were flown in from their base in Chicago, and two more arrived from Newtown, Conn., where they’ve been stationed since the devastating school shooting there. “It's relaxing — takes my mind off of what happened,” said David Yepez, 15, who is recovering from surgery at Tufts Medical Center. “It’s good to have my mind away from the accident, the doctors. To have a moment of peace.” The therapy dogs’ handlers say they provide a temporary distraction for people who are trying to cope with tragic circumstances, allowing them to express their emotions in ways they might not otherwise. — Read it at Today
New research from the University of Georgia suggests that in addition to helping control the pet population, having your dog spayed or neutered might lengthen their life and change the risk of specific causes of death. Using records from more than 40,000 dogs over the course of 20 years, researchers determined that the average life span of dogs who had the procedure was 9.4, versus 7.4 for dogs who did not. The study, which was published in the journal PLOS ONE, also found that sterilized dogs were more likely to die from cancer or autoimmune diseases, while those that weren’t were more likely to die from infectious disease or trauma. — Read it at Science Daily
Champa, a 3-year-old Asiatic bear who lives at a Laos sanctuary, made history when she became the first bear to undergo brain surgery. Veterinarians believed that the bear suffered from water on the brain, or hydrocephalus, which was causing slowed growth, erratic behavior and vision problems. The sanctuary, Free the Bears, brought in South African veterinarian Romain Pizzi, who works at the Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland, to perform the laparoscopic surgery on Champa in February. While she’ll always have damage from her condition, six weeks after her surgery, Champa is more active and social with other bears. “The world of that one bear is changed forever," said Pizzi. — Read it at National Geographic
Hoping to spare her children from some pain, Illinois mom Sarah McCallum buried Muffin the cat before they came home from school. She thought Muffin had passed away because she wasn’t breathing and didn’t have a heartbeat. But when her son, Bradley, came home and went to plant a flower for his pet, he heard meowing. McCallum quickly saved the miracle cat. Her veterinarian says Muffin suffered a seizure that left her lifeless and that the mom’s conclusion was understandable, but the cat is doing just fine now. — Watch it at CNN
Jaya, a 9-year-old Sumatran tiger, gave birth to a 2.5-pound cub at the Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma, Wash. The zoo says both mom and cub seem to be healthy and are being monitored by the staff. Sumatran tigers are critically endangered, with less than 400 of them left in the wild.— Read it at Facebook
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