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March 12, 2015: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
Brooke Burton was shocked when she saw her relative’s miniature Dachshund, Dennis, two years ago. The dog had been fed burgers, pizza and other people food, and weighed in at 56 pounds — about the size of four or five miniature Dachshunds. Burton, a nurse, became emotional at the sight of the obese dog and convinced her relative to let her adopt him. Burton put Dennis on a diet of dry dog food, took him on regular walks and gave him lots of affection. "In the beginning, you could tell he was very depressed, that he really didn't feel good at all," Burton says. But now, at 12 pounds, he happily chases squirrels and the three other rescue dogs he lives with. He’s also had three surgeries to remove excess skin at the Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center. Underneath it all, Burton has found a whole new dog. “After he lost weight, this bossy little demanding man popped out. He's into everything, he wants to play with everybody," she says. — Read it from AP via ABC News
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says four subspecies of foxes on the northern Channel Islands off the California coast have recovered so well in the last 11 years that it’s starting to consider taking them off the endangered list. “It has been a fantastic success,” says Christina Boser, a California islands ecologist with the Nature Conservancy. If the FWS does delist the foxes, it would signify the fastest ever recovery of a mammal under the endangered species act. On one of the four islands, canine distemper was to blame for the foxes’ decline. But on the other three, golden eagles were preying on the small animals while hunting feral pigs. The protected golden eagles were trapped and relocated, and the pigs were eradicated, which caused some controversy. Bald eagles were reintroduced to the islands, and the fox population made a comeback. — Read it at The New York Times
Officials at the zoo have temporarily turned off the popular panda cam and closed the panda viewing area to give Bai Yun and Gao Gao a little privacy during mating season. They’ve been closely monitoring the female panda, Bai Yun, to determine when she’s entering estrus. The bears have only a two to three day window to mate each year. On Tuesday morning, they were put in the same enclosure for their first mating attempt since 2012. The couple has produced five cubs together. The most recent was born in July 2012. It will be several months before their caretakers know whether this mating attempt was successful. — Read it at Live Science
The Today show’s guide dog in training, Wrangler, reached a major milestone this week: he got his puppy jacket to wear while he’s being socialized in public. He earned he vest after completing his first “walk and talk” evaluation with his handler, Saxon Eastman, and a representative from his school, Guiding Eyes for the Blind. The evaluation included seeing how he deals with traffic and distractions that he’s likely to encounter in daily life. “Wrangler did fantastic, he’s coming along just as he should,” says his evaluator. — Read it at Today
A dog in McHenry County, Illinois, has been reunited with his owners after being found by a local resident and rescued by Officer Croner from the county sheriff’s office. The resident, who posted photos of the rescue on Facebook in an effort to find the owner, wrote to the sheriff’s office to let them know how much people appreciated the officer’s kind manner with the dog. He “was the most compassionate person I have ever seen in handling a stray dog that could have been dangerous and had been sprayed by a skunk,” the resident writes. “He carefully swaddled the dog in a blanket I had and gently carried him to safety, and I just want him to know how much the entire community has been impressed by his efforts.” — See photos at Facebook
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