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April 22, 2014: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
Dazzling in a pink tutu and painted toenails, 18-month-old Lucey lapped up the attention as she won Drake University’s 35th annual “Beautiful Bulldog” contest in Iowa on Monday. Lucey topped a field of 49 other wrinkly contestants to take the crown — and win her own cake. She was calm and collected as always when she took the prize. Her owner, Dr. Tiffany Torstenson, who’s a breast surgeon, says she often brings her dog to work. Her patients love Lucey so much that Torstenson plans to start training her as a therapy dog. “She is very docile, and she doesn’t get really excited,” said Torstenson, who lives in Iowa. “Every room we go into, she’s in that room. She likes to sleep in the bed, and hog the bed. And she loves cheese.” The Beautiful Bulldog event started in 1979 to honor the English Bulldog breed, and to find a real dog to represent Drake’s mascot, the Bulldogs. Lucey will continue her reign until next year’s contest. — Read it from the AP via the Washington Post
Scientists who examined 36 different species, including birds, dogs, elephants and primates, among others, found that animals with larger brains or more complex diets had greater self-control. Duke University researchers compared the animals’ performance in two experiments with their absolute brain size and with brain size relative to body size. Both are measures thought to correlate with cognitive capacity in animals. Apes did well on the tests, as the researchers expected. They were surprised that dogs and wolves showed as much control as they did. Overall, animals with larger brains did better than those with smaller brains, but the researchers said relative brain size was not linked to self-control. — Read it at Live Science
They’ve opened in Tokyo, London, Paris and San Francisco. Now, New York City is getting its own Cat Café — if only for a few days. Visitors to the café by Purina One can sip a “cat'achino” while listening to cat experts and playing with cats who are up for adoption from the North Shore Animal League America. The café will be open on Broadway in the Bowery section of Manhattan this week from Thursday to Sunday. Its organizers at Purina One are hoping that the café will encourage people to focus more on cat health, and that some of the resident felines might find forever homes with its patrons. — Read it at NBC New York
In honor of Earth Day, the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the National Zoo are announcing the launch of their Endangered Song Project. The zoo partnered with the indie rock band “Portugal. The Man” to distribute a new song titled “Sumatran Tiger.” There are only an estimated 400 Sumatran tigers in the wild, so the song was lathe-cut onto 400 custom polycarbonate records designed to degrade after a certain number of plays. The zoo is calling on 400 participants to digitize and share the song on their social media networks to save it from “extinction” — and raise awareness about the need for conservation efforts to save critically endangered tigers. “Growing up in Alaska, we were surrounded by wildlife and the beauty of the natural world. We learned that we can't take these things for granted,” said John Gourley of “Portugal. The Man.” — Read it from the National Zoo
The Easter bunny and the Obama family were on hand for the 136th annual Easter Egg Roll on the White House lawn on Monday. But the crowd of 30,000 went wild when the first family’s Portuguese Water Dogs, Bo and Sunny, made their entrance. The duo joined first lady Michelle Obama when she read My Garden by Kevin Henkes to a group of children, and hung out with their dog walker, Dale Haney, outside the Oval Office. — See photos at People Pets
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