Pet Scoop: Dog Found Alive in Mud-Filled Home, Shelter Looks for Kitten Cuddlers

Nov. 4, 2014: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Sean Pyle found his grandmother Mim Needham's dog, Tinkerbell, Sunday in her mud-filled home.
Sean Pyle found his grandmother Mim Needham's dog, Tinkerbell, Sunday in her mud-filled home.

Grandson Finds Dog Feared Dead

Henry and Mim Needham had to quickly flee their Camarillo, California, home when it became filled with 2 ½ feet of mud after a clogged debris basin overflowed in the rain Friday night. Fire crews had to use chainsaws to cut open the front door and get the couple out. Henry couldn’t find their 5-year-old Dachshund, Tinkerbell, and firefighters said they couldn’t find her either. They feared the little dog had been buried alive until their grandson, Sean Pyles, went back to the home Sunday morning. He heard a bark and saw Tinkerbell sitting by the window. The Ventura County Fire Department went inside to retrieve the mud-covered dog, and neighbors said tears flowed as she was reunited with her owners. “He’s my hero,” Mim Needham said of her grandson. — Watch it at Los Angeles’ ABC7

Study: Common New England Spider May Be Venomous

Scientists have found that the broad-faced sac spider that frequently shows up in New England homes in the fall, was the culprit that gave a Connecticut woman a venomous bite recently. Luckily, she didn’t suffer any serious side effects. She said she was standing in her kitchen when she felt a pain in her leg that felt “like the sting of a wasp,” said study co-author Charles Vossbrinck of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. It swelled but didn’t require medical attention and the swelling was gone by the next morning. She found the spider under a cabinet and brought it to the Connecticut Department of Environmental Sciences. The broad-faced sac spider is a hunting spider that’s often found hanging around the outside of buildings but sometimes wanders inside in autumn. If you are bitten by a broad-faced sac spider, watch for signs of infection and try to capture the spider in case you need to see a doctor, Vossbrinck said. Most likely the pain will subside on its own and the redness will disappear within a day without medical attention, he said. The study was published in the Journal of Medical Entomology. — Read it at Discovery News

Ebola Vaccine Found to Protect Monkeys

In a small study, a nasal spray with an Ebola vaccine was found to keep all nine monkeys in the study free of the Ebola virus a year after their vaccination, researchers reported Monday. The vaccine uses a common cold virus that carries a tiny piece of Ebola DNA. The results, which were published in the journal Molecular Pharmaceutics, were better than expected but researcher Maria Croyle of the University of Texas at Austin’s College of Pharmacy said her team is “at the crossroads, trying to figure out where to get the funding and resources to continue.” The next step would be testing the vaccine in people. She’s hoping to get the federal government, a drug company or both to work with her to advance the research. — Read it at NBC News

The Westgate Ark cat rehoming center in England is looking for volunteers to cuddle with its kittens.
The Westgate Ark cat rehoming center in England is looking for volunteers to cuddle with its kittens.

Shelter Looks for Volunteer Cuddlers

It’s hard to imagine the Westgate Ark cat rehoming center in Newcastle, England, will have any trouble getting people to answer their latest plea for volunteers: they need people to snuggle with their kittens. “We rescue a lot of pregnant cats and semi-feral kittens and they all need handling so that they’re nice and used to people, which makes them much more suitable for homes,” said the center’s Paul Black. The center wants the kittens to be handled by people when they’re between three and seven weeks old. “If you miss that window of opportunity and they’re not exposed to people extensively by that age then they become feral or semi-feral, and the older they become the harder it is to domesticate them,” he said. — Read it at the U.K.’s Independent

Military Dog Gets Heart Surgery Thanks to Donations

In September, we told you about Kay, the bomb-sniffing military dog with heart cancer who needed surgery to make him more comfortable during his retirement with his former handler in Colorado. It took just two weeks to raise far more than the $6,000 needed for his treatment with a GoFundMe account. Now, veterinarians at the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital have performed the surgery to remove fluid from around Kay’s heart to help extend his life. Kay, a Pit Bull and Labrador Retriever mix, served with his owner, Army Specialist Brandon Donahue, in Afghanistan. “He put his life in danger more than I did sometimes, and it just means the world that we were able to return the favor,” Donahue said. — Watch it at ABC News


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