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Nov. 17, 2015: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
After waiting for eight long years, Butchie’s dreams finally came true late last month. The Pit Bull mix was just two years old when he arrived at the Worcester County Humane Society in Maryland. But although shelter workers say he’s a great dog, he would put off most potentially adopters by fearfully barking when he met them. Finally, the perfect match arrived. Kim Shaneybrook came in looking for an older dog to join her two other dogs at her Delaware home. Butchie had an instant connection to Kim, and her dogs. “When Kim came in, it was really just a miracle,” said adoption coordinator Jessica Summers. “She's the perfect candidate.” Shaneybrook said that despite his many years in the shelter, Butchie is settling right in at home, curling up comfortably on the furniture. "He doesn't have a mean bone in his body,” Shaneybrook told Delmarvanow. — Read it at People Pets
The Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrel was one of the first species to get federal protection. It has been a conservation success story, and next month, it will finally be removed from the Endangered species list, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced. The large squirrels are native to Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, and make their home in rural, forested areas and agricultural fields. The species was nearly wiped out in the mid-20th century due to habitat loss and hunting, but since protections were put in place, it has increased its range, and its population is now estimated at 20,000. — Read it at Discovery News
Researchers at North Carolina State University have created a device that helps blind owners keep tabs on their guide dog’s health and well-being. "Dogs primarily communicate through their movements and posture, which makes it difficult or impossible for people who are blind to fully understand their dogs' needs on a moment-to-moment basis," said David Roberts, an assistant professor of computer science at NC State and co-author of a paper describing the new technology. The new device can monitor a dog's breathing and heart rate and share the information with the dog's handler. "It is widely believed that stress is a significant contributing factor to early retirement of guide dogs and other service animals. The technology may also be able to help handlers detect other health problems, such as symptoms of heat exhaustion," said Sean Mealin, a Ph.D. student at NC State and lead author of the paper, who is blind and has a guide dog himself. — Read it at Science Daily
Tumbles, who was born last month without his front legs, is now able to get around with the help of a custom-built 3-D printed wheelchair. The puppy was taken to Friends of the Shelter Dogs in Ohio at two weeks old because he had trouble nursing. A volunteer for the rescue and her husband came up with a design for some wheels for Tumbles, and went to the Ohio University Innovation Center to make it a reality. It took 14 hours for the center to print the wheelchair. "Our main goal [was] to get him off the ground. The second thing is to get him used to it,” said Joe Jollick, lab director of the Innovation Center. "It's a tiny, little puppy so it's going to take some work.” Tumbles will undergo physical therapy to acclimate him to his wheels. Karen Pilcher, who fosters Tumbles, said that despite his challenges, the puppy’s “spirit is incredible … He’s perfectly happy and he loves to play.” — Watch it at ABC News
Their wet footprints were a dead giveaway. A funny video released by the Odense Zoo in Denmark shows a group of penguins trying to waddle their way to freedom. They took off down a corridor meant for staff members, but they came to a dead end — with a keeper hot on their trail. At that point, they gave up and made a U-turn to head back to their enclosure. The zoo joked on Facebook that the birds had been inspired by the wacky antics of the “Penguins of Madagascar.” — Watch it at UPI
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