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Dec. 17, 2014: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
Tracy and Terrance Hatcher are being called “heroes” for saving their 67-year-old neighbor from her burning home Sunday night — but the couple says it is their dog, Angelina, who deserves the credit. "She's the one that was pretty persistent in getting us out and making us know that something was really wrong," Tracy said. The Hatchers say Angelina barked at them until they got out of bed and went outside their Jacksonville, Arkansas, home. That’s when Terrance saw smoke billowing from his neighbor Doris Nunley’s house, and heard her cries for help from the garage, where she was trapped. Nunley’s daughter, Jennifer Roberts, says her mother woke up to a massive fire in her living room at about 11 p.m. and was able to crawl to the garage, but couldn’t open the door. The Hatchers ripped a panel off the garage door and pulled Nunley to safety. She was taken to the hospital for minor smoke inhalation but is expected to be fine. "They are the reason why she is alive and she wanted them to be recognized for what they did for her," Roberts said of the Hatchers. — Watch it at Washington’s WUSA9
Peace and Paws Rescue in New Hampshire found the perfect foster home for Derby, a dog who was born with deformed front legs. His foster parent, Tara Anderson, was a 3DSystems employee. She got two designers and an animal orthotist to scan Derby’s legs and make perfectly fitting cradles that allow him to run and play. Now that the prosthetics have been made, they could feasibly be scaled up or down to help other animals, too. “This is what 3D printing is all about,” said Anderson. “To be able to help anybody — a dog, a person — to have a better life? There’s just no better thing to be involved in.” — Read it at Tech Crunch
New research finds that humpback whales may use “tick-tock” noises to cooperate with each other while hunting for prey on the seafloor. Whales were tagged with special underwater recording devices and revealed that the animals make clock-like noises while hunting together in the pitch dark at night, but are silent when they’re hunting alone. "Hints of behavior suggest that other whales who overhear the sounds are attracted to them and may eavesdrop on other whales hunting for food," said study co-author Susan Parks of Syracuse University. The study’s findings were published in the journal Scientific Reports. — Read it at Science Daily
Norman Bridwell, the author and illustrator of the iconic “Clifford the Big Red Dog” children’s book series, died Friday on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts at age 86. The Clifford series celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013. The books featured a red dog who was as big as a house, and his loving young owner, Emily Elizabeth, who was named after Bridwell’s daughter. The books, which help kids learn to get along with others, have been translated into 13 languages and sold more than 129 million copies, according to publisher Scholastic. Clifford’s stories also became an animated TV series on PBS. “Norman Bridwell’s books about Clifford, childhood’s most lovable dog, could only have been written by a gentle man with a great sense of humor,” said Dick Robinson, Scholastic’s president and CEO. — Read it at The New York Times
Sometimes, everyone needs a little help from a friend. A viral video from the Taipei Zoo in Taiwan shows a giant tortoise coming to the aid of his fellow tortoise, who was stuck upside down on his shell. The hero uses his head and front legs to nudge his companion and flip him back to his feet while children can be heard cheering in the background. — Watch it at Today
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