Pet Scoop: Dog Protects Family From Snake, Grumpy Cat Scores Endorsement Deal

Sept. 19, 2013: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Jeff, a Staffordshire Terrier, is credited with defending his family from a deadly snake.

Dog Survives Snake Bites

The three young children in Jeff’s family spend most of their time playing in the vegetable garden at their home in Gold Coast, Australia. So when Jeff, a Staffordshire Terrier, found one of the world’s most venomous snakes lurking out there last week, he defended his family — but suffered life-threatening bites to the nose. Owner Michael Moskwa found the snake and his dog in the garden and rushed Jeff to the veterinarian. The vet gave Jeff three shots of anti-venom and warned the family that he wasn’t confident their protector would survive. But Jeff made it, and is now back home with his grateful and relieved family. — Read it at Life With Dogs

Tiger Genome May Help Preserve Big Cats

Scientists who mapped the genome of a tiger for the first time say the big cats have several mutations that give it powerful, fast-acting muscles for hunting down prey. The researchers compared the genes of an endangered Siberian tiger with those of a Bengal tiger, a snow leopard and a lion. The study shows that all cats — including domestic cats — are very similar genetically. Big cats likely "evolved to fill a very particular carnivorous niche in the environment that is predicated on the advantages in hunting these genes provide," said study co-author Jong Bhak. The gene map, published in the journal Nature Communications, may help in aiding efforts to preserve diversity in wild tiger populations. — Read it at National Geographic

Detroit Zoo to Build $21 Million Penguin Center

With the biggest private donation in its 85-year history, the Detroit Zoo announced Wednesday that it plans to build the biggest home for penguins in the United States. Nearly half of the cost of the 24,000-square-foot facility will be covered by a $10 million donation by businessman Stephen Polk and his family. But the zoo still needs to raise $8 million more to cover the total cost. The facility will feature a 310,000-gallon, 25-foot-deep aquatic area, where visitors will get to see four species of penguins diving in the water. — Read it from the AP via Yahoo

Purina's Friskies
Grumpy Cat will be the official "spokescat" for Friskies brand cat food.

Grumpy Cat Endorses Friskies

She must be hiding a smile somewhere under that scowl. Internet sensation Grumpy Cat’s latest business deal makes her the official “spokescat” for Friskies brand cat food. Among her first duties will be an appearance at the Friskies cat video awards show on Oct. 15, where she’ll be the recipient of a lifetime achievement award. It’s just the latest in a line of successes for the cat whose real name is Tardar Sauce. She’s also got a movie deal, and her line of coffee, Grumppuccino, hits store shelves this month. — Read it at CNN Money

Good News for Dog Who Helped Save Police K9

Earlier this week, we told you about Buddy, the shelter dog who gave blood to Ely, a police dog, helping to save his life. Well, as word of Buddy’s good deed spread, the Benz family in Tennessee heard about the homeless pup and decided to go and meet him. “He’s really, really, really sweet and just took to us immediately,” said Beth Benz. “We’ve always been a pet family, and we’ve got a tall fence around the backyard, so it’s just natural for us to take in another one.” Buddy had been surrendered to the Williams Animal Hospital because he didn’t get along with a small dog in his previous owner’s home. But he’s doing just fine at his new forever home. “He’s so appreciative. He’s like, ‘Thank you, thank you,’” said Benz. — Read it at Tennessee’s Daily News Journal

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