Pet Scoop: Dogs Bring Comfort to Connecticut, New Primate Discovered in Borneo

Dec. 17, 2012: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Comfort dogs visit children in Newtown, Conn.
Comfort dogs visit children in Newtown, Conn.
K-9 Team Travels to Newtown

A team of 10 Golden Retrievers who are trained to provide comfort to those in need, and their handlers, traveled from the Chicago area this weekend to Newtown, Conn., where a gunman tragically killed 20 children and seven adults on Friday. The dogs are bred and trained by Lutheran Church Charities. They’re placed in schools and churches and visit hospitals and nursing homes — and are often deployed to disaster scenes. “Dogs are nonjudgmental. They are loving. They are accepting of anyone,” said Tim Hetzner, the organization’s president. “It creates the atmosphere for people to share.” CNN’s Don Lemon interviewed Hetzner on Sunday night at a makeshift memorial in Newtown. “I haven’t really seen anyone smiling out here and these dogs showed up and the kids started smiling,” Lemon said. — Read it at AP via the Boston Herald and watch it on CNN via YouTube

Antifreeze Makers to Add Bittering Agent

Manufacturers that make antifreeze and engine coolant in the United States have agreed to voluntarily add a bitter flavoring agent to the otherwise sweet-tasting liquid, in an effort to prevent poisonings of animals and children, the Consumer Specialty Products Association and the Humane Society Legislative Fund announced last week. Thousands of animals have been killed each year after ingesting these liquids from open containers in garages or from driveway spills. “This is a ground-breaking example of what’s right with Washington,” said Sara Amundson, executive director of the HSLF.  — Read it at DVM 360

Researchers Find New Species of Slow Loris

By studying the distinctive markings of a nocturnal primate from Southeast Asia known for its venomous bite, researchers have uncovered a new species of slow loris. "In the first study to quantify facial mask differences we have recognized three new species of slow loris, two of which were recognized as subspecies at some point in the past, but are now elevated to species status, and one previously unrecognized group," explained Rachel Munds from the University of Missouri, Columbia. The study was published in the American Journal of Primatology. — Read it at Science Daily

Teddy Bear, here eating a Christmas cookie, can be heard in 'The Hobbit.'
Teddy Bear, here eating a Christmas cookie, can be heard in 'The Hobbit.'

Teddy Bear the Porcupine Heard in ‘The Hobbit’

If you thought you recognized the voice of the hedgehog in The Hobbit, which had a record-breaking opening this weekend, you were right! The “talking” porcupine who’s delighted us with his love of corn and cookies was recorded by the movie’s sound editor, and revealed on Saturday that he’d officially made it into the movie. “Now, what will I wear to the Oscars? Where's Joan Rivers ...” he wrote on his Facebook fan page. — Read it at Teddy Bear’s Facebook Page

Katherine Heigl Admits 7 Dogs and 2 Kids Is Tough

The actress and animal advocate says that having seven dogs at home while trying to care for a newborn and a 4-year-old isn’t easy. “Yeah, I wouldn't recommend that," she joked to People. "I really love these dogs, but it's a lot with two little kids." Heigl says, “the train started rolling” after she adopted one dog, and she’s taken in several others since. She hopes that being surrounded by animals will provide her children with a sense of comfort. — Read it at People Pets

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