Pet Scoop: Firefighters Give Girl Seizure Alert Dog, Marmosets Are Polite Conversationalists

Oct. 21, 2013: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Firefighters donated a puppy to Amira Jones to help detect her seizures.
Firefighters donated a puppy to Amira Jones to help detect her seizures.

Little Girl Gets Assistance Dog

Firefighters in Corona, Calif., are often called on to help 8-year-old Amira Jones, who suffers from frequent seizures. Some of the episodes have been severe enough to leave her in a coma. Firefighter Trevor Walsh had the idea to get Jones her own seizure alert dog to detect when she’s about to have a seizure, giving her mother more time to prepare and get her medication to make the seizure less severe. The dogs typically cost around $18,000, and there is a long waiting list to get one. Last week, Walsh and the Corona Firefighters Association presented the grateful Jones family with Mr. Snuggles, a Golden Retriever puppy who will be trained to help Amira. “The family didn’t ask for a dog,” said Jim Steiner, president of the Corona Firefighters Association. “It was the guys who saw a need. There are big hearts at Station 4.” — Read it at Life With Dogs

California Lead Ammunition Ban Could Help Condors

This month, Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation making California the first state to ban the use of toxic lead ammunition for hunting purposes. The law could help protect California condors, who’ve been brought back from the brink of extinction, along with many other kinds of animals. Several studies have found that scavenging species have been exposed to and affected by lead used for hunting. "Their principle source of exposure is from ingesting lead-based ammunition fragments, or in some cases pellets or shot, from carcasses that have been shot with lead-based ammunition," said Myra Finkelstein, a wildlife toxicologist at the University of Santa Cruz. Lead poisoning is the leading cause of death in young free-flying condors. — Read it at National Geographic

Dog Who Ran Half-Marathon Dies

We have a sad update to the story of Boogie, the chocolate Labrador Retriever who got an award after spontaneously running a half-marathon in Indiana on Oct. 5. Boogie had escaped from his leash two days earlier, and his owner, Jerry Butts, found him at a local shelter after the race. But Boogie’s owner announced on Facebook that the 10-year-old dog died of a heart attack on Oct. 15. “You know him as the first dog thought to have completed a half marathon unassisted, but to me and my sons, he was our companion, our watchdog, and a member of our family,” Butts wrote. “Boogie was a rascal and he went out the way he wanted, by being a little mischievous and not being too shy to soak up the glory.” — Read it at Time


Marmosets Take Turns Talking

Much like humans, marmoset monkeys can be polite conversationalists, researchers say. A recent study found the monkeys engage one another in conversation for as long as 30 minutes, taking turns talking to one another. "We were surprised by how reliably the marmoset monkeys exchanged their vocalizations in a cooperative manner,” said Princeton University scientist Asif Ghazanfar. “This makes what we found much more similar to human conversations and very different from the coordinated calling of animals such as birds, frogs, or crickets.” The study was published in the journal Current Biology. — Read it at UPI

Running of the Bulls Comes to Georgia

Now you don’t have to go to Pamplona, Spain, to run with the bulls. About 3,000 people donned red scarves at a Georgia horse park to try to outrun 18 bulls on Saturday. While many participants stood along fences while the bulls ran by, some daredevils sprinted with them. The Great Bull Run is touring the U.S., with stops planned in Texas, Florida, California, Illinois and Pennsylvania. — Read it at NBC News


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