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April 23, 2015: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
It was love at first sight when 3-year-old Sapphyre Johnson met Lt. Dan, a 9-week-old white German Shepherd puppy who was born without one of his front paws. Sapphy, who’s a patient at the Shriners Hospital for Children in Greenville, South Carolina, has a special connection to the pup. She had to have her feet amputated when she was a baby due to a congenital condition. She also has only two fingers on each hand. Karen Riddle, an AKC breeder, had contacted the hospital because she wanted to find an empathetic home for Lt. Dan, who’s named for the “Forrest Gump” character who lost his legs. “I just knew he had a very special purpose,” Riddle told the hospital. The hospital put her in touch with the Johnson family of Tennessee, and the puppy went home with them Monday. "It was amazing to see Sapphy and her puppy," said her mother, Ashley Johnson. "She pays attention to hands and feet on everyone and everything, I guess because she realizes hers are different. So she loves him. She took her prosthetic feet off to show him her feet, and he held his little paw up and it was so cute." The pair has quickly become pals. Since they’ve returned home, “Lt. Dan follows Sapphy around everywhere. He is always right there beside her. Wherever she goes, he goes. They’re already the best of friends,” says Johnson. — Read it at Today
A major field study finds that exposure to neonicotinoid insecticides reduced the density of wild bees, resulted in less reproduction and negatively impacted the growth of their colonies. "I was quite, 'Oh my God,'" at the first results of the research said lead author Maj Rundlof of Sweden’s Lund University. The reduction in bee health was "much more dramatic than I ever expected," she said. The European Union has a moratorium on the use of neonicotinoids and some environmentalists want to see the same in the United States. The study was published in the journal Nature. — Read it from the AP via Yahoo
Surprising findings published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B show that wolves are more tolerant than dogs, which could explain why wolves are so good at cooperating with each other. Factors including losing the fear of humans and accepting them as social partners could explain why dogs became domesticated and make better pets. "Wolves cooperate more (than dogs do) in terms of breeding, defending territories and probably hunting," said lead author Friederike Range. "Dogs are scavengers." The researchers raised a pack of wolves and a pack of dogs and studied their interactions. They found that in the wolves, the higher-ranking members were more tolerant of the lower-ranking ones. But in the dogs, the lower-ranking members didn’t dare to challenge the higher-ranking members of their pack. — Read it at Discovery News
Last week, police in Midland, Texas, responded to a call about a man who allegedly threw two puppies into rush hour traffic and then left the scene. Unfortunately, one of the puppies ran off before the officers could get to it. But, they were able to catch the second puppy and bring her to a local animal shelter. She was frightened, but luckily, she wasn’t injured — and she didn’t spend much time at the shelter. Midland Police Lieutenant Brian Rackow fell for little Marley and adopted her. The police later arrested the man who’d put the puppies in danger and charged him with animal cruelty. — Read it at the Midland Reporter-Telegram
A busy stretch of road in Scotland was tied up Wednesday when Don the sheepdog took off in his owner’s tractor. Don was sitting in the passenger seat while his owner, farmer Tom Hamilton, got out of the vehicle to check on some lambs. At that point, Don apparently leaned on the controls of the utility vehicle and inadvertently drove it across the M74. Hamilton turned around to see the vehicle crash through a fence and head down an embankment into the road. It stopped when it hit the road’s central barrier. Thankfully, Don wasn’t hurt and the vehicle didn’t run into any other cars on the road. — Watch it at BBC News
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