Pet Scoop: Hero Pony Protects Her Foal From Barn Fire, Ellen Page Renames Fans’ Pets

April 23, 2014: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Bella and Butterscotch are pictured in their barn days before the fire.
Bella and Butterscotch are pictured in their barn days before the fire.

Mom Saves Her Foal’s Life

When firefighters in Alvarado, Texas, were fighting a tragic blaze in a barn on April 6, they were stunned to find a pony named Bella blocking her 2-week-old foal, Butterscotch, from the flames. "She actually kind of backed the baby into the corner and stood over her and shielded her from the fire and the debris that was falling," says Whitney Hanson of the Humane Society of North Texas. Butterscotch ended up with minor burns, but Bella has had a difficult recovery from severe burns over much of her body as well as smoke inhalation. “The only reason she has survived and pulled through this is because she loves that baby so much and she wants to be here for the baby,” Hanson says. Knowing they were unable to care for their beloved ponies’ injuries, the owners surrendered them to the Humane Society, which has been providing around-the-clock care. Now, the group is hoping to raise $4,000 to cover the costs of intensive and expensive treatments for the pair. — Watch it at USA Today

Record Number of Seal Rescues in California

Treatment facilities in California say they’ve admitted a record number of seals and sea lions for this time of year after a “perfect storm” of causes. The Marine Mammal Center usually treats only 600 to 800 marine animals a year. But so far this year, they’ve already cared for 380 animals: 202 California sea lions, 145 elephant seals and 33 harbor seals, including Hoppie, the sea lion pup who made headlines when he was found 100 miles inland. The center’s lead veterinarian, Dr. Shawn Johnson, says that among the problems that are to blame for the necessity of so many rescues are elephant seal pups who are weaned from their mothers too soon and a large algal bloom (that forms when there's an excess of algae in an area) in Monterey Bay that releases toxins. — Read it at National Geographic

Police in Canada Save Black Bear

Authorities in Ontario had a Winnie-the-Pooh-like rescue of a black bear on Sunday. Sudbury Police found the bear wandering around with its head stuck in a large plastic container used to store birdseed. The bear, who couldn’t see, was bumping into things in its path — including a police car. Officials from Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources tranquilized the animal and safely cut the jar off of its head. The bear was then safely relocated. — Read it at the Huffington Post

@lenadunham Tweeted Ellen Page this photo, asking her to rename her dog. The name? Miranda.
@lenadunham Tweeted Ellen Page this photo, asking her to rename her dog. The name? Miranda.

Ellen Page Renames Fans’ Pets

The 27-year-old Canadian actress might be best known for her title role in 2007’s Juno. But she has a new hobby that’s quickly caught on: renaming her fans’ dogs, cats and even gerbils on Twitter. Fans Tweet Ellen Page a photo of their pet, and she Tweets back a new name. “Guys, I don’t know how to stop this,” she wrote last night. And before that, “This is addictive ‪#dogs ‪#names ‪#fun.” @Petfinder jumped in on the trend, writing, “Hey ‪@EllenPage, we have 307,323 adoptable pets you can name. Start with this guy?” (Page named that dog Freddie.) And @lenadunham, creator of HBO’s Girls, wrote, “‪@EllenPage rename ours because this is joyful! ‪#pleaseandthankyou.” Page renamed Dunham’s dog Miranda. — Read it at People Pets and check out more from Ellen Page on Twitter

Today Is National Lost Dog Awareness Day

Created by the directors of Lost Dogs of Illinois and Wisconsin, the first annual National Lost Dog Awareness Day aims to bring attention to all the dogs who are lost each year — and to those are happily reunited with their families. Several states have followed the successful formula of Lost Dogs Illinois, a free service that uses social media to facilitate statewide search parties as soon as a lost dog alert is released. The states have come together under the umbrella of Lost Dogs of America, and have helped reunite 21,000 pets with their families since 2010, decreasing the number of dogs who are brought to shelters. “When a dog goes missing, many families give up looking for their lost pet. National Lost Dog Awareness Day was created to give hope to the families still looking for their dogs and remind the public that not all stray dogs are homeless,” says Susan Taney, one of the event’s creators.

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