Pet Scoop: Houdini Escapes Shelter and Finds New Family, Rare Lion Cubs Born in Sweden

Oct. 14, 2013: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Houdini, an Australian Shepherd, escaped from a Colorado shelter and found a potential forever family.
Houdini, an Australian Shepherd, escaped from a Colorado shelter and found a potential forever family.
Dog Unlocks Doors to Adoption

A 5-year-old Australian Shepherd in Colorado apparently decided to take a search for a forever family into his own paws. Earning his name, Houdini managed to free himself from his kennel at the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region, and then open two doors to leave the building overnight on Tuesday. "He had to actually push down the handle, push the door open and walk through it in both cases," said the shelter’s Gretchen Pressley. Shelter staff discovered the dog was missing on Tuesday morning and checked the security cameras, where they were stunned to watch Houdini’s outbreak. But the best trick was that Houdini was back at the shelter hours later — with a family that had found him on the street and wanted to adopt him. "We think he's wonderful and as much as I would love for his owner to come and claim him, we can't wait to welcome him into my family," said Ashley Heister. The shelter was just giving the dog’s original family a little more time to find him before allowing him to go home with Heister. — Watch it at Kentucky’s WAVE 3 News

Firefighters Bring Cat Back to Life

Gert, a 4-year-old cat, is alive thanks to the heroics of firefighters in London. When firefighters responded to the blaze at Michael Morrison’s home on Sept. 28, the distraught owner begged them to save his motionless cat. Morrison gave up his oxygen mask for his pet, which helped Gert start breathing again. She had to be placed in an oxygen tent for two days and was fed through feeding tubes, and is continuing to recuperate at the Celia Hammond Animal Trust. “She has come on in leaps and bounds ... Although she is still wobbly we hope that she will regain full normality in time,” said Kylie Simons, a veterinary surgeon from Celia Hammond. — Read it at People Pets

Huge Amazonian Fish Named New Species

A giant air-breathing fish in the Amazon has been reclassified as the first entirely new species of arapaima since 1847. The massive freshwater fish live in tropical South America and can grow to be up to 10 feet and 440 pounds. They breathe through one lung and tend to live in oxygen-poor backwaters. Arapaima leptosome, the newest species, is more slender than other types of arapaimas, and has a horizontal black bar on the side of its head. Donald Stewart, a fish biologist at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), worked to get the fish classified as a new species. His research on the fish was published in the journal Copeia.— Read it at National Geographic

The trio will soon meet their 2-year-old siblings at Sweden's Parken Zoo.
The trio will soon meet their 2-year-old siblings at Sweden's Parken Zoo.

Swedish Zoo Shows Off Lion Cubs

At 3 months old, a trio of Asiatic lion cubs at the Parken Zoo in Sweden are already defying mom Ishara, throwing themselves on their backs when she tries to pick them up by the scruff of their necks. They’re the second litter born to Ishara and her partner, Kaya, who also have two 2-year-olds at the zoo. The cubs recently had their first veterinary exam and got their vaccines, and are ready to meet their siblings, Khana and Gir. There are only about 350 of the endangered lions left in India’s Gir Forest area. — See photos at Zooborns

National Zoo Solicits Panda Names

There’s been no news about the National Zoo’s female panda cub since the federal government shut down at the start of the month, but the zoo has asked members of the Friends of the National Zoo to submit their ideas for a name for the cub by 5 p.m. Tuesday. Before you start brainstorming, keep in mind that the names must be in Mandarin Chinese and spelled out phonetically! The actual naming of the cub won’t take place until she’s 100 days old, following Chinese tradition. And if you’re not a Friend of the National Zoo, you still have a chance at panda naming. You can vote on the names for Zoo Atlanta’s twin pandas through Good Morning America until Oct. 20. — Read it at Washington’s WJLA

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