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Feb. 11, 2014: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
At a Pennsylvania animal shelter, kids and kitties are being paired up as reading partners for one adorable book club. More than 20 children in grades 1 to 8 visit the Animal Rescue League of Berks County in Birdsboro, Penn., on a weekly basis, where they read to homeless cats in the Reading Buddies program. The kids get a willing, non-judgmental — and cute — audience. And the cats get some much-needed company and socialization, and they like the soothing, rhythmic sound of the child’s voice. “One little boy has autism and his mom home schools him,” says Beth Ireland, the shelter’s marketing and communications director. “His mom knows that interaction with animals is helpful and it has been. He’s blossomed while he’s here. It’s so sweet to watch.” — Read it from Crayons and Collars
Snuffles, a Belgian Shepherd who appears to have two noses because his nostrils aren’t fused together, has been adopted. At just 5 months old, Snuffles has already had four owners and wound up at the Dogs Trust Rehoming Centre in Scotland. His appearance is caused by a rare congenital defect, but it hasn’t caused any health problems. His story made headlines last week, and the shelter was overwhelmed with inquiries from people who wanted to give him a loving home. Next week, Snuffles, who the shelter manager describes as "an affectionate, energetic fun-loving boy,” will start a new life with a family from East Lothian. — Read it at the Huffington Post
A Laysan albatross named Wisdom broke her own record, hatching what the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says could be her 35th chick off the north Pacific. A year ago, she surprised researchers when she had her last healthy hatchling. Wisdom, who’s one of the world’s most endangered sea birds, was first tagged by U.S. Geological Survey researcher in 1956. Her species is at risk in part because the birds mistake plastic debris in the ocean for food, and are unable to digest it. — Watch it from Buzz 60 via Science Daily
Three months after arriving at the San Diego Zoo, Mila had cleared quarantine and test results show she’s healthy — so it was time for her to meet her new herd’s matriarch, Mary. It had been 30 years since Mila had interacted with another elephant, and her keepers weren’t sure how she would react. Luckily, Mary is accustomed to greeting newcomers. A barrier was kept between them during their first meet and greet last month. “Mila was surprised to find something as big as her on the other side of the wall!” wrote keeper Robbie Clark. During their first interactions, there was some nudging and pushing, and “even a temper tantrum or two on Mila’s end.” But in a video shared by the zoo yesterday, the pair can be seen sweetly holding trunks. The keepers say they’re confident that Mila and Mary’s relationship will grow and that they’ll soon be able to share the same space. — Watch it at YouTube
Butler University didn’t just bring their basketball team when they traveled from Indiana to Washington, D.C., for a game against Georgetown University. They also brought along their Bulldog mascot, Butler Blue III (or Trip), for a snout-to-snout meeting with Georgetown’s Jack (the smaller dog in the video). They romped, played and did lots of panting, and it looks like these two can be both friends and rivals. Georgetown currently has two living Bulldog mascots named Jack. Their full names are John S. Carroll, who was born in 2003, and John B. Carroll, who was born in 2013. The transition to a new representative hasn’t always been smooth — the school briefly had another puppy, J.J. in 2012 and 2013, but it was later decided that he would be better off in a home environment. He was adopted in August by a family who lives nearby. — Watch it from The Bleacher Report
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