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May 20, 2016: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
On Monday morning, Cody Michael texted his parents a photo of himself and his German Shepherd, Bauer, hiking in the Sierra Nevada wilderness. He said he planned to do some fishing and leave by noon, but when they hadn’t heard from them by that night, they got worried. The Placer County, California, Sheriff’s Office began a search for Michael, 23, and Bauer that lasted three days. Finally, on Thursday morning, members of the National Guard flying overhead in helicopters spotted Michael’s campsite and a makeshift sign he’d made from duct tape reading “HELP.” The recent college graduate and his dog were lifted into the Blackhawk helicopter and brought to a command post, where the two were reunited with their family. Michael had made a wrong turn and walked several miles in the wrong direction, then became disoriented. “It’s nothing short of a miracle,” said Dena Erwin, a spokeswoman for the Placer County Sheriff’s Office. “To see him reunited with his family, they were so delighted.” — Read it at the Sacramento Bee
There are only 150 Florida grasshopper sparrows left in the wild, making it one of North America’s most endangered birds. On May 9, the first four captive-bred chicks hatched at the Rare Species Conservatory Foundation in Loxahatchee, Fla. So far, their mom seems to be taking good care of her nestlings. “This breakthrough is great news because the Florida grasshopper sparrow couldn’t be more vulnerable,” said Sandra Sneckenberger, one of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s lead biologists on the bird’s recovery effort. Storms in Florida have flooded the wild birds’ first nest attempts, raising concerns about the 2016 population count. — Read it at Discovery News
Researchers conducting an ongoing dog study at the University of Washington are hoping to understand how and why signs of aging happen — and possibly to help slow them down. In the study’s first phase, researcher Matt Kaeberlein has been conducting a clinic trial of the drug rapamycin, which significantly extended the lives of mice. A 10-week trial of it in large-breed, middle-aged pet dogs showed it improved heart function. The next step for the Dog Aging Project will involve studying 10,000 companion dogs to create a public database that could be used by veterinarians and researchers to better understand canine aging. They’re hoping what they learn will also help shed light on aging in humans. "Improving our understanding of aging enables us to improve so many other dimension of health care for everyone," said Kate Creevy, of Texas A&M University's College of Veterinary Medicine. — Read it at CBS News
While helping a driver stranded on Interstate 20 near Leeds, Alabama, Wednesday night, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputy Sanford wound up rescuing a kitten. “As he worked the jack near the front tire [Sanford] heard a faint cry from the engine compartment of the car. He had the driver open the hood and discovered a small gray and white kitten inside," the sheriff's office said in a press release. The kitten had apparently snuck under the hood before the family left Atlanta — which is about 130 miles from Leeds. Sanford named the stowaway Atlanta and got her food and water before bringing her to the Greater Birmingham Humane Society. She had a few burns but is already healing, the shelter said in a Facebook post on Thursday. — Read it at Alabama’s ABC 33/40
There’s happy news for Haus, the German Shepherd who protected his family’s 7-year-old girl from a rattlesnake in their backyard on May 11. He’s finally back home after being treated for a week at Blue Pearl Emergency Veterinary Clinic in Tampa. The 2-year-old dog was bitten three times by the snake and needed a steady drip of antivenin instead of one or two doses, which is the typical amount. Veterinarians also had to treat him for muscle damage in his legs for the severe bites. A crowd of supporters cheered as Haus left the animal hospital Thursday. Today, he’ll receive the “Heroic Dog Award” from PETA. — Read it at Tampa’s Fox 13
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