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Jan. 6, 2015: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
At just 7 months old, Penny has now traveled to more states than her owners. Kendra and Colt Brown say their Vizsla puppy was picked up in Royal City, Wash., on Dec. 19 by a truck driver who thought she was a stray. The Browns managed to track down the truck driver by phone. He said he’d bring her back, but each time they contacted him, he was further across the country. Last week we told you about how the Browns were thrilled to get a phone call from a vet on Christmas Eve saying she had the pup — but she was 2,400 miles away, in Pennsylvania. With the help of Facebook, they worked with New Hope Vizsla Rescue to get Penny home. The group fostered her and helped arrange her transport to Washington, D.C., so she could fly to Seattle courtesy of Alaska Airlines. Penny had a happy, tail-wagging reunion with the Browns at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Friday night. "I know she has probably stolen the hearts of many people on her trip, but we are very excited to get her back,” said Kendra. The family then had a 3-hour ride back home to Royal City. — Watch it at Fox San Antonio
Following through on a promise it made in May, Petco has removed dog and cat treats made in China from all 1,300 of its stores over concerns that they’re linked to the deaths of 1,000 dogs and sickness of thousands of pets since 2007. PetSmart made the same promise in May and says it will have the treats removed from its own 1,300 stores by March. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been investigating Chinese-made jerky pet treats for years. The agency hasn’t been able to confirm a connection between the deaths and illnesses and the jerky treats but has recommended consumers use caution and avoid feeding them to their pets. — Read it from the AP via ABC News
A pod of killer whales called the J-pod, which hangs around Puget Sound in Washington state, has a new member who’s now about a week old. Ken Balcomb, a scientist at the Center for Whale Research, spotted the newborn while monitoring the pod on Dec. 30. It’s good news for this endangered pod of killer whales. It’s the first birth for the pod in two years and comes after the sad death of a pregnant female earlier last month. Scientists are unsure which of the whales in the pod is the baby’s mom. The baby is being referred to as J-50. Since J-50’s birth, the pod has stayed closer to the Strait of Georgia, which is more difficult for scientists to reach. About 35 to 40 percent of newborn orcas don’t survive past their first year, but experts are holding out hope for this one. — Read it at Live Science
The animal care team at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park is taking care of an extra special patient. At age 40, Nola is one of only five northern white rhinoceroses left in the world, and she’s being treated for a sinus infection. Luckily, it seems to be improving with the help of antibiotics. “It gives your job a different kind of weight when you realize 20 percent of the living population is under your care,” said associate veterinarian Meredith Clancy. “I think everyone who works with her understands she’s the last of her kind. She harbors a special place in all of our hearts.” The park’s other northern white rhino, Angalifu, died last month at age 44. There’s one female living at a zoo in the Czech Republic, and the other three members of the species live at a facility in Kenya. A team of more than 30 people has been helping to care for Nola during her illness, including eight keepers and seven veterinarians. They said the community has been pulling for her, too, sharing photos and posting well wishes on Facebook. — Read it at UT San Diego
The African lions at the Linton Zoo in England got a belated Christmas gift, but they didn’t seem to mind the delay. The Christmas trees that people are getting rid of at this time of year are treasures to these big cats. They’re “like catnip” for the zoo’s lions, said director Kim Simmons. The lions cuddle and roll around with the trees in their enclosure in a new video from the zoo. — Watch it at People Pets
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