Pet Scoop: Penn Vet Graduates First Canine Class, "Anti-Social" Gorilla Gets a New Home

Sept. 26, 2013: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Socks, a Labrador Retriever, is fitted with a mortarboard at her graduation from the Penn Vet Working Dog Center.
Socks, a Labrador Retriever, is fitted with a mortarboard at her graduation from the Penn Vet Working Dog Center.

Seven Working Dogs Graduate

The first tail-wagging graduates from the Penn Vet Working Dog Center in Philadelphia bounded up on to the stage to be recognized for their achievement on Tuesday, and then showed off some of their skills in an obstacle course. All of the center’s 16 dogs in training are named for dogs who served at the scene of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. This year’s class of seven graduates, who started training as puppies when the center opened a year ago, will go on to serve as search-and-rescue dogs or as assistants to people with medical conditions. The dogs in the program were donated by breeders and live with foster families when they’re not in school during the day. The center’s second class is now hard at work on its training, including working on an ovarian cancer detection study. — Read it from the AP via the Washington Post and read Vetstreet's interview with the center's director from last year

Small Animals Sense Time Differently

A new study led by scientists at Ireland’s Trinity College Dublin suggests that time moves at different speeds for different species. Animals with small bodies and fast metabolic rates, such as flies or hummingbirds, perceive more information in a unit of time, therefore experiencing action more slowly than larger animals with slower metabolic rates, like humans, researchers found. This difference in the perception of time helps some small-bodied animals with their survival, allowing them to stay ahead of their predators. The study was published in the journal Animal Behaviour. — Read it at the Huffington Post

Zoo Bans Animal Print Clothing

If you’re headed to the zoo in Surrey, England, leave your leopard print at home. Saying they believe clothing featuring animal prints confuses the animals themselves, Chessington World of Adventures has issued a zero tolerance policy on visitors wearing the prints. Officials said that on a new off-road ride in the park, some animals acted “overly friendly” toward visitors wearing a print like their own, and "if they were wearing a pattern similar to a predator, they would get scared and run away.” The zoo will have clothing to borrow for anyone sporting an animal print. — Read it at AFP via Paw Nation

Patrick, a silverback gorilla, will move to South Carolina from Texas in October.
Patrick, a silverback gorilla, will move to South Carolina from Texas in October.

Gorilla Gets New Home

Patrick loves his handlers. But the 23-year-old silverback gorilla, who was abandoned by his mom and hand-reared by his keepers when he was born at the Bronx Zoo, doesn’t particularly like interacting with members of his own species. After spending the last 18 years living mostly solitarily at the Dallas Zoo, Patrick will get a chance to start fresh and meet a new group of gorillas at the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden in South Carolina next month. Familiar faces from the Dallas Zoo will accompany Patrick during his transfer to give him comfort, and he’ll be evaluated to make sure he adapts well once he’s there. "I would never label him as difficult, just a gorilla that needs a different opportunity to be his best self,” said Kristen Lukas, chair of the Gorillas Species Survival Plan for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. — Watch it at ABC News

First Cat Café Opens in Paris

Oooh la la! At Café des Chats in one of Paris’ trendiest neighborhoods, you can get a hot cup of coffee, a soft croissant and a little love from a cat. The new café is home to 12 cats who are former strays and were adopted from rescue centers. The felines provide “purr therapy” to patrons who can’t keep pets in their apartments. “Purring produces vibrations which relieve arthritis and rheumatism, which lower your blood pressure and your heartbeat,” said manager Margaux Gandelon. The café has already found success — it had to turn away several hundred customers when it opened last weekend. — Read it at TIME


Join the Conversation

Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!