Pet Scoop: Photobombing Dog Goes Viral, Soldier Sends Afghan Cat Home to U.S.

March 22, 2012: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Otis hopped into this picture of the apartment's kitchen.
Otis hopped into this picture of the apartment's kitchen.

Otis Helps Rent Out Apartment

Here’s a tip if you’re ever looking for a tenant: let your dog sneak into the photos you post of your place online. John and Sara Kanive credit their pup, Otis, for helping find someone to rent their 2-bedroom Chicago apartment less than 24 hours after their pet-friendly ad went up on Craigslist. The Great Dane and German Shepherd mix is easily spotted in the living room and peaking around the cabinets in the kitchen, but finding him in each of the ad’s six photos quickly becomes a game of Where’s Otis? The funny ad took off virally this week. “Otis is an amazing dog,” the Kanives told NBC Chicago. "He is full of energy and loves playing fetch when he's not bombing photos or napping.” — See photos at PawNation

Punxsutawney Phil “Indicted” in Ohio

Most people would agree that the famed Pennsylvania groundhog’s Feb. 2 prediction of an early spring didn’t exactly turn out to be accurate. But Butler County, Ohio, prosecutor Mike Gmoser is accusing the poor guy of “misrepresentation of spring,” and issued an official looking document arguing that "Contrary to the Groundhog Day report, a snowstorm and record low temperatures have been and are predicted to continue in the near future." One of Phil’s handlers, John Griffiths, insists the rodent is innocent and joked that “there are several defenses.” — Read it at USA Today

Two New Lizard Species Discovered in Peru

The colorful green and brown woodlizards, who blend in with the mountain rainforests where they reside, were found in Peru’s Cordillera Azul National Park. One of the species was named for the reserve, and the second was named after the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, who helped fund the study. Researchers note there may be more species waiting to be discovered in the little-explored area of the Andes Mountains where these two were found. Their findings were published in the journal ZooKeys.— Read it at the Huffington Post

Staff Sgt. Jesse Knotts helped Koshka the cat after the cat helped him.
Staff Sgt. Jesse Knotts helped Koshka the cat after the cat helped him.

Soldier Saves Cat in Afghanistan

In December 2011, when Staff Sgt. Jesse Knotts was at his base in Afghanistan mourning the loss of two friends who were killed by a suicide bomber, someone unexpected arrived to ease his pain: a cat, who suddenly jumped in his lap. Although Knotts knew pets were not allowed, he couldn’t help but develop a companionship with the feline, who he named Koshka, which is Russian for cat. He didn’t think Koshka was safe living in Afghanistan, so with the help of a brave local interpreter, Knotts got the animal to Kabul, and his parents footed a $3,000 bill to fly Koshka from there to their home in Oregon. "He pulled me out of one of my darkest times so I had to pull him out of one of his darkest places," Knotts said.— Read it at CNN’s Headline News and watch it at Oregon’s KPTV

Husky and Guide Dog Rescued From Streets

Animal welfare workers in San Bernardino County, Calif., are looking for a home for a blind Husky and his Terrier mix guide dog. Isaac and his little friend, Isabella, were found wandering the streets, but seem happy just to be together.  “It’s just really remarkable how she’s always trying to be aware of where Isaac’s at and you know if he’s not right behind her, she’ll stop and wait for him to catch up with her,” says Lindsey Riggins of the Hermosa Animal Hospital. The STAND Foundation is working to place the duo in a home together. — Read it at California’s KTLA

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