Pet Scoop: Puppy Helps Cheetah Pal Through Surgery, Dogs Prefer Petting to Vocal Praise

Sept. 8, 2014: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Ruuxa, a cheetah cub, gets a visit from his puppy companion as he recovers from surgery on his front legs.
Ruuxa, a cheetah cub, gets a visit from his puppy companion as he recovers from surgery on his front legs.

Puppy Sticks By Cheetah

Cheetah cub Ruuxa and his puppy companion Raina were introduced in June when they were 4 and 5 weeks old, respectively, and became fast friends. The pair live at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, where Raina, a Rhodesian Ridgeback, helps keep Ruuxa calm. So, when Ruuxa needed surgery Wednesday to correct growth abnormalities in his front legs, Raina waited nearby through the whole procedure. Raina was allowed to see Ruuxa while he was still coming out of sedation. "Raina appeared very concerned about Ruuxa when she saw he was sleeping and she couldn't wake him," said animal training manager Susie Ekard. "She licked him and nuzzled him, and when he awoke, she lay with him and seemed very content to know her cheetah was okay." The cub is expected to make a full recovery. — Watch it at YouTube

Small Mammals Disappear in Northern Australia

For the last 20 years, small mammal species like quolls and bandicoots have been in a steep decline. In July, the Australian government appointed the nation's first threatened species commissioner, who’s working on strategies to save them from extinction. One of the biggest threats to the animals appears to be feral cats. The Australian Wildlife Conservancy estimates that a shocking 75 million animals are killed every day by to roughly 15 million feral cats in Australia. — Read it at ScienceMag

Hawaiian Monk Seal Hospital Opens

Ke Kai Ola (translated as The Healing Sea) opened in Hawaii last week. Run by the California-based Marine Mammal Center, the $3.2 million facility aims to help the critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal. “We built this hospital to save a species,” said executive director Dr. Jeff Boehm. Although the facility held its grand opening last week, it’s already treated and released its first four patients. There are only an estimated 1,100 of the seals remaining in the wild. They’re threatened by entanglement in ocean trash, changes in the food chain and predation. — Watch it at Hawaii’s Big Island News


Dogs Prefer Petting to Praise

A new study finds that dogs don’t take that much stock in your words of praise. Instead, they’d rather you just pet them — and they won’t get tired of it. Researchers first evaluated 42 shelter and pet dogs who were brought into a room one at a time. One person would offer only verbal praise while the other pet the dog. In the second part of their study, 72 shelter and pet dogs were placed in a room with one person — owners for the pet dogs and a stranger for the shelter dogs. The person would pet or praise the pooch, or have no interaction with him at all. They found that the dogs showed more interest in the people who were petting them and showed no more interest in verbal praise than when there was no interaction at all. "I spend half my day talking to my dog," said study co-author Dr. Clive Wynne, professor and director of the Canine Science Collaboratory at Arizona State University. "She always looks like it's valuable to her. It's quite a shock to discover that what we say to dogs doesn't seem to be rewarding to them after all." The study was published in the journal Behavioural Processes. — Read it at the Huffington Post

Deer Create Traffic Jam on Golden Gate Bridge

Perhaps they wanted to spend the weekend in the country. Two deer heading out of San Francisco toward the Marin County suburbs tied up traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge for 30 minutes during the busy Friday night commute. The California Highway Patrol was called about the deer at 5:24 p.m., but the deer had safely made their way across the iconic bridge before they arrived. Travelers on the bridge shot video and photos of the wildlife sighting while they waited for traffic to clear. — Watch it at the San Francisco Chronicle


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