Pet Scoop: Puppy Helps Kids With Facial Differences, New Hope for Tasmanian Devils

July 3, 2013: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Lentil the French Bulldog helps put kids with facial deformities at ease.
Lentil the French Bulldog helps put kids with facial deformities at ease.

Dog With Cleft Lip Helps Kids With Facial Abnormalities

Little Lentil was born in February in New Jersey, the only surviving member of a litter of French Bulldogs with facial defects. He needed 24/7 care and had to eat through a tube to avoid letting food enter his lungs. Now 5 months old, the puppy has had surgery to correct his cleft palate, allowing him to eat on his own. But veterinarians at the University of Pennsylvania decided not to operate on Lentil’s cleft lip because the problem was only cosmetic. They also asked the pup’s owner, Lindsay Condefer, if Lentil would become part of a program where kids with certain medical conditions meet animals with the same condition — and a star was born. Lentil has visited hundreds of kids at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and has nearly 100,000 Facebook fans. "Seeing him meet these children — and he would just go up to them, sleep on their lap and you could see how they related to him and how he related to these children — it was wonderful," says Condefer. — Watch it at CNN

Lonesome George Will Be Preserved in NYC

The legendary Galapagos tortoise who died last June on Pinta Island at around 100 years old will be preserved by a team of taxidermists in New York. Believed to be the last of his kind, the 200-pound, 5-foot tortoise will go on display at the city’s American Museum of Natural History this winter before being returned to Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands. The team’s work “will ensure the legacy of Lonesome George lives on and is appreciated by future generations,” said the museum’s Michael Novacek. — Read it at Live Science

Veterinarian Sits in Hot Car for 30 Minutes

To give dog owners a visual of what happens when you leave your dog in a parked car on a summer day, Dr. Ernie Ward sat in an SUV with the windows open 1 to 2 inches for 30 minutes and narrated the results in a video. The car reached 117 degrees, and the vet was drenched in sweat by the end. At 25 minutes in, the car was about 113 degrees. “It’s awful. The only thought that’s going through my head right now is ‘I want out of the car,’” Ward says in the video. “The whole point of this exercise was really to see what it feels like to a dog to be stuck in a car. You’re helpless. You have no control over what’s happening.” — Watch it on YouTube

A new drug could help slow deadly facial tumors in Tasmanian devils.
A new drug could help slow deadly facial tumors in Tasmanian devils.

New Drug Gives Hope for Tasmanian Devils

The preliminary results of trials for a new drug to slow the growth of deadly facial tumors in Tasmanian devils are being called “remarkable.” The contagious cancer in Australia’s devils was first detected in 1996, and has reduced the marsupials’ populations by up to 70 percent. The drug, EBC-46, was derived from a plant unique to Australia's tropical rainforest and has been used successfully on dogs and cats. The drug was used on four Tasmanian devils with the disease in the trial. ''The potential importance of this work is that, for the first time, we may be able to develop a treatment to extend the length and quality of life of diseased devils in captivity,” said research team leader Stephen Pyecroft. Researchers warned that the results were preliminary and the study has not yet been published. — Read it at Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald

Serval Kitten Plays With Zoo’s Young Cats

Sheldon, a serval born at the Point Defiance Zoo in Washington state, is a tiny kitten with great big ears. Native to sub-Saharan Africa, servals can rotate their ears independently, which helps make them good hunters. The kitten joins two other young cats at the zoo: Kali the tiger cub and Tien the clouded leopard cub. Keepers get the three little ones together behind the scenes, and sometimes bring them out into the public view together, allowing some lucky visitors watch to their adorable playdates. — See photos at Zooborns


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