Pet Scoop: Pups Raised by Prisoners Get New Homes, Study Reveals Chameleons' Secret

March 11, 2015: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Six puppies who were rescued from a dumpster and raised by inmates are now off to forever homes.
Six puppies who were rescued from a dumpster and raised by inmates are now off to forever homes.

Puppies Found in Trash Adopted

In January, six 1-week-old puppies were found in a dumpster in the cold in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Struggling to survive, they were placed in the Paroled Pups Program at the South Dakota State Penitentiary, where they got 24/7 care. Now, after two months, they’re ready to say goodbye to the inmates who raised them. “We were just looking at a picture of how small they were before, and it’s just incredible how big they are and healthy,” said inmate Lance Przybylski. “It’s really sinking in, and it’s going to be, it’s going to be difficult” to watch the puppies leave. The puppies quickly found adopters, and are now off to their forever homes. — Read it at Life With Dogs

U.K.’s Downing Street Cat to Get Extra Security

In a radio interview Tuesday, British Prime Minister David Cameron was asked about the apparent poisoning death of an Irish Setter at Britain’s Crufts dog show. Describing himself as a “dog and cat lover,” he said his “heart goes out” to the dog’s family. He also said he would “double security” around his famed cat, Larry, in the wake of the event — but he doesn’t think the chief mouser of 10 Downing Street is at much risk. "As for Larry, he doesn't get up and get out much so I think he is pretty safe sitting on the chair in the hallway watching the world go by, but I'll double the security around him and make sure he is OK," he said. — Read it at the Huffington Post U.K.

Study: Disease Puts Endangered Chimps at Risk

A new study warns the spillover of infectious disease from humans creates a danger for chimpanzees living in Tanzania's Gombe Stream National Park. Gombe is the site where Jane Goodall pioneered her behavioral research of wild chimps. "We found that people are likely exposing the endangered chimpanzees of Gombe to a particular species of Cryptosporidium, which may be contributing to their decline," says Michele Parsons, a PhD student at Emory University. “Our research shows that if we're going to keep these iconic chimpanzees on the planet, we need to address the spread of infectious diseases." The study was published in the journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases. — Read it at Science Daily

A new study uncovers how chameleons can change colors so quickly.
Michel Milinkovitch
A new study uncovers how chameleons can change colors so quickly.

Color-Changing Chameleons

Scientists believe they’ve unlocked the lizards’ big secret: New research finds that chameleons can adjust a layer of special cells nestled within their skin to rapidly alter their coloring. They rely on structural changes that affect how light reflects off their skin. Chameleons have two thick layers of iridescent cells that have pigment and reflect light. They can change the color arrangement of their upper cell layer by relaxing or exciting the skin. Only adult males change color, and the change often comes when they see a rival male they want to chase away or a female they want to attract. The study was published in the journal Nature Communications. — Read it at Live Science

Blind Therapy Dog Brings Smiles

Smiley, a Golden Retriever, was born without eyes. But that hasn’t stopped him from becoming a busy therapy dog. Joanne George of Ontario, Canada, adopted Smiley 10 years ago from a puppy mill, when he was about 1 or 2 years old. He quickly bonded with her deaf Great Dane, Tyler, and seemed to take on his “happy go lucky” personality. George thought Smiley would make a great therapy dog — and she was right. He regularly visits hospitals and nursing homes to brighten patients’ days. On one of his most memorable visits to a nursing home, George recalls how surprised the staff was with Smiley’s interaction with a resident named Teddy. Teddy had “no speech, no communication at all,” she said. “[The staff] had never seen Teddy smile before … [Teddy] smiled when Smiley got into his vision,” George said. — Read it at ABC News


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