Pet Scoop: Rescue Dogs Model for Ralph Lauren, Fans Overwhelm Panda Cam

Oct. 18, 2013: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Ten shelter dogs are featured in a short film ad for Ralph Lauren called The Dog Walk.
Ten shelter dogs are featured in a short film ad for Ralph Lauren called The Dog Walk.
Shelter Pups Hit “The Dog Walk”

When looking for their latest models, iconic designer Ralph Lauren turned to an unusual place: dog shelters. The company’s Fall 2013 accessories collection is being showcased in a short film called The Dog Walk, featuring shelter dogs and human models. Set on a cityscape, the 10 dogs in the ad were chosen by the Ralph Lauren company in collaboration with the ASPCA. The designer has used dogs in its print ads before, but this is the first time they’ve hired rescue dogs. Select accessories and dog apparel featured in the video will benefit the animals, with 10 percent of the proceeds going to the ASPCA until Nov. 17. And the model pups have been rewarded with happy homes. — Read it at Today

Chimps Find Human Yawns Contagious

In a study with orphaned chimpanzees living at the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Sierra Leone, researcher Elainie Madsen of Sweden’s Lund University found that grown chimps appear to develop a contagion for yawning. A video made by the research team shows that while very young chimps don’t yawn in response to humans, an older chimp does — much like young puppies don’t seem to notice human yawns, but older dogs develop the contagion. “It’s the kind of empathy where, instead of thinking your way into how someone else might be experiencing the world or feeling, you just feel it," Madsen said. "Like when someone cuts their finger you feel sick in your stomach.” The findings were published in the journal PLOS ONE. — Read it at the Los Angeles Times

Surgery Saves Venomous Snake

A North Carolina veterinarian performed a delicate surgery recently — inside the mouth of a deadly Bushmaster snake. Dr. Stephen Anderson of Paws & Claws Animal Hospital removed a benign growth from inside the mouth of the 6-foot, 6-year-old female snake. The growth was interfering with the venomous snake’s ability to eat. If the surgery turns out to be a success, the snake, hatched at Cape Fear Serpentarium in Wilmington, could live to be 20 years old. — Read it at North Carolina’s Star News

Mei Xiang's cub is now 5 pounds at 8 weeks old.
Courtney Janney, National Zoo
Mei Xiang's cub is now 5 pounds at 8 weeks old.

The Panda Cam Returns

With the end of 16-day government shutdown came the return of the much-missed Panda Cam at the National Zoo in Washington on Thursday. But fans were so anxious to see how the zoo’s 8-week-old female panda cub was doing that the web site was quickly overwhelmed. "The panda cam went live at 10:36 this morning I believe," said Devin Murphy, communications officer at the zoo. "Within 10 minutes we had reached the maximum number of connections that we can accommodate for the panda cam, so we've been troubleshooting those issues throughout the day." The cub has changed quite a bit in the last two weeks. She’s now up to 5 pounds and has partially opened her eyes. She’s getting around her den by scooting, but is able to push up on her two front legs. The zoo officially reopens on Friday morning. — Read it at Live Science

Cats Kick Back With Wine

It’s full-bodied with a nose of catnip. A Japanese company has begun selling a limited vintage of cat wine called “Nyan Nyan Nouveau.” (Nyan means meow in Japanese.) Don’t worry — the wine doesn’t actually contain alcohol. But it’s made from Cabernet grape juice and catnip. B&H Lifes only made 1,000 of the $4 bottles, so it’s sure to become a collector’s item quickly. — Read it at Time

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