Pet Scoop: Rescued Puppy Helps Autistic Boy, “Lil Bub” Wins Best Feature Film at Tribeca

April 29, 2013: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Xena the Warrior Puppy immediately bonded with 8-year-old Jonny Hickey.
Xena the Warrior Puppy immediately bonded with 8-year-old Jonny Hickey.
Xena and Jonny: A Love Story

Little Xena was skin and bones when she was brought to DeKalb County Animal Services shelter in Georgia, when she was about 4 months old. “I had never seen a dog that young in that sort of condition,” said Chrissy Kaczynski, who works for Animal Services. Over the course of five months, Kaczynski nursed the pup back to health, sharing her progress on Facebook, where local resident Linda Hickey fell in love with Xena. But she didn’t expect the miracle dog to rescue her own son, Jonny, who has autism. The two immediately made a connection when Xena came home for a trial in February, and with her around, the little boy became a chatterbox, beginning to open up to his family about his school day and singing to his pal. “He is the happiest child that I’ve ever seen him be in eight years,” Hickey said. “These two were destined to be together.” — Watch it at NBC News

Poison Used to Protect Rhinos

Wildlife managers in South Africa are using poison as a new weapon to protect endangered rhinos. The animals are poached for their horns, which contain a substance that some Asian cultures use as an aphrodisiac and a medicine. Now, some wildlife managers are tranquilizing the rhinos and filling their horns with a pink dye and parasite poison that’s used to control ticks on horses and cattle. Although the substance won’t hurt the rhinos, it would make people very ill if consumed. The dye is also detectable by airport scanners, making it harder for poachers to get away with their trade. — Read it at Live Science

“Lil Bub & Friendz” Wins at Tribeca Film Festival

The Internet’s favorite cats now have an official award. Lil Bub & Friendz, a documentary starring the permakitten and several other cat celebrities, won the Best Feature Film Award at the online 2013 Tribeca Film Festival. The film highlights Lil Bub’s health issues and her rise to fame, along with the stardom of Grumpy Cat and Keyboard Cat, among others. — Read it at Fox News and see Vetstreet’s interview with one of the filmmakers

Dad Ezra and mom Big Red shielded their babies from a downpour last week.
Dad Ezra and mom Big Red shielded their babies from a downpour last week.

Hawks' Nest Cam Goes Viral

Thousands of people have been watching on a web cam as three eggs have hatched in dad Ezra and mom Big Red’s nest at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, N.Y. Dad is named for the university’s co-founder, while mom gets her name from the school’s sports teams. While viewers have been able to see the doting parents feed their young, one of the most popular photos to come from the cam has been this one of mom and dad hovering over their babies during a 30-minute downpour last week. “Ezra stood over Big Red, sheltering their nestlings from the rain,” read a caption of the screen grab on Facebook. — Watch it at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Cranky Cat Becomes Zoo Favorite

Grumpy Cat may be part of an award-winning film, but she has nothing on this fierce feline. While there are many more exotic animals at the Zurich Zoo in Switzerland, its Pallas cat is attracting many visitors because of the glare she greets them with. “Her expressions vary from anger and displeasure to irritability and crankiness which is almost humanlike,” says Zurich resident Bob Lima, who photographed the wild cat. “Other zoo visitors often feel pity for her and try to cheer her up but she is too sour.” — See photos at the U.K.’s Daily Mail

World Veterinary Day Marked With Vaccinations

Countries around the world observed the 13th annual World Veterinary Day on Saturday. The day, which highlights the veterinary profession, had a theme this year of “vaccination to prevent and protect,” with some organizations offering free rabies vaccinations. — Read it at World Vet

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