Pet Scoop: Service Dog Dons Cap and Gown for Graduation, Cat Videos May Be Good for You

June 18, 2015: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Devon MacPherson's service dog Barkley participated in her graduation ceremony at Toronto's York University.
Devon MacPherson's service dog Barkley participated in her graduation ceremony at Toronto's York University.

Service Dog Joins in Graduation

Barkley, a service dog, helps Devon MacPherson cope with generalized anxiety disorder. For the last three years, the Standard Poodle has been by her side, attending all of her classes with her at York University in Toronto. MacPherson credits her dog with helping her turn things around after having to drop out of the university she previously attended. He can detect the chemical oxytocin and alerts her when her anxiety is going to rise. So, when MacPherson donned her cap and gown Tuesday for graduation, she thought it was only right that Barkley got the same recognition. He wore a cap and gown, too, and stood with her when she received her diploma. “He went to all of my classes and helped me and so I thought he deserved to graduate with the rest of us,” MacPherson said after the ceremony. She earned a degree in independent studies with a focus in the human/animal bond and communication studies, and plans to start a master’s degree program in critical disability studies at the university in the fall — with Barkley’s help. — Read it at the Toronto Sun

Study: Cat Videos May Be Good for Your Health

Cat videos might be a guilty pleasure, but a new study finds they might be having a positive affect on your mood, too. In an online survey of 7,000 people, researchers found that the participants had fewer negative emotions such as anxiety, sadness and annoyance after watching cat videos — even if they were at work or studying while watching them. "Even if they are watching cat videos on YouTube to procrastinate or while they should be working, the emotional pay-off may actually help people take on tough tasks afterward," study author Jessica Gall Myrick, an assistant professor at Indiana University's Media School. The study was published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior. — Read it at CBS News

Oldest Banded Bald Eagle Dies

A 38-year-old bald eagle was struck and killed by a car on June 2 in western New York. He was the oldest known banded bald eagle, living five years longer than the previous record holder of his species. Officials said the good news is that his longevity could indicate that conservation efforts are working. The eagle was banded in August 1977, when he was just a few months old. He was a nestling in Minnesota when he was brought to the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge in Seneca Falls, New York, as part of the state's Bald Eagle Restoration Program. Officials said the eagle, banded as 03142, has been breeding in New York for the last 34 years, fathering many eaglets. "His longevity, 38 years — although ingloriously cut short by a motor vehicle — is also a national record for known life span of a wild bald eagle. All I can say is, hats off to you, 03142 — job well done!" said Peter Nye, a retired wildlife biologist who started New York's Bald Eagle Restoration Program. — Read it at Live Science

Ruckus won the hearts of firefighters at Houston's station 32 when he scratched at the door during Tropical Storm Bill.
Ruckus won the hearts of firefighters at Houston's station 32 when he scratched at the door during Tropical Storm Bill.

Firefighters Rescue Pup From Storm

As Tropical Storm Bill rained down on Houston, Texas, Tuesday, firefighters at station 32 heard an insistent scratching at the door. They opened it to find a charming refugee from the storm — a rain-soaked puppy they named Ruckus. The crew brought the pup inside, where they doted on him, giving him a warm bath, wrapping him in towels and providing lots of TLC. And, they’ve already found little Ruckus a home, with the mother-in-law of one of the firefighters. Sounds like Ruckus scratched at the right door! — Watch it at Houston’s ABC 13

Octopus Could Be Called “Adorabilis”

A scientist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute gets to name a cute new octopus, who was found about 1,080 feet below the surface of Monterey Bay in California. “I was thinking about what my options are [for naming it], and I wanted it to be something indicative of the characteristic of the species. Since they're so cute, I thought I could name it the Opistoteuthis adorabilis," Bush said. The octopus can puff up its body like a parachute to propel itself off the ocean floor, Bush said. The aquarium has nicknamed the species the “flapjack octopus” until Bush gives it an official name. — See it at ABC News


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