Pet Scoop: Study Finds Horses Can Help With Dementia, Police Puppy Needs a Name

May 6, 2014: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

A study finds that adults with Alzheimer's can benefit from interacting with horses.
A study finds that adults with Alzheimer's can benefit from interacting with horses.

Horses Benefit Alzheimer’s Patients

Equine therapy is commonly used to treat kids and teens with emotional and developmental disorders. Now, a new study suggests that it could help adults with Alzheimer’s, too. People with the disease can experience personality changes that include becoming depressed, withdrawn and aggressive. But researchers found that clients from an adult day care who spent time grooming, feeding and walking horses were less likely to resist care or become upset later in the day. Even those who normally acted withdrawn smiled, laughed and talked to the therapy horses. They also became more physically active. Clients who never wanted to leave their wheelchairs asked for help with standing up so they could engage with the animals. One family member told researchers at Ohio State University that her mother “would never remember what she did at the center during the day, but she always remembered what she did at the farm.” The findings were published in the journal Anthrozoös. — Read it at Science Daily

Fisherman Catches Rare Goblin Shark

Commercial fisherman Carl Moore caught the rare deep-sea shark in the Gulf of Mexico, south of Key West, Florida. He photographed the strange-looking creature (they sport a blade-like snout and teeth like needles) and threw it back into the ocean, then contacted researcher biologist John Carlson at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service, who was excited to hear about his experience because so little is known about the mysterious fish. This was only the second goblin shark ever to be caught in the Gulf of Mexico. The first was in 2000, and before that, the last one reported in the North Atlantic was near the Bahamas in the 1970s. Carlson and his colleagues are working on a paper describing the unusual sighting. — Read it at National Geographic

Macaque Monkeys Become “Secret Weapon” for China

The People’s Liberation Army of China revealed a new “secret weapon” Monday: a small unit of macaque monkeys it had trained to protect a Beijing-area air force base from birds. The military is hoping the monkeys will succeed in stopping the birds from wreaking havoc at the base. The birds are a threat to aircraft because they can get sucked into the planes’ engines and cause catastrophic failure. The monkeys have been trained to respond to whistle commands by climbing up trees and scaring away the birds. — Read it at Live Science

Brevard County, Florida, Sheriff Wayne Ivey holds the agency's new Bloodhound puppy.
Brevard County, Florida, Sheriff Wayne Ivey holds the agency's new Bloodhound puppy.

Bloodhound Puppy Needs a Name

Police at the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office in Florida want your help with sniffing out the perfect name for their impossibly cute Bloodhound puppy. The 12-week-old male pup was donated to the agency’s K9 unit by the Jimmy Ryce Foundation, which provides the dogs to law enforcement agencies around the country. He’ll be trained to search for missing and endangered children and adults. You can submit your idea for the Name Our Puppy Contest through the sheriff’s office’s Facebook page until May 16. The winner will be invited to the dog’s swearing-in ceremony. — Read it at Florida’s Space Coast Daily

Taylor Swift’s Cat Attacks Her Designer Gown

As the singer was getting ready to head to the star-studded and high fashion Met Costume Institute Gala in New York City on Monday night, she encountered some interference from her feline BFF, Meredith. “That moment when your cat casually walks up, then abruptly ATTACKS your custom satin Oscar de la Renta gown during your fitting for Met Ball,” Swift Tweeted Monday. Luckily, though, any damage that the Scottish Fold might have done to the satin gown didn’t show when Swift hit the red carpet just four hours after she sent the Tweet. — Read it at Today

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