Pet Scoop: Study Finds Similarities Between Dogs and Toddlers, NYPD Station Adopts Kitten

Feb. 28, 2017: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

In a battery of tests, dogs and 2-year-old children were found to have similar social skills.
Evan MacLean
In a battery of tests, dogs and 2-year-old children were found to have similar social skills.

Dogs, Toddlers Have Similar Skills

Man may have a lot in common with his best friend. New research from the Arizona Dog Cognition Center finds that dogs and 2-year-old children have social skills that are more alike than toddlers and chimpanzees, one of our closest relatives. In a series of tests, chimps performed well, but dogs and kids outperformed them on cooperative communication tasks — and researchers noticed similar patterns of variation between individual dogs and individual children. “What we found is that there's this pattern, where dogs who are good at one of these social things tend to be good at lots of the related social things, and that's the same thing you find in kids, but you don't find it in chimpanzees,” said Evan MacLean, director of the University of Arizona-based center. The findings were published in the journal Animal Behavior. — Read it at

NYPD Officers Adopt Abandoned Kitten

A 6-month-old kitten is guilty of stealing hearts at the NYPD’s 60th precinct in Coney Island, Brooklyn. A woman abandoned the kitten at the station in December, and the officers convinced their boss to let them collectively adopt the tabby. He agreed, on the condition that he wouldn’t have to clean the litter box. Martin, who’s named for one of the officers, has “definitely lifted spirits. There’s not one person here, cop or civilian, that doesn’t adore this cat,” said Deputy Inspector William Taylor. The officers have pitched in to cover the costs of Martin’s care, including his food, vaccines and neutering. “He’s like a dog — you call him and he’ll come. I don’t think he knows he’s a cat,” said Sergeant Raj Lalwani. — Read it at the NY Post

Missing Cat to Fly Cross-Country for Reunion

A cat found in New York State is about to make a cross-country trip to be reunited with his owners, nearly four years after he disappeared. Elena Burgan said her husband was devastated when their cat, Tattoo, ran away from their home in New York’s Fort Drum in 2013. Tattoo was recently brought in to the Jefferson County SPCA as a stray, and his microchip helped the staff find the Burgans — who’ve since been reassigned and moved to Washington State. “We're really, really excited. Like, you know, Michael Jackson is coming to town. That excited,” said Burgan. Tattoo will be flown to Washington on Wednesday. — Read it at New York’s WWNY TV

Sable, a 50-pound Lab mix, survived a serious attack by an alligator.
Sable, a 50-pound Lab mix, survived a serious attack by an alligator.

Dog Survives Alligator Attack

Sable, a Labrador Retriever and Dachshund mix, is expected to make a full recovery after suffering an attack by an alligator. Her resilience has shocked the vets who treated her, who rarely see dogs survive such attacks. Sable got away from her owner for just a few moments at a park in Delray Beach, Florida, and her owner found her bleeding in the grass from a serious gator bite wound. She had clearly been dragged into the water, but the 50-pound dog somehow managed to get away from the gator. Owner Jason Burt rushed her to a local animal hospital, where her life was saved in a two-and-a-half-hour emergency surgery. Veterinarians there are reminding owners to keep their pets by their side, and not to let them get close to the edge of the water, where alligators lurk. Sable now has a GoFundMe page to cover the costs of her care. — Watch it at People Pets

Corgi Loves His Snow Maze

Following a large snowfall two years ago, Denis Jalbert dug some trenches in the backyard of his New Brunswick, Canada, home so his Corgi, Wally, would be able to exercise his short legs without getting stuck in a snow bank. Now, Jalbert has taken that idea to a new level, spending six hours carving a giant maze for his dog that takes up his whole backyard — and Wally is loving it. “Just seeing him play and run around, it calms you down. It makes you giggle,” says Jalbert, who adopted the lucky dog four years ago. — Watch it at Buzzfeed


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