Pet Scoop: Veteran Reunited With Retiring K9, Baby Sloth Gets Stuffed Animal Surrogate

August 4, 2015: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Former Army Staff Sgt. Alex Brown was reunited with his former K9 partner Gilek in Houston Monday.
Former Army Staff Sgt. Alex Brown was reunited with his former K9 partner Gilek in Houston Monday.

Bomb-Sniffing Dog Gets New Home

After two years of searching for his former K9 partner, Staff Sgt. Alex Brown, a veteran of the Afghanistan war, was finally reunited with her Monday morning at a Houston airport. Brown had worked with the bomb-detecting Golden Retriever for 6 months in the war zone but was separated from her when he returned to the U.S. "We'd been told she'd been adopted, she was still working — so we'd been told a lot of different things. I had no idea where she was," he said. Four-year-old Gilek was among 12 military K9s who were abandoned by a private company for more than a year at a kennel in Virginia. Now, the non-profit group Mission K9 Rescue is working to reunite the dogs with their former handlers or finding loving homes for them. Brown and his wife found Gilek after a friend recognized her in a news video about the dogs’ plight, reported Houston’s Fox 26. “Being able to get them out of the kennel and reunite them is amazing," said Mission K9 president Kristen Maurer. — Watch it at Click 2 Houston

Endangered Galápagos Penguin Population Doubles

Climate change means trouble for many species, but it seems to be helping the world’s rarest penguins. Shifts in trade winds and ocean currents enlarged a cold pool of water in the Galápagos Islands that the endangered penguins rely on for food and breeding. This allowed the Galápagos penguin population to double over the last 30 years, to more than 1,000 birds in 2014, researchers said. "With climate change, there are a lot of new and increasing stresses on ecosystems, but biology sometimes surprises us," said Kristopher Karnauskas, the study’s lead author and a climate scientist who performed the research while at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. "There might be places — little outposts — where ecosystems might thrive just by coincidence." The study was recently accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters, an American Geophysical Union journal. — Read it at Science Daily

Chicken to Get a Prosthetic Leg

In an unusual procedure, a 3-month-old chicken who lives in Clinton, Massachusetts, will be fitted for a 3D printed leg by veterinarians at Tufts University. Cecily suffered damage to a tendon in her right leg at birth, said her owner, Andrea Martin. A duck and a rooster have had similar prosthetics in the past, but this will be the first such procedure for the vets at Tufts. — Read it at Discovery News

Baby Sloth Edward gets a surrogate at the London Zoo
Edward, a baby two-toed sloth at the London Zoo, cuddles with his teddy bear.

Baby Sloth Clings to Surrogate

Keepers at the London Zoo have been hand-rearing Edward, a 7-week-old two-toed sloth, since his mom stopped producing milk a couple of weeks ago. Edward has quickly grown attached to a stuffed sloth teddy bear that keeper Kelly-Anne Kelleher got him from the zoo’s gift shop, to make him feel more comfortable. Kelleher hangs the stuffed animal six inches from the ground to replicate a sloth mom’s natural position, and Edward hangs on it, like he would do with his mom. “I want the baby to be using all of the muscles he would be using if he was on his mother,” said Kelleher. Edward, who’s named for Edward Scissorhands because of his “impressive claws,” gets a bottle every three hours — and often has to be woken up to eat. “If he’s feeling particularly hungry he makes a very funny noise to let us know — a sound somewhere between a squeak and a sneeze, but it’s very loud and he makes his point!” Kelleher said. — Read it at Newsweek

Officer Helps Baby Skunk Stuck in Yogurt Container

Early Sunday morning, the Rochester, Michigan, Police got a call about a baby skunk who was having some trouble after eating breakfast. The baby had its head stuck in the container and was running in circles in the street while trying to get it off. A dashboard camera was recording as Officer Merlin Taylor came to the baby’s rescue. After putting on gloves, he waits for the just the right moment and swiftly removes the container before dashing away. The skunk rears up as if to spray Taylor, but the baby was likely too young to cause a stink, the police department said. Taylor stood back and the little guy went off on his own. — Read it at the Detroit News


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