Pet Scoop: Vets Try to Save Leg of Dog Hit in Car Chase, Study Finds Dogs Can Be Pessimists

Sept. 19, 2014: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Gordo was struck by a stolen van during a police chase in Los Angeles Wednesday.
Gordo was struck by a stolen van during a police chase in Los Angeles Wednesday.

Dog Hit by Stolen Van

There’s been an outpouring of help for a tough little Maltese mix named Gordo who was struck by a stolen van during a dramatic police chase in Los Angeles Wednesday night. Gordo suffered an injured hip and a deep cut to his rear leg when he was struck by the van. He's expected to survive, and veterinarians at City of Angels Veterinary Specialty Center in Culver City are trying to save his leg. They performed a 2-hour surgery on Gordo Thursday night to remove part of his hip joint and repair the damage. "Gordo is doing wonderfully, he was a rock star under anesthesia," said veterinarian Annie Lo. They’ll be doing a neurological exam Friday to be sure he can still move his legs properly, she said. Owner Santos Son has been touched by the donations that have poured in from strangers wanting to help cover the medical costs for the 1-to-2-year-old dog. "He is my family," Son said. — Read it from AP via ABC News and watch it at My Fox L.A.

Study: Some Dogs Are Inherent Pessimists

Research from the University of Sydney in Australia finds that some dogs tend toward optimism while others have an underlying streak of pessimism. Dr. Melissa Starling, from the school's Faculty of Veterinary Science, taught a group of dogs to identify two different tones. One was associated with a delicious bowl of milk, and the other with a bowl of water. Then, she introduced an ambiguous tone that was in between the “yummy” milk sound and the “boring” water sound. If the dog was just as enthusiastic for the ambiguous sound as he was for the milk tone, he was considered optimistic. If he didn’t respond to the ambiguous tone, he was termed pessimistic. "If we knew how optimistic or pessimistic the best candidates for a working role are, we could test dogs' optimism early and identify good candidates for training for that role," said Starling. "A pessimistic dog that avoids risks would be better as a guide dog while an optimistic, persistent dog would be more suited to detecting drugs or explosives." The findings were published in the journal PLOS ONE. — Read it at Discovery News

Dog Found in Oregon Headed Home to Pennsylvania

There’s happy news for Gidget, the Jack Russell Terrier we told you about Thursday who was found 3,000 miles from home. Her microchip had traced her back to her owner in Philadelphia, but the owner couldn’t afford to fly out to Portland, Oregon, to bring her home. After Gidget’s story hit the media this week, PetLink, the company that manufactured her microchip, stepped up to pay for her flight. The manager of the shelter where Gidget has been staying says there were actually several people who offered to pay for her a ticket home, and one man came in to the shelter and paid for all of its expenses related to caring for the dog. The owner is relieved that Gidget, who went missing in April, has been found, but has decided to remain anonymous. — Read it from AP via CBS Philadelphia

Nat Geo WILD's "The Secret Life of Cats" airs Sunday at 10 p.m. ET.
Nat Geo WILD
Nat Geo WILD's "The Secret Life of Cats" airs Sunday at 10 p.m. ET

Feline Secrets Revealed 

From their earliest days as blind and deaf kittens to their amazing feats as full-grown felines, Nat Geo WILD takes a close look at mysterious kitties in “The Secret Life of Cats.” The special will include a look at the stories of some incredible cats, including Basil the rescue cat who alerted his sleeping owner to a gas leak; a stray cat who become a guide for a blind chocolate Lab; and the survival story of Sugar, who fell 19 stories from a Boston apartment building without even suffering a scratch. The documentary airs Sunday at 10 p.m. ET. — Watch the trailer at National Geographic

Police Rescue Stuck Skunk

Living near a fraternity house has its risks. The Oxford Police Department in Ohio got a call Sunday about a skunk who’d been spotted with a beer can stuck on its head. The animal was seen banging around and running into bushes while trying to get the can of its head. Luckily, an animal control officer was able to free the skunk from the can — without getting sprayed. The animal was then released. — Read it at People Pets


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