Pet Scoop: Yorkie Protects Owner From Bear, National Zoo on Panda Cub Watch

July 29, 2013: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Joe may be little, but he managed to scare a big bear from his owner's home.
Joe may be little, but he managed to scare a big bear from his owner's home.

Little Dog Takes on Big Bear

Deborah Epstein was sitting on the porch of her New Jersey home on Tuesday recovering from a recent car accident, when the phone rang. She went inside to get it, leaving the door open. While she was talking, she heard her 6-pound Yorkshire Terrier, Joe, barking furiously. That’s when Epstein turned around and saw a bear in her house. When the animal thought it would help itself to the dog’s food, Joe stepped in. “Basically, the bear was heading for his food dish bowl, and you don’t touch Joe’s food dish bowl. And he actually got the bear to turn around and chased him out the door,” said Epstein. “I saved him from the pound, and he saved me from a bear. We’re even.” If a bear enters your home, experts advise opening all the doors to let the bear leave on its own. — Watch it at Paw Nation

Scientists Find Cause of Cat Allergies

Researchers at the University of Cambridge say they’ve determined why some people have such a severe allergic reaction to cat dander. They found that when the dander, Fel D1, comes in contact with a common bacteria toxin called lipopolysaccharide, it triggers a receptor called Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4). That activates the body’s immune system response to Fel D1, worsening the person’s allergic reaction with sneezing, wheezing, scratching and more. But the study, published in The Journal of Immunology, may offer the possibility of treatment. "As drugs have already been developed to inhibit the receptor TLR4, we are hopeful that our research will lead to new and improved treatments for cat and possibly dog allergy sufferers," said lead author Dr. Clare Bryant. — Read it at CBS News

D.C. Zoo’s Panda May Be Pregnant

The staff at the National Zoo is keeping a close eye on giant panda Mei Xiang. Scientists say the female panda’s hormones are rising, which could indicate she’s pregnant — or that she’s experiencing a false pregnancy, which is common in the endangered species. She’s begun building a nest, behavior consistent with her hormone rise. Her pregnancy or pseudopregnancy is expected to end in the next 40 to 55 days. Mei Xiang has one 8-year-old cub, and last September, she gave birth to a female cub who, sadly, only lived for one week. Mei Xiang was artificially inseminated in March. — Read it from the AP via the Huffington Post

Asian elephants Rama, pictured, and Packy will be treated for tuberculosis at the Oregon Zoo.
Asian elephants Rama, pictured, and Packy will be treated for tuberculosis at the Oregon Zoo.

Elephants Start TB Treatment

The Oregon Zoo’s 51-year-old Asian elephant, Packy, will start treatment this week for tuberculosis after blood work showed he might have a latent infection. "Packy has shown no signs of active TB," said veterinarian Mitch Finnegan. "But lab work on his blood indicates possible exposure, so it's better to treat this now than risk active infection down the line." Rama, a 30-year-old Asian elephant at the zoo, was found to have an active case of tuberculosis in May, and has just started a yearlong treatment regimen. Elephants take the same drugs as humans to fight off the infection. — Read it at Oregon Live

Soldier Tries to Find His Dog

When Brandon Harker was deployed to Afghanistan for 8 months, he turned to a friend to take care of his 2-year-old yellow Labrador Retriever, Okley. Harker couldn’t wait to get back to his base in Washington state to get his dog back, but when he called his friend, he was told that the dog had been given away on the web. Harker put an ad on Craigslist looking for information on Okley, and was told by users that they’d seen a dog that looked just like him for sale in February. “I am just trying to get him back since he was wrongfully given away or sold without my permission while I was deployed,” said Harker. “It’s heartbreaking.” Anyone with information on Okley can contact Harker through his Craigslist posting. — Read it at Life With Dogs

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