January 9, 2012: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Vito, German Shepherd rescue dog

Maryland Man Rescues a Missing Search and Rescue Dog

Vito, a German Shepherd who works with the Fairfax County Urban Search and Rescue Team in Virginia, disappeared on Thursday while doing training exercises with his owner and handler, Sonja Heritage. Something spooked Vito and "he was just gone,” said a distraught Heritage. "We want to be reunited with him. We are dying.”

Thankfully, the dog’s good deeds worked in his favor when he was found by Omar, who saw reports about the missing dog and called Heritage to say that he’d found Vito. “This is an amazing man,” said Heritage. “He took such good care of him. He understood what a special dog Vito is.” — Read it at the Washington Post

Plus: Search and rescue dogs in the United Kingdom can now amp up their efforts by donning special “dogcams.” — Read the story and watch a demo at the Huffington Post

New Lemur Species Spotted in Madagascar

The nocturnal Gerp’s mouse lemur — named for the research team that found it — was discovered in the Sahafina Forest in eastern Madagascar. — Read it at Science Daily

Whooping crane

FAA Grounds Plane Guiding Whooping Cranes to Florida

It’s a bird, it’s a plane . . .  it’s a birdplane? A plane shaped like a bird was on a mission to lead the way for 10 whooping cranes making their first migration to Florida. But the flock and the birdlike plane, which the cranes believe is their mother, are now grounded in Alabama, while the Federal Aviation Administration investigates whether the wildlife conservation group running the program violated regulations. The reason: The pilot, who's licensed to fly sport aircraft, was being paid. — Read it from the Associated Press via The New York Times

Pit Bull Ban Forces Major Leaguer to Live Outside Miami

Pitcher Mark Buehrle signed a $58 million deal with the Miami Marlins — then realized that one of his four dogs, Slater, an American Staffordshire Terrier, wouldn’t be allowed to move with his family to Miami-Dade County because of a pit bull ban. Buehrle ended up in dog-friendly Broward County, just north of Miami, and now he's speaking up for Slater. "It's kind of ridiculous that because of the way a dog looks, people will ban it,” he said, according to the Miami Herald. “Every kind of dog has good and bad, and that depends on the handlers.” — Read it at Yahoo Sports

A Princess With a Penchant for Animals

As Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, turns 30 today, take a look at these heart-warming moments captured in the last year of the Duchess with some of her furry fans. — See the photos at People Pets