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  • Fairy Penguins Offer Hope

    By Amy Sinatra Ayres |

    Researchers are closely monitoring the progress of fairy penguin chicks in Tasmania.A year after dozens of little penguins, also known as fairy penguins, were killed by dogs at the Derwent Estuary in Tasmania, scientists are hopeful that they can rebuild the birds' population.

    "If you take out half of the birding population that's taken 10 years to build, these small events can be very significant," said researcher Luke Eindoder. "We really have been set back in time. It will take a number of years for the numbers to recover to what they were a few years ago."

    He and other researchers are using scopes to check on the chicks in the estuary, and they're cautiously optimistic about an increase in the numbers of penguins. The estuary has added signage and fencing to keep pets out of the area. - Watch it from the AP via the Washington Post

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  • 5 Dog Myths - What You Think You Know May Be Wrong

    By Dr. Marty Becker |

    iStockphotoIn the more than 30 years I've been a practicing veterinarian, I've heard every misconception about pets there is. Many of these may have been considered accurate at one time but current thinking has a different take. That means I do a lot of myth-busting as I try to help educate people about their pets.

    Here are the five most common misconceptions dog-lovers hold - and the truth everyone should know.

    Myth 1: Dogs should be bathed a couple of times a year. Frequent bathing is bad for the coat and skin.

    Fact: It's an old idea that frequent baths strip the skin and coat of moisture. A weekly bath not only makes your pet easier to live with (less shedding, less smell) but also can help prevent some skin diseases. There are all kinds of gentle shampoos for dogs, so ask your vet what might be best for your pet.

    SEE ALSO: 5 Most Annoying Pet Grooming Myths

    Myth 2: Short-haired dogs shed less.

    Fact: Actually, long-haired dogs shed less

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  • 4 Spots to Pet Your Cat and One to Avoid

    By Dr. Marty Becker

    ThinkstockSome things really do get better with age. I have long joked that my hairline isn't one of them, but I know one thing that is: My ability to understand cats better, and to build a stronger, more fulfilling bond with the felines in my life and in my practice.

    Which is not to say that I haven't always loved cats, and had them in my life. But on the Idaho dairy farm where I grew up, everyone had a job, and the cats were employed keeping mice and other vermin from taking over the place. Ours was a professional relationship, an admiration of coworkers.They did their jobs, and I did mine. Workplace romance was strictly limited to a little heavy petting now and then.

    SEE ALSO: 10 Ways Cats Show You Love

    I'm no longer a farm boy, but I'm still more than a little bit country. Up here on our Almost Heaven Ranch, I still have barn cats, but they are much more than coworkers now. They're family.

    Feline Love: Breaking the Code

    I've spent my life caring for

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  • Top 5 Easygoing Dog Breeds

    By Kristen Seymour

    When it comes to canine companions, does just the idea of a dog who needs someone to run and play with him for hours on end exhaust you? If so, one of these five dog breeds might be your new best friend.

    We asked 122 veterinary professionals for their opinions on which dog breeds they considered the most easygoing, and their five top choices are listed below. One important thing to keep in mind with all these dogs (and any others, for that matter): "Easygoing" does not equal "needs no stimulation." All dogs need at least some level of exercise (mental and physical), not to mention some human interaction, and these breeds are no exception.

    SEE ALSO: Top 5 Most Energetic Dog Breeds

    MastiffNo. 1: Mastiff -- (photo credit: Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography/

    Another gentle giant, the Mastiff can weigh 200 or more pounds, but he's a loving dog with a loyal and protective disposition. He's powerful and somewhat stubborn but tends to be a

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  • Curious Monkey Takes Selfies

    By Amy Sinatra Ayres

    A curious monkey took off with a tourist's GoPro camera outside a Bali Temple, and took some selfies.Monkey see, monkey do. A tourist at Bali's Uluwatu Temple may have been tempting fate when he put down his $400 GoPro camera to try to film himself feeding the resident monkeys.

    Mochilao.TV shared video of the encounter on YouTube, writing, "In a matter of a second, my camera was robbed by the little monkey." The monkeys at the temple are known for their thievery.

    The footage shows the monkey taking off into the jungle, then inspecting his treasure. It stops abruptly when the animal decides to remove the battery. A woman who works at the temple helped the tourist by giving him fruit in exchange for the camera. "I lost the battery but got this awesome and unexpected video," he writes. - Watch it at the U.K.'s Daily Mail

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  • 17 Dwarf Dog Breeds We Love

    By Caroline Coile

    Short-legged dogs have been around since ancient Rome, when they were used to go underground after small mammals. Short legs help these dogs to confront tough quarry in tight spaces, to trail at speeds people can keep up with on foot, and to avoid kicking hooves when herding.

    Short-legged dogs arise repeatedly throughout history, and most seem to be caused by the same single genetic mutation. This mutation causes a condition called achondroplastic dwarfism, in which the long bones of the legs are shortened. The following breeds have been shown through DNA testing to share this mutation.

    The dwarf-legged terriers, like the Cairn and West Highland White Terriers, were developed to squeeze into small spaces. Note that the Australian Terrier, Sealyham Terrier and Norfolk Terrier are almost certainly also in this grouping, and probably the Cesky Terrier as well, but it has not been tested yet.

    The short-legged hounds, such as Basset Hounds and Dachshunds,

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  • Secret Lives of Outdoor Cats

    By Dr. Marty Becker,

    ThinkstockDo you ever wonder what your cat does all day? Does he sit on the back of the sofa and watch the cars go by? Nap on your bed? Plot world domination?

    All of the above?

    And what if your cat is an outdoor kitty? What's he doing when he's out and about?

    I know I'd be fascinated to find out what my barn cats get up to when I'm not around. And I know I'm not alone in pondering the secret life of cats.

    See Also: Why Indoor Cats Are Happier Than Outdoor Free-Roaming Cats

    Curious as a Cat

    There's not much information out there about how cats pass their time, particularly outdoor cats; scientists know more about the movements of big cats in Africa than about the daily habits of our domestic cats.

    Researchers at Britain's University of Lincoln School of Life Sciences decided to remedy that situation. They fitted 50 cats in the village of Shamley Green with miniaturized lion GPS collars and cat-cams strapped beneath their chins so they could record the roving

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  • 10 Dog Names Gaining Popularity

    By Kristen Seymour

    ThinkstockWe've looked at the trendiest cat names of the year (as well as the least trendy), and now it's time to look into the latest trends in canine names.

    Of course, we've already shared the most popular puppy names, but trendy is a little different - while popularity is based solely on the number of puppies given a certain name during the course of the year, trendiness is based on how much a particular name has risen in popularity over the course of a decade.

    To determine which names belong on this list, we looked at our database of 925,000 names given in 2013 and compared their popularity that year to their popularity in 2004. The 10 female and male names that gained the most ground made the cut.

    SEE ALSO: Least-Trendy Dog Names of 2014

    No. 1 Luna (female) and Jax (male)

    Luna must've sunk its teeth into the No. 1 spot, because this is the name's second year in that spot. It rose 71 points in the last decade to manage that feat, and is also listed atRead More »from 10 Dog Names Gaining Popularity
  • A Last Ode to Old Man Doug Who Dies at Age 18

    By Carolyn Magner Mason

    Courtesy of Carolyn Magner MasonOld Man Doug did not go quietly into some random night. Instead, he waited until the whole family was gathered for the holidays, and then, with much less ado than I would have chosen, he took his final bow at age 18. That he chose Dec. 25 confirms my belief that he wanted to assure his place in family history, and make sure it was timed so he didn't have to be anywhere near the post-holiday decoration take-down he so despised.

    His exit was dignified and sad beyond all words. And yet, the old fellow was always happiest when we were all together, in one room, even if we were sobbing into his furry neck as we said our goodbyes.

    SEE ALSO: How to Know When It Is Time to Euthanize Your Pet

    In fact, it was because he didn't rouse himself from his bed to join all of us for the holiday festivities that I had to cross off the final criteria defining his quality of life. He already had ceased eating for pleasure, turned his old gray face away from his

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  • Why Does My Dog... Stare at Me?

    By Dr. Patty Khuly

    iStockphotoIt's not hard to imagine why a loyal dog might stare devotedly at his master. It's the stuff of Old Yeller, White Fang and Lassie -- starers, all. But some dogs take staring to extremes, following their owners around with baleful eyes as if expecting links of sausage to fly from their human's fingertips.

    Let's face it: Dogs love their owners, but when they stare expectantly, it's not usually because they're trapped in a reverie of devotion. Rather, it's because they're thinking they might get something. And usually, that "something" involves a tasty snack.

    But dogs can-and do-stare at their owners for plenty of non-food issues, too. Indeed, anything a dog might want that a human can provide could be the source of the staring behavior, from a fun game of fetch to a ride in the car or a long run.

    Then there's the possibility that a dog is simply seeking attention in any form, or perhaps she's merely waiting for praise or direction. Some dogs may just be

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