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A Dog and Dolphin Friendship

Aquariums, museums, and zoos are still mostly closed these days. No one really knows exactly when that situation will change. Both people and animals have been affected by the pandemic. People do talk about how the pandemic is affecting pets. However, it’s also affecting the animals who live at aquariums, wildlife centers, and zoos. 

Many of these animals are used to seeing a lot of new people on a regular basis. They might not directly interact with the guests at zoos and similar facilities, but the animals can still see them. Some of these establishments are more interactive, and visitors can spend some supervised time interacting with some of the safer and more sociable animals. 

While lots of pets are used to spending time indoors, many of them are still used to seeing visitors. Dogs get taken for walks outside, and they’ll usually see new individuals every time they’re outside. These days, lots of dog owners are trying to find new ways to make sure that their dogs get enough exercise. 

Even when people do take their dogs outside for walks right now, people usually won’t stop to talk. Most people today are trying to follow social distancing guidelines. They might be nervous about greeting people, even if they’re wearing masks at the time. It’s a situation that’s difficult for a lot of people, but it’s also tough for the animals. 

Humans understand what’s going on, and why social distancing guidelines have to be followed. This just isn’t the case for dogs and the animals at aquariums. As far as they know, things just changed completely randomly. Owners and handlers will never be able to explain to the animals why all of these changes happened. They’ll certainly never be able to reassure them about the future. It’s a very stressful time for everyone, and animals don’t understand why. 

However, people are coming up with clever ways to cope with this current situation, and they’re helping their animals cope as well. Dogs are now being invited to aquariums. 

This way, both the pets and the other animals will be able to change their routines. Some Instagram users might be familiar with a Golden Retriever named Kevin. He’s already well-known for the fact that he likes hates, which is very unusual for dogs.

Lots of people try to dress up their dogs, and their dogs don’t like it. Kevin, on the other hand, seems to have fun with his adorable duck-shaped hat. He seems to like actual ducks just as much. 

Now, Kevin has a new animal friend: a dolphin at the famous Clearwater Marine Aquarium. The dolphin is called Winter, and Winter also seems to be fond of ducks. The aquarium staff members probably knew Kevin from Instagram, and they got in touch with the person who looks after Kevin. 

Winter and Kevin were actually on FaceTime for a little while, interacting before officially meeting. The aquarium is mostly empty, so it’s safe for Kevin and his owner to physically go to the aquarium. His owner certainly wore a face mask at the aquarium. 

Kevin got to see the stingrays, pelicans, and other aquatic animals before seeing his new friend Winter. The dog was even able to swim alongside the professional dolphin trainers and a yellow duck toy that belongs to Winter. She’s a very friendly dolphin who doesn’t mind sharing her toys with her friends. 

It’s possible that the two of them will be friends for a while. Kevin is a very young dog. He’s only been around for a year, and has still had an exciting life so far. 

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Couple Adopts Deaf Norfolk Sheepdog And Trains Her With Sign Language

Amanda J

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Oftentimes you hear that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks but this sheepdog you’re about to learn about proved that adage wrong.

Nothing is impossible when an individual or an animal in this case is determined to accomplish it and this dog has achieved a major feat.

When a sheepdog could no longer hear and lost her ability to assist with farm work, she was surrendered to the RSPCA. The dog was taught a kind of sign language, allowing her to “resume the job she loved very much.”

In 2018, a charity team member went ahead and adopted Peggy who is a collie. The woman’s husband works as a shepherd in Norfolk.

The couple started the lengthy process of teaching Peggy to herd via the use of hand signals instead of the typical voice commands.

Along with the couple’s two other pets, Peggy is now living part-time with them.

Peggy was a “bright and successful sheepdog,” however she ended up losing the ability to hear and therefore her potential to communicate with her handler, according to the RSPCA.

The Mid and North Norfolk branches of the charity received the dog from a farmer. The eight-year-old dog ended up where animal welfare manager Chloe Shorten served.

It was just before Christmas that Peggy headed home to dwell with the Shortens as well as their two additional sheep dogs who worked on the farm because there was no space in the kennels.

Mrs Shorten said, they were aware that Peggy wanted to work, so they began the extended procedure of instructing the dog being able to herd and toil alongside a shepherd with no need to depend on vocal commands.

They began by instructing her to recognize hand gestures by looking at us.

Instead of combining a verbal order with an activity, they’d utilize a physical hand gesture, the author said.

Peggy learned to read hand signs and body language with the aid of a sheepdog teacher.

Mrs Shorten said the process took time, and Peggy had to understand that they love her – and comprehend when they were praising her.

She explained that giving a thumbs up meant “nice girl.”

Although the collie is basically retired, she still works with Mrs Shorten’s husband on occasion. Peggy is required to don a GPS bracelet during play time because she races around so fast and is unable to hear when her owners beckon her to return.

Mrs Shorten said, it’s wonderful to look at Peggy having this new focus on life and loving her life with her family.

She added that Peggy is evidence that an old dog can learn new tricks and is a perfect example of a dog’s capability – even if they happen to lose any of their senses.

Meanwhile, Peggy continues to work happily on the farm as though she never lost her hearing. Additionally, it appears that retirement is just a word because she shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.

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As Penguin Population Drops, Island Residents Send in Dogs to Save the Day

Jolie

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Middle island is a rocky outcropping just off the southwestern shores of Victoria, Australia. Located a short drive away from the city of Warrnambool, Middle Island would quickly gain a reputation for its teeming wildlife population. More specifically, Middle Island became a national point of pride thanks to the many breeding colonies of Eudyptula Minor and Ardenna Tenuirostris located on the property.

Due to its close proximity to the shore, Middle Island has become particularly beholden to predators during its low tide. Foxes and stray dogs have increasingly found the island to utilize it as a source of food, killing hundreds of penguins along the way. As a result of this dramatic and steep decline in the population of penguins on Middle Island, the Maremma Sheepdog project would come to fruition.

Meet the Little Penguins of Middle Island

The smallest known species of penguin, the Little Penguin — or Korora — reaches an average height of 13 inches and an average length of 17 inches. Found throughout Southern Australia as well as New Zealand, the Little Penguin has been calling Middle Island its home for more than 30 years when thousands of little animals covered the area.

As natural predators made their way to Middle Island, it was clear that the penguin population could not sustain itself against their onslaughts. Low tide would become synonymous with chaos and residents in the area knew that the penguins wouldn’t last forever if the issue were not addressed. Rather than simply watching as the penguins were eradicated by predators, locals decided to get involved with the Maremma Sheepdog Project.

Protecting Penguins: Mission for the Maremma Sheepdog

Major problems often require creative solutions and that is exactly how the Maremma Sheepdog project came to life. A local chicken farmer by the name of Allan Marsh would go on to suggest that the Maremma breed be used to protect local penguin colonies. This breed of dog had long been used for the protection and transportation of livestock, so the plan made sense from the beginning. Marsh would go on to say, “There was a penguin colony constantly being marauded by foxes.”

Maremmas have been bred for centuries as livestock guardians indigenous throughout Italy, particularly Southern Italy’s Tuscany region. Marsh would take his suggestion to the Warrnambool City Council, and it was that governing body that would approve a month-long trial. Marsh would complete the trial by pointing out, “The presence of the dogs kept foxes from going on the island.”

Ever since the project was first established, the penguin population has continued to surge in response. From potential threat of extinction to fully protected colonies, there are now close to 200 Little Penguins on the island and county with breeding occurring every season. Trish Corbett would head the Middle Island Penguin Project and opine, “We know the dogs work — it’s fantastic.”

While the Maremmano Sheep Dog has become a savior for penguins in Middle Island, they continue to perform as admirable livestock guardians throughout Central and Southwestern Italy.

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95-year-old Veteran Gets Surprise Parade For His Birthday

Liz L

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These days, living to retirement has been eluding many, whether because of a pandemic, chronic illness, car accident, and all the different factors that have been shortening the life expectancy of many.

Therefore, it is a big deal when some can live to see their 95th birthday and be in their right frame of mind to enjoy it and express their appreciation.

That was the case for a senior citizen recently who got the surprise of his life when the entire town celebrated his special day with him uniquely and beautifully, leaving him in awe.

Just over a year ago, Vermont was planning for an extraordinary shutdown due to a pandemic that shook the world to its core. It was on March 7, 2020, the date of Jim Hasson’s 94th birthday.

Now, one year later, things were looking up on Sunday, the Cavendish man’s ninety-fifth birthday. He’d just had his second dose of COVID-19 vaccine and sat in a chair lounging in the vicinity of Main Street under a chilly light blue sky.

Those inside waved, honked, and shouted birthday greetings as a surprise convoy consisting of over fifty fire units, police cars, and passenger vehicles drove by where he was seated.

Some people attired in masks, pulled up to salute Hasson and deliver treats and cards to the elderly veteran. Hasson’s smile could be seen right through his mask.

Despite his age, Mr. Hasson has an amazing sense of humor and is able to find humor in most situations.

Mr. Hasson joked that if he had known reaching age ninety-five would have been such a pleasure, he would have definitely hit that milestone eons ago and that he isn’t used to being in the spotlight, but it was a memorable day for him.

Last spring, Seven Days met the retired plumber, a World War II, and Vietnam War veteran, at the dwelling he and one of his sons shared at the cul-de-sac of an extended dirt road.

Hasson was feeling pretty down without the phone, TV, or the meals he shared with friends at a Senior Center in Woodstock.

He was positively giddy throughout a phone interview on Monday. He thought about the birthday parade and the scores of greeting cards that had been presented to him.

Three of his four daughters, as well as his toddler great-granddaughter, who resides in Martha’s Vineyard, attended the gathering.

Mr. Hasson continued his wit by saying, “If one desires to be a hero, the trick is to outlive everyone else,” laughing at his own joke. He’s definitely anticipating being released from the COVID-19 shut down one of these days, and he’s relieved to have made it this far.

Every day was an adventure, Hasson said as he reflected on his time in the military and as a country plumber in the Cavendish region.

It is clear that he plans to hit the ground running soon because he not only got both his vaccines but also began hanging out in the vicinity of the roadway.

Those are clear indicators that the 95-year-old man plans to live to be a century-old and have fun while doing so.

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After 15 Years Apart, Lost Cat Reunites With Owner Against All Odds

Amanda J

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There are few relationships in life more important than the one between a pet and its owner. Whether you are a cat-lover, a dog-lover, or an equestrian aficionado, the furry friends we invite into our lives can play a huge role within them. We all hear horror stories about the pets that run away or the ones that go missing, but what about the stories of pets and their long-lost owners reuniting? What about them?

In today’s story, we are going to dive into one of the least likely pet-related stories you are going to read about. Revolving around Charles Benezra, his beloved kitten, and the 15 years they spent apart, you’ll have to read this story to believe it!

A Kitten, An Adoption, and the City of Northridge

Our story begins with a visit to Northridge, a neighborhood located within the City of Los Angeles. Nestled in the San Fernando Valley, Northridge was originally settled in 1908. Known as the home for California State University and its high concentration of four-year degree holders, Northridge is where a man by the name of Charles Benezra first decided he wanted to adopt a kitten.

Benezra had searched around the area for a place to adopt a kitten before settling on a small gray tabby. The gray tabby cat is incredibly common and argued to be one of the most aesthetically appealing felines around! Gray tabby cats are revered for making quality housemates and Charles was surely thinking about that when he brought home his beloved furry friend.

Charles had adopted his kitten while she was still only a few months old, still in the thick of her growing season. Like a responsible pet owner, Charles decided to get a microchip for his cat. Microchips are harmless implants roughly the size of a grain of rice. These implants use frequency identification tech to tie pets back to their owners, and they are often used to identify lost and missing animals.

One day, Charles decided to let his small tabby out onto the deck for some rest and relaxation under the sun. Unfortunately for Charles, the gray tabby would decide to run off — leaving him and his household behind! Charles waited as long as he could, but the cat never returned. Benezra would spend weeks and months looking for the cat but eventually, he would lose heart. Until…

Palmdale Animal Care Center Saves the Day

Upon giving up on his search for the gray tabby that had been his own, Charles would begin to lose hope. After all, there are about 70 million estimated stray cats living in the United States of America alone!

Right when Charles was ready to give up on his long-lost (15 years!) cat, he would receive an unlikely phone call from the Palmdale Animal Care Center. Not only did they think they found his cat, but the cat was still alive, well, and completely healthy! Charles would haul off to the Palmdale Animal Care Center to see if the story could truly be as they described. Was his gray tabby from 15 years ago back in his life?

Upon arrival, it was hard not to argue that Charles was emotional. Benezra would say, “She weighed about the same size as when she was a kitten.”

After picking up the long-lost gray tabby, Benezra would smile as the cat began to per instantly. The Palmdale Animal Care Center had identified the microchip and tied it back to Benezra. The cat’s fond memory of his prior owner had done the rest, instantly recognizing Charles the second they had reconnected!

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Manatees Found Basking Together in Warm Florida Waters

Sarrah M

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There are few animals in the world as fascinating to us as the manatee. Large and oblong creatures with bulbous bodies and distinct whiskers, who doesn’t love seeing these smart animals in the wild? Unfortunately, manatees have been facing serious repercussions as a result of climate change and habitat destruction, with some population viability studies showing almost a 50% chance of extinction within the next thousand years. This issue is compounded furthermore by frequent collisions with watercraft throughout the state of Florida. Understanding how dire the Florida manatees situation is will properly contextualize how important this next news story was.

Florida Manatees Face Struggles With Population Decline

Early in 2021, more than 200 threatened manatees from Florida were spotted basking together off of the shallow waters near the west coast of Florida. Pictured near St. Petersburg and photographed by See Through Canoe, the images would quickly go viral thanks to the many different social media channels that ran with the footage. What makes this footage particularly striking is not just the relaxed nature of the manatees basking and at play, but it is the co-mingling of dolphins interspersed throughout that caught our attention!

The YouTube video which has since gone viral shows nearly 170 manatees basking in warm water, a habitat that has become increasingly rare for them. Throughout the video, viewers can watch as manatees and dolphins play by jumping in and out of the water. Though manatees and dolphins have been pictured together before, there aren’t many videos where such large groups of animals are congregating and playing with one another. In fact, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, there are just 7,500 wild manatees left in existence throughout the southeastern United States. Every single year, hundreds of manatees will die due to disease and collisions with watercraft.

A Rare Scene Could Become the Norm With Conservation

Mike Heithaus is the dean of Florida International University, and he was quick to offer some insight on the footage. Heithaus pointed out how manatees and dolphins typically will rarely interact with one another, particularly in areas of fresher water. With that being said, Heithaus was quick to point out that there were no specific reasons why dolphins and manatees couldn’t get along, saying that there wasn’t a ‘particular reason they wouldn’t interact’.

What blew Mike out of the water, pun not intended, was that the footage was shot through a drone, allowing a special aerial view of the rare scene below. The images and video should hopefully inspire more hope and optimism surrounding the manatee, but there is still a long way to go before the species is off the brink of extinction. Heithaus went on to point out that this event could become quite the common scene if the manatee population is appropriately fostered and allowed to grow in relative safety.

Some Have Hope For a Better Future for the Florida Manatee

The biggest implication that researchers and animal conservationists want to impart through this story is just how big of an impact humans are having on the environment. Manatees are watching their population numbers crater in large part due to interactions with humans, hit by watercraft, or simply swept away from habitats that once safely housed them. Researchers like Annie Reneau from Upworthy continue to focus on shifting the message toward a more natural style of conservation. Renau had seen the video and had chosen to highlight it with an article, emphasizing that videos like this one can become the norm in a more equitable and natural world.

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