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Saving a Beautiful New Zealand Robin Species

When people imagine birds like robins, they usually think of birds with brown feathers and orange chests. However, there are actually a lot of different robins out there. People in certain areas used to believe that all swans were white, because they’d never seen black swans and couldn’t imagine them. 

There were actually old expressions in Europe about black swans, and these truisms used to use the concept of black swans metaphorically. They were a symbol for something that was nonexistent. However, there actually are black swans in Australia. 

When Europeans found these swans, the meaning of the expression had to change. Now, black swans have become a symbol for rare and surprising events. It would be interesting if something similar happened to black robins, which also exist. 

In the Chatham Islands in New Zealand, there are some robins that have entirely black feathers. Even their beaks and their eyes appear to be black. The undersides of each robin’s feet are slightly yellow. They also have very thin, light gray legs. However, other than that, these are black robins, and they have a very distinctive appearance. 

Like a lot of birds, black robins eat insects. They aren’t any bigger or smaller than sparrows, which makes them a little bit smaller than some other robins. Black robins live in the forest, and they tend to stay relatively close to the forest floor. 

These little robins live in a relatively isolated area. Sadly, this doesn’t mean that the robins are safe. In fact, animals who live in environments like this can be even more threatened than other creatures. They won’t be able to expand into other areas as easily, since their entire population is just contained within the boundaries of this one island or set of islands.

The black robins lacked natural predators at first, which may seem positive. However, it also means that the birds did not adapt to survive in a competitive or a harsh environment. Their small habitat also didn’t stay that way forever. 

Now, these robins are being threatened by various invasive species, including large rats and cats. Of course, cat populations have been able to expand because of human activity. Cats are known for killing birds even when they’re not hungry. They’re voracious carnivores, and they can kill a lot of birds very quickly. Some bird species have become extinct because of outdoor cats. 

These birds don’t have great camouflage in most areas. Having black feathers can be helpful for birds that fly around in deeper or darker areas. However, black is a dramatic shade, and it can make birds easier to see when they fly just above the ground. Their flight patterns also make it easier for small cats to get to them. 

Robins usually only live for about a couple of years outside of captivity. Thanks to their short lifespans, it’s particularly difficult for their population to remain stable. 

Ecologists in the early 1980’s were afraid that there were less than half a dozen of these birds left, with only a single female. They named her Old Blue, and thanks to her, there are more black robins alive today. They may all be her descendants. There are more than two hundred and fifty of them now, demonstrating that the population is still threatened but recovering. 

Dr. Don Merton from the famous New Zealand Conservation Department helped to save these birds. The scientist relocated some of Old Blue’s original eggs, and allowed other birds to care for them. Old Blue was able to have more surviving offspring as a result, and lived a full fourteen years. 

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Amazing Photos Of Forever Love – Then & Now

Danielle S

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In 2020 it can be amazingly hard to find long-term couples who have lasted through the years and decades. The nation has long been filled with cynicism towards long-term relationships, much less marriages that last. In fact, in the 1980s some states have a 50 percent divorce rate within five years of marriage. However, these couple photos prove that it is very possible for couples to not just last but to beacons of hope for others that things can last a lifetime. And the photos show them anywhere from 15 to 40 years apart, even 60 years in some cases, being together.

These before and after photos of the same couples have take decades to create, but you’ll probably agree the photos are simply a recognition of an amazing feat by these people to make what many would argue impossible these days happen. And they’ve done with a personal love for each other that keeps them together through, as the old saying goes, thick and thin. Take a look:

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A Serviceman Bonds With Dog Aboard and Fights To Bring Her Home

Danielle S

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When a soldier gets stationed overseas, he or she ends up seeing and experiencing a lot of different stuff. In the case of Patrick Brady, his “stuff” came in a four-legged package with a tail and about the size and behavior of a genuine puppy. The day it happened was like any other on base, Brady was going through his regular duties and checking an inventory list when someone piped up there was a puppy outside his building. As Brady looked out the window to see what was going on, sure enough there was a small little ball of fur wandering around.

Somehow, the puppy had managed to get into the base and wander around, probably looking for food or anything familiar. However, the base was anything but familiar, based in Eastern Georgia on the Russian front. Brady automatically bonded with the dog and took her in.

Giving the puppy a bath, getting her cleaned up and checked as well as making sure the dog had her shots, he dubbed the little canine Marshmallow. It seemed good for a few days, but then a week into the new visit, the young dog disappeared. Brady guesses the dog might have decided to wander again, but eventually she came back after being out in the wild, realizing the base was probably as good it was going to get for her with a shelter and a regular meal. Brady was thanking his stars she came back. Caked in mud and filthy from head to paw, she had definitely been out in the woods and wild for a while on her own again. Of course, this was a prediction too; Marshmallow it would turn out was a dedicated mud-bather every chance she got even when older. The dog also isn’t much of fan of baths and getting cleaned up, which might have been a habit she learned early on wandering around on her own.

However, aside from the fact that she required lots of baths and as soon as Brady knew the dog was going to stick, he started working on how to get the dog back halfway around the world to New York. Marshmallow was absolutely essential to the soldiers on the base keeping their wits once Coronavirus arrived, especially with the required isolation that was needed. However, the same virus also made it far more difficult to get the dog back to the U.S. as well.

By breed, Marshmallow was a mix, but it was clear the animal had some Georgian mountain dog in her genes. Looking for help, Brady reached out to the SPCA International on how he could get assistance in bring the dog home. The SPCA had been instrumental in helping other soldiers in Iraq bring back pups and dogs picked up in Baghdad and similar, and they were adept at dealing with all the formalities of moving an animal between countries. The timing worked out. Marshmallow was given the green light to be transported when Brady’s tour ended.

One last minute glitch almost caused Marshmallow to be left behind when an airport official found a flaw in the dog crate being used. Fortunately, although Marshmallow was left behind, the SPCA staff worked tirelessly to get things straightened out and the issues was ultimately resolved with a bit of ingenuity and cooperation from the airport as well. Brady started breathing easy when the SPCA called him and confirmed the dog was indeed boarded and on the plane in her crate.

Brady had picked the right organization to work with too; the SPCA International has been responsible for keeping dogs and their service member owners together in at least 1,000 cases since 2008. The red tape was finished though. To make sure the dog wasn’t carrying any pests, Marshmallow was quarantined at the arrival U.S. base for two weeks before being released to Brady. Fortunately, it all worked out, and Brady and the dog were reconnected stateside in full excitement and party.

Now, fully grown and settled into home in the U.S., Marshmallow makes it a point that her favorite spot in Brady’s house is the couch. Not to mention, she has no issue sharing the domicile with Brady’s other dog, Bear, a chow chow.

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Long-Time Shelter Cat Gets Major Donation

Jolie

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Dozens of cats end up in cat shelters around the country all the time. These entities help keep discarded cats alive, taken care of, and fed, as well as hopefully adopted, when not otherwise adopted. One particular cat, Grace, became a well-known member of the Colonial Capital Humane Society when she was a kitten. Located in New Bern, NC, the CCHS became Grace’s home for a long-standing eight years, odd for a kitten which typically end up getting adopted quickly. Part of the issue may have had to do with Grace’s pickiness.

Unlike many cats, Grace didn’t cozy up to humans very well. She favored cats and welcomed any newcomers like a mother cat, helping them adapt to the shelter. However, when it came to humans, Grace wasn’t keen on being petted much. Note, she has no problem doing the petting, being very famous for her forceful head-butts and heavy purring when she does like someone.

As a result, the CCHS Shelter resigned itself that Grace was going to end up being one of those cats that they took care of for her lifetime instead of adopting out. And, with her notoriety, someone thought eventually it would be a good idea to have Grace be the entrant for a recent Arm & Hammer Cat Litter’s “Purrfectly Impurrfect” contest, designed to help get the older cat noticed and adopted. Surprisingly, it worked. In mid-December, Grace made it to one of the three finalists, and the cat was declared a winner, generating a $10,000 donation to the CCHS for its work. Ideally, the organization hopes that in addition to the money, Grace might actually get noticed finally for a home too.

The overall goal, of course, it to help people understand there are more than just kittens that need to be adopted. Ideally, adult cats need safe, loving homes as well, and they are frequently passed up because people worry that they might take too much work or have behavioral issues. For Grace in particular, the win confirmed how unique and special her story was, as confirmed by the contest judges.

CCHS is not the only shelter by any means. Hundreds of shelters operate year-round, trying to maintain a safe environment for unwanted cats that are completely domesticated to live in safely. Arm & Hammer made a point to help with another $50,000 for cat shelters, emphasizing the importance of the mission decentralized through hundreds of charities and outfits.

As for Grace, she continues to be the mama cat at the CCHS Shelter, taking in the new entries as they arrive and teaching the scared felines the ropes in the Shelter. And when she’s not keeping watch on the rookies, Grace is busy sneaking up on an unsuspecting volunteer and giving him or her an affection head-butt again. The $10,000 Grace brought home for the CCHS shelter will go a long ways in additional care and support for her and the other cats, even if she is never adopted. In short, Grace has more than earned her keep and will be taken care of for the rest of her days.

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Adorable Corgi From Texas Plays Mom After Adopting Four Labrador Puppies!

Amanda J

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The average adult corgi will stand roughly 12 inches tall while weighing just 25 pounds or so. The average Labrador retriever will stand at twice the height and more than twice the weight, so you can see our surprise when we heard about a Corgi that adopted four Lab puppies!

Angela is a Corgi from Texas that made headlines around the community when she adopted four Labrador Retriever puppies. Angela is a 2-year-old rescue who found her way to the Dog Ranch Rescue in Texas last October after spending the first year of her life in a puppy mill.

Renee Eden of Dog Ranch Rescue told the news team at KSAT that Angela had given birth at the rescue to four corgi puppies. The puppies were healthy and taken care of, and Angela happily stayed with the Rescue. Not too long after her own litter was birthed, a pregnant Labrador ended up at the Dog Ranch Rescue. Tragically, the mother dog named Autumn would give birth to a healthy litter before passing away from complications herself. 

While the team at Dog Ranch Rescue was understandably upset at the loss of Autumn Dove, they knew they had to take care of her four Labrador pups. Renee stated that she thought the Dog Ranch Rescue team would be forced to perform around-the-clock bottle feedings for the pups. Instead, Angela decided to leap into action to become a hero in their time of need. 

Eden had introduced Angela to the Lab puppies under the assumption that the Corgi would turn away from the pups. Eden told reporters, “Most of the time dogs turn their back, but that she didn’t was pretty magical.” Eden would go on to describe how Angela and her puppies were introduced to the Lab puppies. The eight pups from wildly different backgrounds became fast friends. Eden said, “It was absolutely fabulous.”

The Labrador puppies were birthed on December 1st of 2020 and they have been under the guidance of Angela ever since. While the story has quickly gone viral, dog lovers looking to take home their own adopted Labrador from Angela’s second litter will have to wait in line. According to Eden, the team has families lined up to take each and every puppy from the litter. This isn’t exactly uncommon for Eden and the team at Dog Ranch Rescue. In fact, Dog Ranch Rescue has helped to house more than 1,600 dogs since they first opened their doors in 2014.

According to the most recent update from Dog Ranch Rescue, Autumn Dove’s puppies as well as Angela are fit, happy, and healthy. They continue to thrive with one another as Angela continues to provide for the litter as a surrogate mother. The social media team for Lone Star Dog Ranch and Dog Ranch Rescue would say in an Instagram post, “Angela has not hesitated for even a moment to take these little orphans in as her own!”

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The Case of the Missing Russian Blue Cat

Jolie

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Losing a pet can be an anxiety-ridden experience. That was the case for Trish who lost her Russian Blue cat when the feline up and disappeared. Aptly named Bleu, her cat didn’t come back, and by the fifth day Trish was actively trying to use social media and neighborhood postings to find her pet. Eventually, Trish found herself asking about and trying to find out more about pet detectives. Her first discussion struck out, however, it wasn’t a total loss; Trish was referred to Bonnie McCririe-Hale who had a strong reputation among pet detectives in the area for quality work and reliable service.

Located in Grapevine, Bonnie technically can investigate all sorts of things, including humans. However, by trade she likes to focus on finding missing animals. With most of her activity based on the Dallas-Fort Worth market, Bonnie generally likes to stay local, but she’s willing to handle cases in Houston and Austin on occasion, and even will go for an odd case in Baton Rouge or Oklahoma City.

There is a reasonable expectation of success with Bonnie’s cases. If the pet has been gone for more than two weeks, Bonnie will take a pass on the offer unless the pet owner can provide proof of very recent witnesses who’ve seen the animal in passing. Otherwise, it’s a cold case and she lets others take on those difficulties.

With Trish’s cat, however, Bonnie was focused on the feline’s behavior. Was there anything recently noticeable that would have caused the pet to disappear or purposely leave the home? Bleu generally lived indoors most of the time but the cat did have the freedom to roam around outside if it desired. Bonnie took Trish’s information and scanned the immediate area around the home via search engine satellite photos. Then the detective tracked all known predator types in the area as well as any recent, significant changes like construction.

By the time Bonnie arrived with her specially trained dogs, Trish had already given her neighbors a heads-up what was going to happen. Bonnie was going to need to let the dogs locate the last locations of Bleu’s presence by smell, including immediately nearby sheds, culverts, bushes and garages.

Fortunately, Trish was able to connect with her cat finally due to a neighbor. While Bonnie was unable to apply her skills to find the cat, although her and her dogs combed the area for four hours, the activity did heighten the attention of Trish’s neighbors. This triggered a question from a nearby retiree about whether a cat he had was in fact Bleu. I turned out Bleu was indeed the cat, and Trish asked the neighbor to just entertain the cat and keep being friendly until she could get there and claim the errant feline. While Bonnie refuses to claim the finding as a result of her work, everybody including Trish disagree and credit her presence for being the catalyst in solving the case of the missing Russian Blue cat.

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