Bolivian Monastery Adopts Abandoned Dog, Turns Him into a Proper Friar

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A Franciscan monastery in Cochabamba, Bolivia, recently made international headlines after adopting an abandoned schnauzer and making him one of their own.

How the “world’s hairiest Franciscan monk” ended up at the San Francisco de Cochabamba monastery, four months ago, is still  a mystery, but what matters is that he’s now one of the family. Named Carmelo, the adorable schnauzer has become known as Fray Bigotón (Spanish for ‘Friar Mustache’) on the internet, after photos of him dressed in his own little Franciscan robe went viral online.

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Reptile Breeder Spends 8 Years Creating Unique Emoji Pattern Snake

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Justin Kobylka, a selective reptile breeder from Georgia, claims that he spent eight years trying to create a snake specimen with detailed smiling emoji patterns. He finally did it, and the result looks as unreal as you can imagine.

As a selective breeder, Kobylka specializes in taking relatively common reptile species and creating specimens with striking physical features which he then sells for a much higher price. He has created a number of visually-impressive over the years, but none as stunning as the Emoji Ball Python, a Lavender Albino Piebald Ball Python with three orange smiley emojis on its skin.

The unique pattern is caused by recessive mutations, and while these occur naturally, the chances of them occurring in the wild are “astronomical”, according to Kobylka. He claims his Piebald Ball Python is the world’s first to have three detailed smiley face emojis on its slithering body.

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The Promised Land of Pigs – A Retirement Home for Pigs Saved from Slaughterhouses

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For the last 22 years, the Promised Land of Pigs, a unique farm in Amstelveen, the Netherlands, has been a haven for hundreds of pigs that would have otherwise been slaughtered and sold piece by piece at a supermarket. Here, they enjoy a peaceful, comfortable existence complete with hugs and weekly massages until the end of their natural lives.

The Promised Land of Pigs (Beloofde Varkensland) is a non-profit organization founded by Dafne Westerhof, an activist militating for the humane treatment of farm animals. For over two decades she has saved hundreds of pigs, either by buying them straight from slaughterhouses, or taking them in from breeders who no longer had use for them or had become too attached to them to have them butchered. Whatever the reason, she’s always been more than happy to accept new pigs into her “Lucky Family” (Familie Bofkont) and give them the life she thinks they deserve.

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Turkish Feline Lover Installs Tiny Window Ladder to Help Stray Cats Escape the Cold

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Winter in the Turkish town of Terkirdag has been particularly cold this year, but a local cat lover has come up with an ingenious solution that allows stray cats in her neighborhood to escape the chill – installing a tiny metal ladder leading up into her cozy apartment.

Sebnem Ilhan couldn’t just sit by and let the stray cats freeze to death, so she decided to open up her home to them. But since inviting them in through the front door wasn’t going to work, she had to come up with a more practical solution. The window seemed like the best choice, but even though her apartment is on the ground floor of an apartment building, the window is still to high for cats to jump on to. So she had a tiny metal ladder made that the strays could climb to reach her window.

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Kenya’s “Elephant Guardian” Vows to Deliver Water to Thirsty Drought-Stricken Wildlife Until It Rains Again

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It is very dry in Kenya’s Tsavo East National Park, and the animals there are struggling to find vital water water sources. The bad news is that rain isn’t expected to fall again until November, but the good news is that there are people willing to bring water to the animals by the truckload until that happens.

Patrick Kilonzo Mwalua is the founder of Tsavo Volunteers, a group of animal lovers who look after the vulnerable wildlife of Tsavo National Park. Poachers are generally their biggest problem, but these days, the drought is threatening to kill even more animals . The prolonged drought has made water “a very precious commodity”, and thirsty animals sometimes have to walk long distances to find the few watering holes that haven’t dried up. Due to their scarcity, elephants often fight each other for the right to drink, which leaves the smaller, weaker ones at risk of dying. But Patrick and his team are not about to let that happen.

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Welcome to Catzonia – World’s First 5-Star Hotel for Cats Opens in Malaysia

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Temperature-controlled rooms, king-size beds, a dreamy playground and gourmet chow are just some of the things felines can enjoy at Catzonia, the world’s first five-star hotel for cats.

Located in Damansara, just outside Malaysia’s capital city of Kuala Lumpur, Catzonia was set up to offer pampered felines a lavish holiday whenever they need a break from their daily routine, or when their loving masters are away and can’t offer them the attention they deserve. Featuring a total of 35 rooms split into four categories, Catzonia is manned by a crew of feline lovers who promise to play with the guests, groom them and generally make sure their stay is as comfortable as possible.

“We believe that cats need holidays too,” the Catzonia Hotel website states. “They always prefer to be treated as a boss. It means the environment must be felt like home, always being cuddled and hugged, and most importantly they don’t want to feel lonely.”

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The Cruel Spanish Tradition That Kills Tens of Thousands of Greyhounds Every Year

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You probably already know about bullfighting and the controversy surrounding this ancient tradition, but there’s another less known tradition that claims the lives of tens of thousands of Spanish hunting dogs every year. And worst of all, nobody seems to want to do anything about it.

Galgos, or Spanish greyhounds, are an ancient breed of hunting dog that was once raised only by Spanish noble families. Today, these beautiful animals have been reduced to tools that modern-day hunters dispose of in a variety of gruesome ways as soon as the hunting season ends. The traditional explanation for their cruelty is that if the dogs have shamed their master by not performing to their expectations, this dishonor must be washed away by torturing and killing the animals, but in reality, it’s all about cutting costs. It makes more sense to them to buy new Galgos from a breeder for about 10 euros a piece, than spend money on feeding the ones they already own until the next hunting season. So they just get rid of them in the most appalling ways imaginable.

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The Tragic Story of a Taiwanese Vet Who Euthanized Herself After Having to Put Down Too Many Dogs

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Taiwan recently banned euthanizing abandoned animals in shelters, a law believed to have been prompted by the shocking suicide of a young veterinarian, in May 2016. 31-year-old Chien Chih-cheng injected herself with euthanasia drugs, after becoming extremely disturbed by the large number of animals she had to put down.

Chien Chih-cheng was the director of of an animal shelter in Taoyuan’s Sinwu District. She had chosen to work at the shelter because of her love for animals, and her colleagues remember that she “often worked overtime, rarely took a proper lunch break, and sacrificed her holidays to give the dogs more attention and make their lives better.” After graduating from one of Taiwan’s top university with the highest score in a civil service examination, Chien could have opted for a number of desk jobs, but she chose to dedicate her life to helping abandoned animals and getting them adopted by new families. But her job also required her to euthanize the animals that didn’t get adopted after a certain period of time, and this took a heavy toll on the young animal lover, especially after animal rights activists accused her of killing hundreds of abandoned dogs.

“Some animal welfare activists have unleashed relentless attacks on the Sinwu shelter and Chien was a target of those attacks,” Taoyuan City Councilor Wang Hao-yu wrote on Facebook last year. “She was even described as a ‘butcher.’ For a young woman who chose to work at the shelter because of her love for animals and whose duties involved euthanizing stray animals every day, those abuses were like stabs to the heart.”

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Russian Tattoo Artists Sparks Controversy After Tattooing His Hairless Cat

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A young tattoo artist in Yekaterinburg, Russia, has been getting a lot of criticism on social media after a video of him inking his pet Sphynx cat recently went viral. To make matters worse, the owner admitted that this was not the animal’s first tattoo, and probably not the last.

The owner of the hairless cat admits that he is basically forcing the animal to share his passion for tattoos. “Of course, I feel sorry for tattooing her, because it’s not something she wants,” he says in the video. But apparently the temptation to turn the Sphynx into a walking, meowing work of art is too great. Bes already sports a large tattoo on her back, featuring a woman, a deck of cards, a prison tower and a cigarette, and in this video her owner adds a star as well.

The Yekaterinburg artist said that tattoos are a bit harder to do because the cat’s skin is a bit different than a human’s, but added that he doesn’t believe the procedure is harmful for the cat. “This isn’t her first tattoo,” he says. “She just goes under and doesn’t feel a thing. She always wakes up fine from the anesthesia and behave normally after that.”

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Woman Recycles Dog Hair into Beautiful Sweaters, Ponchos, Gloves and More

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Chiengora – the art of spinning dog hair to make warm clothing items – has been around for thousands of years, and is still used today by people in extremely cold climates near the Arctic Circle. Now one Chicago-area woman wants to make Chiengora clothing available to dog lovers looking for a way to always stay close to their beloved pet.

Jeannie Sanke, from Evanston, Illinois, started practicing Chiengora – “Chien” is French for dog and “Gora” is  derived from angora – two years ago, and has since created all kinds of custom pieces from dog hair, including sweaters, ponchos, mittens and fluffy cup holders. She sells her creations on the Etsy online store, and regularly posts photos of her newest items on her Facebook page, Knit Your Dog. Most of her clients are dog lovers who want to feel their pet’s fur on their skin as often as possible, and especially owners who have lost their loyal friend and want something special to remember them by.

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Stray Dog Accompanies Indian Pilgrim on Epic 600 Km Walk

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Naveen, a 38-year-old a Sabarimala pilgrim claims he has found a friend for life in Malu, a stray dog who accompanied him on a 600-km walk from the Mookambika temple in Kollur,to the Sabarimala shrine in Pathanamthitta, India. Apart from keeping him company, the dog also protected his belongings and even woke him up when he overslept.

It was on the second day of his pilgrimage that Naveen met Malu. He had become worried about the stray dogs that would approach him, especially in the morning hours, shooing them away so they wouldn’t attempt to attack them, but he quickly realized that Malu was different. “It was after nearly 80 kilometers or so, that I noticed her. She walked towards me from the opposite direction and stopped when she reached right in front of me, the young Pilgrim recalls. “I did try shooing her off many times, but she would just not go.”

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The Dog Father – Indian Man Takes Care of 735 Dogs That Nobody Else Wants

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45-year-old Rakesh Shukla is a talented software engineer and CEO of a successful tech company, but among India’s animal lovers he is known as “The Dog Father”, an exceptional man who founded the country’s most advanced dog rescue center and who personally takes care of 735 abandoned pooches that nobody else wants.

10 years ago, Rakesh and his wife founded The Writers Block, a technical communication outsourcing company which today works with some of the biggest names in the tech industry – Intel, Microsoft, Oracle, etc.. The Bangalore-based company quickly became successful, and over the next few years the software engineer got to travel the world, buy expensive cars and lead the fancy lifestyle he always thought he wanted. But he still didn’t feel happy and fulfilled. It wasn’t until 2009, when Kavya, a beautiful Golden Retriever, came into his life that he truly felt that his life had meaning.

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Chinese Businessman Spends $25 Million Setting Up Sanctuary for 150-Strong Wolf Pack

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A 71-year-old businessman from China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region has earned the nickname “The Wolf King” after dedicating the last nine years of his life to raising 150 wolves of 8 different species, in a valley that has now come to be known as Wild Wolf Valley.

Yang Changsheng discovered his passion for wolves in 2007. He was visiting a friend when he noticed a caged female wolf with its paws tightly bound in manacles and chains. She looked miserable, so he asked his friend to open the cage so he could loosen the manacles. Some might say that getting so close to a fierce predator was a stupidly brave thing to do, but to Yang’s surprise, the wolf didn’t seem bothered or threatened by him, and as soon as the cage door opened, she just couched down at his feet like a pet dog. Impressed by the scene he had witnessed, his friend sent him the wolf and several wolf cubs born a few days earlier as a gift.

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The Squirrel Whisperer of Penn State University

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22-year-old Mary Krupa started interacting with the squirrels living on the Penn State University campus four years ago, and became an internet sensation after posting photos of the adorable rodents wearing tiny outfits and posing with various props. Today, everyone at the university knows her as the “Squirrel Whisperer” or “Squirrel Girl”.

Mary says that she became friends with the grey squirrels during her first week at Penn State, after spotting them running around and idly wondering what one of them would look like with a tiny hat on its head. She started bringing them food, and little by little they began to trust her. She actually managed to put a hat on a squirrel and take a picture, which she then sent to her grandmother, who loved it. Thinking that her Penn State colleagues could use something to lift up their spirits, she started posting photos of the squirrels wearing funny hats and playing with props she made herself, on Facebook. The response was overwhelmingly positive, and before long Mary and her squirrels became internet sensations.

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Someone Is Meticulously Shaving Kittens and Selling Them as Hairless Sphynx

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A number of people looking to buy hairless Sphynx cats for cheap fell victim to a scammer who meticulously shaves regular kittens to make them look exactly like the exotic breed.

Genuine Sphynx cats usually sell for $1,000 or more, so when Shayla Bastarache, from Alberta, Canada, saw an ad for a Sphynx kitten for just $650, last month, she thought it was too good a deal to pass up. There was no photo attached to the ad, but the price was so enticing that she agreed to meet the seller in a gas station parking lot an hour north of Calgary, at night. She handed him the money and received two hairless kittens, one for herself and one for a friend. Bastarache says she only realized that she had been scammed two weeks later, when both felines grew a thick coat and were revealed to be regular house cats. The cat lover, who owns two genuine Sphynx cats – for one of which she had paid $1,500 – said she was amazed by how thoroughly the animals had been shaved. “I don’t know how she did it,” Bastarche told reporters.

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