Cuddling with Cows Is the Cutest Form of Therapy

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If you’re looking for a unique but sure way to let loose and forget about the stress of your daily life, head off to the Swiss country side for a session of cow cuddling therapy. It’s sure to do the trick!

Sibylle Zwygart’s family runs a dairy farm in Tenniken. Switzerland’s Basel-Landschaft canton. Three years ago she and her father were watching over one of their cows during calving, and while the birth of three adorable calves was usually a joyous event, this time was different. Her father’s trained eyes immediately noticed that two of the calves were sterile females, and the third was a bull, so none of them were of any use for their dairy business. Sibylle’s father planned to sell them all to the slaughterhouse, but she pleaded with him to let her keep them.

It took some convincing, but the farmer finally gave in to his daughter’s heartfelt pleas, on one condition – that she somehow find the money to cover the cost of their feed and veterinary bills. Sibylle agreed, and has spent most of her time since then looking after and training the three animals, which she named Svea, Sven and Svenja. As soon as they were old enough, she started putting them to “work”.

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Every Day, This Dog Goes on the Same Walk He Used to Go On with His Owner

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Remember the tragic yet heartwarming tale of Hachiko, the loyal Akita Inu who spent nine years waiting for his owner to return from work, not knowing that he had died of a brain hemorrhage? His legendary loyalty is now being emulated by Thor, a dog of the same breed, who goes on the same walk he and his departed owner used to go on, every day.

Every day, the people of Caçapava do Sud, a town in Brazil’s Rio Grande do Sul region witness a touching display of animal loyalty. In the morning, Thor, a white Akita Inu, takes to the streets, retracing the daily walk he and his owner used to take up until a year ago, when the 58-year-old man died. He stops at all the usual places his master used to spend time in, lets those who know him pet him on the head and even poses for pictures, before returning home to his adoptive family. That’s become his daily ritual for the last year or so.

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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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Israeli Woman Accidentally Steps on Garden Snail, Takes It to the Vet to Save Its Life

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The life of one garden snail may not mean very much in the grand scheme of things, but for one Israeli woman who accidentally stepped on one, cracking its brittle shell, it was enough to warrant a visit to the local vet clinic.

It’s quite in rainy in Tel Aviv this time of year, and moisture-loving garden snails are very active. They sometimes venture outside their natural habitat, and, unfortunately, some of them get stepped on by careless humans. Most of the time the snail get squashed, but, in the most fortunate cases, only their shells get damaged. If they don’t suffer major injuries to their bodies, snails will usually fix their mobile homes by drawing in calcium, but one lady in the Israeli capital didn’t want to leave anything to chance after accidentally stepping on a slow-crawling snail.

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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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German Man Insists His Spanish Water Dog Is Actually a Sheep to Avoid Paying Tax

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The following story actually happened!I wouldn’t have believed it myself if it hadn’t been reported by the German police, following a first-hand experience the likes of which you don’t hear about every day.

A man in Rostock, North-Eastern Germany, had to pay a fine and will likely face a tax evasion lawsuit after he claimed that his Spanish Water Dog was actually a sheep, to avoid paying a mandatory tax. In Germany, dog owners must pay a “dog tax” – ranging 24 to 100 euros ($25 to $107) – and equip their pets with a special tag confirming that they paid the license. This does not apply to pet sheep (remember that, it’s important).

Last Wednesday, the man in question was spotted walking his dog in the Rostock harbor area, by a harbor security officer. Paying your taxes is apparently a big deal in Germany, because after noticing that the animal did not have the tag confirming that the dog tax had been paid, he confronted the owner about it. To his surprise, the man appeared shocked by the question and replied that his pet was not a dog, but a sheep. At first, the harbor employee thought it was a joke, but the man stuck to his original answer, so he had mo choice but to ask for the man’s ID and notify the police about him.

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Snack-Loving Deer Visits Norwegian Pensioner Twice a Day Every Winter

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Every winter for the past three years, 80-year-old Mette Kvam, from the Norwegian town of Aurland, has been getting two daily visits from a very special friend – a majestic stag who seems to love her tasty snacks.

It all started three years ago, when Mette first saw her friend “Flippen” hanging out in her yard, on the edge of the nearby forest. She opened the window and offered the beautiful animal a crunchy cookie. To her surprise, the animal came closer and stretched its neck to grab the treat. Flippen must have liked it very much, because he has been coming back for more ever since. He visits Mette every morning and evening, from early November to April, when he and his deer friends head higher up into the mountains for the warm season. But as soon as they come back down, he starts coming by the woman’s house again.

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Dog Saves Owner’s Life by Lying on Top of Him for 20 Hours to Keep Him from Freezing

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In what can only be described as a heroic act, a golden retriever managed to save his owner’s life by lying on top of him for almost 24 hours to keep him from freezing to death after slipping on ice and breaking his neck.

On New Year’s Eve, 64-year-old Bob (who chose not to reveal his last name for privacy reasons), of Petoskey, Michigan, was watching the Fiesta Bowl between Clemson and Ohio State. It was around 10:30 pm when he decided to go outside and fetch some more wood for his fireplace wearing only long johns, slippers and a shirt. He had taken the short, 15-foot walk to the firewood shed thousands of times before, but this time his poor choice of footwear made him slip, and the fall left him unable to move. The man started screaming for help, but his closest neighbor’s house is a quarter of a mile away, and at that hour, there was no one around to help him. Luckily, his 5-year-old golden retriever came to help.

“I was screaming for help, but my nearest neighbor is about a quarter-mile away and it was 10:30 p.m., but my Kelsey came,” Bob recalls. “By morning my voice was gone and I couldn’t yell for help, but Kelsey didn’t stop barking. She kept barking for help, but never left my side. She kept me warm and alert. I knew I had to persevere through this and that was my choice to stay alive.”

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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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