Dog Lover Will Live in Animal Shelter for 35 Days to Highlight the Plight of Abandoned Pets

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Sean Le Vegan, a dog lover from Manchester, England, will spend over a month in an animal shelter enclosure  to raise awareness about the plight of stray dogs and encourage people to adopt rather than buy canine pets.

Sean, a 35-year-old web-designer and volunteer at the Manchester and Cheshire Dogs’ Home, believes spending 35 days and nights in a cage is a good way to attract attention to the hideous plight of homeless dogs. It’s also a great way to raise some much-needed funds for the dog shelter, as he plans to broadcast his challenge on the internet with webcams and charge £5 ($7.50) per subscription. People will be able to watch a human living a dog’s life and Le Vagan plans to offer them a realistic experience. 35 days is the average stay for a dog at the Manchester-based animal shelter. Just like the canines brought here, Sean won’t eat anything for the first four days and will have to make do with just water and a blanket. After that he will be feasting on vegetarian dog food throughout the whole event. He will only be allowed one hour of freedom per day, to use the toilet and freshen up. To make his experience even more authentic, he even had a chip implanted in his shoulder which  is hooked up to the dog-care database.

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Houtong Cat Village – How a Few Purring Felines Saved a Dying Community

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This is the story of how a few dozen cats managed to save an entire community just by purring and looking pretty. Houtong was just another dilapidated mining town in the mountains of eastern New Taipei City, but everything changed when the felines came and livened up the place.

Houtong used to be one of Taiwan’s most important coal extraction sites, up until the 1970s. Then, oil and electricity took the place of coal, and the town suffered a steady decline. At one point it was reduced to a train stop along the Yilan line, one that most travelers ignored, and that forced many of its younger residents search for better opportunities elsewhere. The population of this defunct mining town dwindled from around six thousand inhabitants to a couple  of hundred, who struggled to survive. But their fortunes changed in 2008, when a cat lover who goes by the name “Palin88” organized a series of cat photography events in the mountain town. He and his friends posted the photos online, and got an overwhelming response from fellow feline enthusiasts. As they shared the photos on forums and social media sites, Houtong welcomed more and more tourists eager to photograph the cats themselves, or simply watch them roaming through the town. Nowadays, Houtong is known as the Cat Village, or Taiwan’s Cat Mecca.

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Spanish Town Mails Dog Poo Back to Their Owners

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Sick of having to clean up after irresponsible dog owners, authorities in Brunete, a small town 20 miles west of Madrid, came up with an ingenious way to keep the streets clean. They started sending the dog poo back to their owners in boxes marked “Lost Property”.

The council of Brunete had not approved a budget for the original street cleaning campaign, but advertising agency McCann was willing to do all the work for free. During the course of a week, more than a dozen volunteers patrolled the streets keeping an eye out for owners who didn’t clean up after their pets. As soon as they spotted an offender, they approached them and sparked up a conversation about their dog, trying to find out its name and breed. ”With the name of the dog and the breed it was possible to identify the owner from the registered pet database held in the town hall,” a spokesman of the town council explained. As soon as the owner left, the volunteers picked up the poo and packaged them in cardboard boxes branded with the town hall insignia and marked as “Lost Property”. The smelly packages were then delivered by courier to the pet owners homes, along with a fine warning.

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Fluffy Cows – Models of the Bovine World

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Have you ever seen a cow that you simply couldn’t help want to cuddle? I hadn’t, until I saw these photos of extremely fluffy show calves that look like they’re modelling for some kind of bovine fashion magazine.

I first spotted these real-life plush cows on Reddit a few days ago, and I simply fell in love with them. Not in a deranged way, but I just found them irresistible and wished I had one of my own so I could sink my face in its fluffiness. Okay, enough about my weird self. These cows don’t belong to any particular breed. They are show calves, a cross between two different high-quality breeds, bred for bovine show-business. That means that apart from their genetic characteristics, owners go out of their way to make sure the cows look their best. Special feeding, basic manners training and grooming are all part of the show calf world, and believe me when I tell you a lot of effort goes into styling cattle. Just think of them as girls, but with their very own conditioners, hair sprays and lotions. Show calf trimming is also considered an art form among cattle enthusiasts, as it gives the animals that Photoshop-like boxy shape. But as you can see in the photos below, the results are nothing short of spectacular.

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Battle of the Queens – Switzerland’s Ultimate Cow Fighting Championship

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Every year, the peaceful Swiss village of Aproz becomes a battleground for Herens cows, a breed of cattle known for its genetic predisposition for combativeness. During the Battle of the Queens (Combats de Reines) the animals get a chance to fight each other for supremacy.

Before you pick up the phone to call your favorite animal rights association, you should know the Battle of the Queens is nothing like the bloody bull fights organized in Spain. Here, farmers take great care of their prized “queens”, making sure they don’t suffer any serious injuries. Plus, there really isn’t much fighting going on, either. The territorial cows mostly lock horns and push each other with their foreheads, until one of them turns around and walks away, accepting defeat. Some of the fighters have lost horns or gained battle scars in the event, but no serious injuries were recorded in recent events. Herens cows, named after Val d’Herens in Valais, have an aggressive instinct that makes them fight among themselves for leadership of the herd. These so-called queens then take part in regional and national rounds of traditional Swiss cow-fighting, with participation in the final Battle of the Queens as their ultimate goal. The event draws in hundreds of cattle farmers from across Switzerland, eager to test their champions in horned combat, as well as a crowd of spectators. Those who can’t attend, watch the fighting on television or listen to it on Rhone FM, a radio station in Valais with a weekly cow fight program.

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Wolf-Dog Appears to Be Sobbing at Grave of Owner’s Grandmother

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A heartbreaking video that recently went viral on YouTube shows a heartbroken wolf-dog laying over the gravestone of his owner’s grandmother,shaking and making what appear to be sobbing noises.

Over the years I’ve posted some truly heartbreaking stories about dogs displaying their feelings over the loss of their masters, pets waiting by their owner’s graves for years, or visiting familiar places and awaiting their return, but I had yet to see an animal actually crying over their deceased human companions…Until today. In a short clip posted on YouTube by user Sarahvarley13, Wiley, a wolf-dog from Lockwood Animal Rescue Center (LARC), in Ventura County, California, appears to be sobbing over the loss of his owner’s grandmother. He is shown laying on her gravestone shaking and making heartbreaking noises that a lot of people believe express his pain over the terrible loss. The video has sparked a debate between YouTube users who believe Wiley is sobbing over his friend Gladys, and those who are convinced dogs cannot cry and that the wolf-dog is actually suffering from allergies or breathing problems.

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Frog Whisperer Helps Keep Hawaii’s Coqui Population Under Control

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The tiny coqui frog may seem harmless, but as night falls over the islands of Hawaii, thousands of these coin-sized critters start terrorizing the local population with their unrelenting mating calls that can reach up to 90 decibels. Luckily, frog whisperer Keevin Meenami speaks their language and can draw the females out when they become to much to bear.

“ko-KEE-ko-KEE-ko-KEE” – that’s the sound that has disrupted countless hours of sleep and scared away both potential home buyers and tourists from several parts of the Hawaiian archipelago, including the Big Island. Originally from Puerto Rico, the tiny coqui frogs have been arriving to Hawaii as cargo-ship stowaways ever since the late 1980s. With no natural predators to trouble them, they have been multiplying rapidly, eluding eradication crews by camouflaging themselves with a brown or yellow coloring that blends into Hawaiian vegetation.  In 2004, authorities declared war on the coqui and came up with several plans to wipe them out them from the Big island, which had become their headquarters of sorts, and from where they constantly escaped to neighboring islands. They tried just about everything, but in 2010 they announced nothing could be done to get rid of or even contain the coqui population. These days county, state and private groups are doing everything in their power to prevent the invasive frogs from taking over Oahu, Hawaii’s most populated island. Every time there’s a report of coqui chirping anywhere on the island, intervention teams are deployed to localize and neutralize the threat. Most times the frogs are whacked on the spot, but one man has come up with a non-violent way of dealing with the frogs – he just talks to them.

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Thai Family Uses Crocodiles as Watchdogs to Fend Off Burglars

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Who needs watchdogs and alarm systems when you have two full grown crocodiles protecting your house? Awirut Nathip says no burglars have dared come anywhere near his home in the 15 years since his two crocodile pets have been keeping guard.

Burglaries are reported regularly in the city of Phitsanulok, where Awirut Nathip and his family live, but thanks to a perfect security system, they haven’t had any problems for a good fifteen years. Just like everybody else, they used to worry about their safety, until they bought their t pet crocodiles, Thong and Ngen. After that, no one dared set foot on the property uninvited. And for good reason, as Awirut’s unusual guard dogs are very aggressive, especially during the hot summer days. In order to keep them under control and make sure they don’t become frustrated by the unbearable heat, he sprays them with cold water at least 10 times a day, and even lets them cool off in his air-conditioned office from time to time. Even so, Ngen is kept in a ditch next to the house, because he is so aggressive, while Thong does his rounds in the yard. ”If we’re upstairs he’ll come and lie in front of the door. We’re not worried at all. No one would dare to get in,” Mr Nathip says.

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Private Zoo Owner Plans to Spend a Year Living with Lions

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Alexander Pylyshenko, the owner of a private zoo in the Zaporozhye region of Ukraine, has announced he plans to spend a year caged with two full-grown lions, in order to raise funds for a  proper care center for big cats.

If this story sounds familiar to you, it’s probably because this wouldn’t be Alexander Pylyshenko first such attempt. Back in 2011 he set a new Ukrainian record, after he spent 35 days caged with two lions, during which time he even helped the female deliver her cubs. From the moment he set foot into the cage, the feline lover started living as if he was a lion himself. That meant sharing the raw meat the lions were fed with and sleeping on hay beds. He even built a toilet and shower inside the enclosure so he wouldn’t be forced to leave the cage at any moment. This time however, he plans on living with male Samson and lioness Katya for a full year, so he needs to plan accordingly. Alexander, who has studied lions his whole life, decided to spend time with his two fanged pets both inside their metal cage and in his nearby country house, where he’ll be able to cook. The Ukrainian beast-master says that although his lions consume between 5 and 10 pounds of meat per day, depending on the season, Katya has developed a taste for his cooking and enjoys mushroom soup and tomatoes with mayonnaise.

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Share Breakfast with the Long Necks at Giraffe Manor

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How do you talk to a Giraffe face-to-face? By peeking out of the top-floor window of a very high house, of course. That’s exactly what the owners of Giraffe Manor, in Kenya, do. And you could too, if you went to spend a few nights in one of the 6 rooms of the old manor turned hotel.

The residents of this unique tourist attraction are the Carr-Hartley family, along with eight Rothschild giraffes, one of the rarest subspecies on the planet. The English-style manor was built in the colonial era and is part of a 140-acre estate in the shadow of Kenya’s Mount Kilimanjaro. Tanya and Mikey Carr-Hartley, both 41, grew up close to the house in Nairobi when they were children and always dreamed of owning it someday. So once they started a family of their own and the house came up for sale, they jumped at the opportunity. Since Michael’s family has been involved in the protection of animals for several generations, they do not mind taking care of the endangered giraffes. In fact, they love it.

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Bizarre Dog-Spinning Ritual Believed to Ward off Rabies

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When we were kids, we played this game where we would twist a pencil innumerable times into a loop of thread and then let it go, watching with fascination as it spun around at top speed. It was a fun game, but I never imagined that somewhere in the world, the same thing was being done to living creatures.

Brodilovo is a small, remote village in the South-Eastern part of Bulgaria. Here, villagers are so afraid of rabies that they have a centuries-old tradition to ward off the disease. The bizarre ritual involves the spinning of dogs, just like the pencil game, on a rope, hanging over a small stream. It is practiced once a year and is believed to help keep rabies at bay. The process that the dog is put through is quite enough to give animal rights activists nightmares. Dogs are twisted in a rope that is stretched out tautly over, and are then let go. The dogs spin out of control and then tumble into the water below. Since they reach very high speeds, they are often unable to swim when they hit the water. A net is held at the bottom for the animal to fall into, and then helped out of the water.

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The Incredible Story of Tippi Degre, a Real Life Mowgli

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Mowgli has always been one of the most-loved characters from children’s literature. I loved the Jungle Book cartoon movie when I was a kid and I must say it is a favorite even today. So when I heard about this real-life Mowgli character, I was fascinated.

Folklore and fairy-tales always mention that wild animals do not hurt the young ones of any species. But that theory hasn’t exactly been tested out in the real world, and there have been cases where babies were reportedly killed by man-eating lions or tigers. But that’s what makes Tippi Degre’s story that more special. Now 23 years old, Tippi is the only child of French wildlife photographer parents, Alain Degre and Sylvie Robert. Her parents’profession and their work in Africa made the young girl’s childhood unique, giving her the opportunity to interact with wild animals in incredible ways. She was named after actress Tippi Hedren, who is said to have kept fully-grown lions as pets in her home, and little Tippi was no different from her namesake, demonstrating early on the ability to form unusual bonds with the creatures of the wild.

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Amazing Fantasy Creatures Brought to Life by Talented Artist

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It doesn’t happen every day, but I sometime get the chance to write about something truly special. This is definitely one of those rare occasions. Ever wondered what the creatures of your imagination would look like in real life? I’m sure you have, but just like me, you probably lack the talent and patience to actually take them out of your dreams and into reality. Luckily, artist Wood Splitter Lee is both incredibly talented and patient-enough to do it. Plus, her imagination is so much better than mine…

Do you know what a Tundra Stag looks like? How about a Moondust Wolf? Relax, you’re knowledge of zoology is probably not that bad. The only way you could have know about these fantastic creatures is if you lived inside Wood Splitter Lee’s head. The young Virginia-based artist breathes life into the figments of her imagination by sculpting them in clay and covering them with vividly-colored fur. Horned wolves, fire foxes, ice dragons, forest guardians, they’re all real in Lee’s astonishing art collection and she makes them all look so incredibly life-like you’re tempted to think these stills from an awesome fantasy film you somehow missed, and not just really good photos of hand-made sculptures. As a huge fan of mystical creatures, I am in awe!

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Portland Dog Kissing Contest Will Leave a Bad Taste in Your Mouth

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They say a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s but is that any reason to actually kiss your canine, even if it’s on Valentine’s Day? The answer is “YES”, at least according to participants at a dog kissing contest in Portland, Maine.

The 9th Annual Valentine’s Day Dog Kissing Contest took place yesterday, at the Planet Dog Company Store in Portland, and yes, there was a lot of face licking going on. The rules of the adorable/disgusting competition are pretty simple. Owners let their canine pets lick their faces – yes, that includes their lips – and the longest cross-species kiss is declared the winner. The big prize for first place? A $75 gift certificate to the Planet Dog store. So it’s safe to say people who enter the dog kissing contest don’t do it for the money, considering everyone actually has to pay a $5 entrance fee. It’s probably just a great opportunity to show off their dog’s affection or maybe it’s to be part of a charity event (all the proceeds go to the Planet Dog Foundation). If you’re easily grossed out about mouth-to-snout smooching, I recommend you don’t watch the video at the bottom.

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Chinese Grandma Spends All Her Life Savings Taking Care of Stray Dogs and Cats

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Grandma Bai, a 64-year-old animal lover from Chongqing, China, has spent the last 15 years taking care of stray dogs and cats, and has exhausted all her life savings in the process.

American humorists Josh Billings once said “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself”, and we’ve featured a few heartbreaking stories that prove this to be right. Remember Capitan, the German Shepherd who refused to leave his owner’s grave six years after he died, or Ciccio, the faithful dog who attends the daily Mass at the church where his master used to go? I’ve written a lot of impressive stories about dogs’ loyalty and love even beyond the grave, so it’s always nice to see some humans showing them some kindness in return. Case in point, Grandma Bai, a native of Leshan, China, who has spent all her savings and the last 15 years of her life taking care of over 100 stray dogs and 30 cats. Her love for these abandoned creatures and the sacrifices she has had to make have melted the hearts of millions, since the story broke out in China.

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