Overtoun Bridge – Scotland’s Mysterious Canine Suicide Spot

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There are some things in this world that are simply beyond explanation. Like the fact that in the past 50 years, about 50 dogs have jumped to their deaths from the exact same spot on the 100-year-old Overtoun Bridge in Milton, near Dumbarton, Scotland. In 2005, five dogs had jumped in a span of just 6 months. The canine suicide spot is located between the last two parapets on the right-hand side of the bridge, which is where all the dogs took the fatal leap. And to add to the strangeness, almost all the incidents have taken place on clear, sunny days, the dogs always being long-nosed breeds – collies, retrievers and labs.

The situation, according to the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, is a ‘heartbreaking mystery’. “There are lots of owners whose dogs have died and who are trying to find out why they jumped,” the Society says. One of the victims on the bridge was collie dog Ben, who leaped to his death in 1995 while taking a walk with his owner Donna Cooper, her husband, and her son, Callum. Without any warning, Ben just leapt over the parapet and landed on the rocks below after a 50ft fall. Suffering a broken paw, back and jaw, the vet decided that it wasn’t worth putting him through the pain. “Callum still asks about Ben. He was very upset by the dog’s death and wants to know if his leg has been fixed in heaven,” said Cooper, a year after Ben’s death. The case of golden retriever Hendrix was pretty much similar, although she got very lucky. Kenneth Meikle, her owner, said, “I was out walking with my partner and children when suddenly the dog just jumped. My daughter screamed, and I ran down the bank to where the dog lay and carried her up to safety. Next day, thank goodness, she was fine. We were lucky because she landed on a moss bed which broke her fall.”

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Israeli Artist Upcycles Bicycle Chains into Intricate Dog Sculptures

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Israel-based artist Nirit Levav has found a way to create beautiful art an recycle metal, at the same time. She uses discarded bicycle chains to create realistic sculptures of man’s best friend.

Nirit Levav Packer graduated from the Parsons School of Design, in New York City, with a degree in fashion design. She built a career for herself, specializing in bridal gowns, but after years of working in the fashion industry, Nirit realized she couldn’t satisfied her artistic urge to create solely as a designer. so she started broadening her education by studying iron sculpting, pottery, jewelry and ceramics. Although her newly acquired skills helped develop as an artist, it was at her father’s theater sets workshops that she most of her training, including welding, metal cutting and experimenting with various materials and substances. The time spent in her father’s workshop also inspired her love for recycling, as nothing was ever thrown away there and everything could be used to create something new.

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Going Out with a Bang – Firework Funerals for Pets

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Scattering a loved one’s ashes in water is apparently a thing of the past. At least, as far as pets in Sydney are concerned. Ashes to Ashes, a service run by trained circus performer and pyrotechnician Craig Hull, allows people to part with their pet’s ashes with a bang – sending them up in the air as fireworks, descending onto the waters of Sydney Harbor as their final resting place.

Hull first came up with the idea for Ashes to Ashes when his two beloved dogs died three years ago – Zeus, a German shepherd-akita cross and Gyprock, a white lab-cattle dog cross. They left a big hole in the performer’s life that he felt could be filled only with a big gesture of love. Having already scattered the ashes of a dear friend during an aerial routine at the opening ceremony of one of the Olympics (he won’t say which one), he wanted to give his dogs something even more spectacular. “I thought I’ll get a job as a pyrotechnician and I’ll send them up in fireworks. So I did,” says Hull. The event finally occurred on Sydney’s New Year’s Eve fireworks display in 2010. Hull says that he had a “vision of color and light” as his dogs’ ashes were fired into the skies that night, as opposed to the “sad memory of scattering them into the water.” “To be able to scatter someone’s ashes like that, scatter them over a huge area in the air was incredible. To be able to look up to the heavens when you send your loved ones off is a pretty amazing feeling. And I thought this is so amazing, other people should be able to experience this as well,” says Hull.

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Horses Inside Out – Horse Anatomy Painted on Live Horses

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English champion rider Gillian Higgins has devised a novel way to teach horse anatomy to veterinary students, riders and caretakers – she takes up to four hours to paint the animal’s skeletal and muscular systems on live horses, using water-based hypoallergenic paints.

Horse anatomy is pretty tricky, considering students have to understand how the 205 bones and 700 muscles in its body make this beautiful animal work like a well-oiled machine. But instead of boring them with sketches and complicated diagrams, Gillian Higgins uses her artistic skills to paint the anatomical systems on actual horses. “Painting the skeleton and musculature on the side of the horse really helps to bring the subject to life, she told the Daily Mail. “You can discover how to get the best out of your horse by seeing exactly what happens as it moves.” The English horse-ring champion and sports remedial therapist got the idea for “Horses Inside Out” back in 2006 after completing a degree in equine business management. She understood why many riders and trainers were struggling to learn all those bones and muscles with incredibly long names, and started thinking about a way to better make them understand how the horse works.

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Broken-Hearted Dog Stands Guard over Dead Mate’s Body for over a Week

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Even in the animal kingdom, the loss of a loved-one isn’t easy, and this grieving dog, on the outskirts of Filippovka, a village in Russia’s Perm region, is proof of that.

His mate had been by a car while trying to cross the road, over seven days ago, but he’s still standing guard over her body, hoping she will wake up. Eye-witnesses say the dog dragged his mate from the road right after she was hit and hasn’t left her side since. He kept trying to move her with his paws and keep her warm with his own body, and the story of his loyalty spread among the locals in just a few days. Children and even adults who passed by and heard his heartbreaking whines and howls, and saw him standing guard over her body often broke into tears. “It’s very sad. He won’t let anyone near her and he keeps trying to warm her up with his own body”, a local said.

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Share a Table with Your Pooch at Deco’s Dog Café

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Animal cafes, places where you can enjoy a nice drink surrounded by animals, have become really popular in Asia, but Deco’s Dog Cafe takes things to a whole new level by allowing pet owners to share a gourmet meal with their pooches.

Even if they don’t have the time or space to take care of a pet, people seem to enjoy spending time around animals, so cat cafes, dog cafes, and even reptile cafes have become popular venues in Asia. But when Hideko Notani opened Deco’s Dog Cafe, in 2001, she wanted to create more than just a place where people could relax surrounded by pooches. She envisioned a cafe where dogs would be in charge instead of their owners, where they would be treated to gourmet meals very similar to those eaten by their human masters. The special menu includes human and canine versions of fine dishes like cabbage rolls, sweet potato scones and chicken pie, but  no one’s stopping owners from sharing the food with their dogs.

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Faithful Dog Refuses to Leave Graveside of Owner Who Died Six Years Ago

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Capitán, a dog who has remained by his deceased owner’s graveside for the last six years, proves an animal’s love and loyalty transcend the boundaries of life and death. Although he still has a family to go back to, the canine simply refuses to leave his master’s side.

Dogs’ devotion to their human owners never ceases to amaze me. In early 2011, when Brazil was devastated by floods and landslides, we posted the story of Leao, who made international headlines when photos of him lying next to his deceased master’s grave went viral. Later that year there was the story of a Chinese dog who wouldn’t leave his owner’s graveside even when other villagers tried to feed him, and today I came across another heartbreaking tale of canine loyalty. Capitán, a German shepherd from the Argentinian town of Villa Carlos Paz Cordoba, has chosen to remain close to his master, even though he died over six years ago. The man’s wife told La Voz that Capitán disappeared from their home soon after her husband died, and after searching for him, she and her son believed he was either killed by a car or adopted by another family. But when they went to visit her husband at the cemetery, there was Capitán. They couldn’t explain how he had managed to locate the right grave, but there he was, by his master’s graveside.

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TreT – The Amazing Parkour Dog from Ukraine

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Parkour is cool when performed by humans, but when it’s a dog that doing the stunts, it’s simply amazing.  TreT, a 5-year-old Staffordshire bull terrier from the Ukraine jumps over railings, climbs walls and sprints, proving he’s a Pakour master on four legs.

TreT is one of only two known Parkour dogs around the world. His owner, Evgeny Elchaninov, says he knew nothing about the other dog from Hawaii when they started training, and that TreT’s moves are much more spectacular, anyway. The young man from western Ukraine used to practice Parkour himself, until a bad knee injury ruined his career, Suddenly he had to give up his biggest passion in life, but his unfulfilled dreams reincarnated in his six-months old dog, who loved to run and jump. He began training TreT in the art of Parkour, both in urban landscapes and at historic landmarks, and posted videos of his amazing stunts online. Now the pooch is a true Internet celebrity.

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School Children Dress Up Dead Animals in Bizarre Competition

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Fund-raising school competitions usually involve cake baking and sporting events, but at one particular school in New Zealand it’s all about dressing dead possums in funny outfits for a bizarre best dressed furry animal contest.

Looking at the photos taken at the Uruti School, on New Zealand’s North Island, you’d think this was a taxidermy competition, but in reality, the furry corpses were part of a weird display of dead possums, for a charity event. Basically, small children let their imagination run wild and tried to dress the furry critters as best they could. One was actually skinned to look like a posing boxer, while others sported bikini costumes and princess dresses. As you can imagine, the event enraged animal welfare groups who accused the school of encouraging cruelty to animals, but the teachers defended it saying it was “lots of fun”and that it helped raise $6,000 for the school.”There was an amazing crowd and it was lots of fun. Animals aren’t the only species who are dressed up after they die. We do it to humans too,” Principal Pauline Sutton told the Taranaki Daily News.

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Welcome to the World’s Most Controversial Pet Shop

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NOAH: The Inner City Zoo is a Japanese pet shop condemned by animal activists for caging and selling penguins, meerkats, alligators, monkeys and other exotic animals.

Located in a cramped room, on the second floor of an office building in Yokohama, NOAH: The Inner City Zoo is hardly the kind of place you’d think of keeping exotic animals. But ever since 1999, NOAH (Nature Orientated Animal House) has been the go-to source for all kinds of unusual pets, from alligators to otters and cranes. Many of them are endangered in their natural habitats, but that doesn’t seem to raise any red flags with Japanese animal protection authorities, and neither does the fact they are all being kept in tiny cages, with barely enough space to move around. The controversial pet shop’s clientele also seems to ignore the improper conditions, and spends thousands of dollars on unique pets.

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Tiger Tug – Playing Tug of War with a Full-Grown Tiger

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Visitors at the Busch Gardens Zoo, in Tampa Bay, Florida, are given the chance to test their strength against a mighty tiger, in a game of tug of war.

Zoos these days just aren’t what they used to be. Just last week, we had an article on Lujan Zoo, where guests are allowed to get in cages with all kinds of wild animals and pet them, and this week we have another one where people can play tug of war with tigers. Although the chances of beating a 450-pound Bengal tiger at tug of war are slim to none, there’s no shortage of human volunteers willing to test their muscles against the magnificent feline. The interactive zoo exhibit is called “Tiger Tug” and requires confident participants to grab on a thick rope, while the tiger facing them on the other side of two metal fences bites the other end. I’m not if the Bengal felines ever lost a game, but the humans seem to love it anyway.

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Welcome to the World’s Craziest, Most Controversial Zoo

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At the Lujan Zoo, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, visitors can do much more than admire wild animals from a distance. They can ride on the backs of wild lions, feed tigers or hand-feed cheetahs.

You couldn’t pay me enough to get up close and personal with a full-grown lion, but apparently there are people out there who can’t wait to get into a cage with it, and at the Lujan Zoo they get to do just that. Daredevils can feed grapes to the grizzly bears or even allow them to use their tongues to pick up the fruits from between their lips, pet elephants, ride on the back of tigers and whatever else you can think of that involves interacting with wild animals. I know what you’re thinking, all this is an accident waiting to happen, but you’ll be surprised to learn that ever since the zoo opened in 1994, there hasn’t been a single accident. In fact, zoo keepers are so confident nothing is going to go wrong that they don’t require visitors to sign any waivers before entering the animals’ cages, and they even allow small children.

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The Dog Cafe – South Korea’s Answer to Japan’s Popular Cat Cafes

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There’s a place in South Korea where you can relax by bonding with about twenty dogs of different breeds and sizes, all vying for human attention. It’s called the Dog Cafe and it’s awesome!

If you haven’t yet heard about Japan’s famous cat cafes, they’re venues where stressed businessmen go to relax by surrounding themselves with dozens of purring felines. Cats are very popular in the Land of the Rising Sun, but the concept has been adopted by other Asian countries and recently, even Austria. But animal lovers in the South Korean city of Busan decided to take a different approach and opened a dog cafe, where visitors can surround themselves with furry canines who love human attention. According to Jürgen and Mike, from for91Days.com, Busan is a busy place, with tiny apartments where owning a dog can be considered a luxury, so a place like the Dog Cafe was just what the city needed.

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Dutch Artist Turns Dead Cat into Remote-Controlled Helicopter

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Like many other animal lovers, Dutch artist Bart Jansen found it hard to part with his pet cat, Orville, after he was hit by a car. So he decided to turn the dead feline into a unique piece of artwork called the Orvillecopter.

Jansen named his beloved pet after the famous aviator Orville Wright, so I guess it makes perfect sense that he decided to turn the cat into a remote-controlled helicopter. After having the Orville stuffed by a taxidermist, the artist teamed up with radio-controlled helicopter expert Arjen Beltman to make the cat fly for the first time. Beltman designed a custom mechanism and attached it to the stuffed cat to create a truly bizarre flying machine called the Orvillecopter. Bart Jansen unveiled his unique creation on Saturday, at  the Kunstrai art festival in Amsterdam, and described it as half cat, half machine.

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Welcome to PigVille, China’s First Village for Pigs

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In an attempt to make their pigs more comfortable, the people of Zhangpu Village, in China, have built a residential complex for them, made up of 600 small concrete houses.

Most pigs spend all their lives locked up in pens, just waiting to be slaughtered, but the lucky swine of Zhangpu are living the good life in their very own village. At first, the idea of moving the animals from their industrial complex didn’t appeal to the locals, primarily because of the $1,230 price tag of each needed villa, but critics were put to rest once everyone noticed how happy the pigs were and how fast they started growing. The pig’s happiness was actually the main goal of PigVille (not its official name), as it is believed relaxed animals have a more delicious meat.

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