Volkosob – The Wolf-Dog Hybrids Bred to Defend Russia’s Borders

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Protecting the borders of the largest country in the world is no easy task, but luckily Russian troops can rely on the help of Volkosobs – highly-trained wolf-dog hybrids created specifically for this purpose. Volkosobs inherit the size and strength of wolves, but retain an obedient and friendly attitude toward humans that they do not perceive as threats.

Getting the best of both species seems like a worthy pursuit, but getting the desired result took years of research and failed attempts. Over 200 wolf-hybrids bred at the University of Cologne, in Germany, were deemed failures as they all exhibited the typical wolf characteristics of extreme fearful-caution around humans. But scientists and animal experts at Russia’s Prem Institute of Internal Troops finally made a breakthrough in the year 2000. They key to their success was Naida, an usually sociable Caspian Sea Wolf who got along great with humans. Interestingly, during the breeding stage, Naida actually chose a dog as her mate, despite originally being presented with the option of a male wolf.

In 10 years, Naida birthed 40 ‘volkosobs’ (Russian for ‘wolf-dogs’) that shared both her wolf instincts and the father’s friendliness and obedience to humans and they have since then been used to propagate the species. A highly-trained volkosobs is valued $2,000 and $3,000, but in order to benefit from the use of these amazing creatures exclusively, the Russian Military does not sell wolf-dogs. Instead, it only leases them to domestic security organizations, under very strict conditions.

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Dog Owner Dyes Dogs to Look Like Pandas, Sparks Controversy

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A dog owner from Singapore has stirred up controversy by dyeing her three pure-bred Chow Chows to resemble pandas. The white fur dogs now have dyed black patches around their eyes, on their ears, and all over their bodies, making them look more like mini pandas than canines.

and her dogs began to gain popularity after many Singaporean residents spotted them around town and posted photographs of them online. About a month ago Jiang decided to make the most of the publicity and started a service called Panda Chow Chows that allows people to rent out her dogs for photo shoots. A Facebook post made by her husband reads: “Meet the cutest and most adorable dogs in Singapore. The Panda Chow Chows! Toudou (Potato), Yumi (Sweetcorn) and DouDou (Bean). Very proud of my wife Meng Jiang launching her new venture.”

The couple revealed that they brought the three dogs with them from London, when they moved to Singapore in October last year. They started by dyeing only one of the dogs, Yumi, because they thought the puppies were looking more and more like pandas as they grew older. “Yumi loved it and TouDou and DouDou were really jealous of her, so we tried it with them and they all had a new level of energy after it was done,” Jiang told Channel News Asia.

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Kindhearted Woman Converts Home into Retirement Home for Old Unwanted Dogs

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House With a Heart is an animal sanctuary in Gaithersburg, Maryland, that’s exclusively dedicated to the care of elderly dogs and cats. Founded in 2006 by Sher Polvinale, the shelter regularly rescues senior animals abandoned by their owners, and cares for them until the very end.

Sher and her husband had been working with rescued cats and dogs for nearly 20 years before they had the idea for House With a Heart Senior Pet Sanctuary. Over the years, they had received several calls from people who could no longer care for their aging pets. These animals almost never got adopted again, so they eventually decided to convert their home into a haven dedicated to their care.

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This Unique Record Label Specializes in Music for Dogs

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Since 1999, The Laurel Canyon Animal Company has been producing music exclusively for animals – particularly dogs. The Los Angeles company regularly collaborates with animal communication experts and even psychics to get dogs directly involved in the music making process and the tunes they release are all chosen by the animals.

“We’ll take whatever the dog says and turn it into a song,” said co-founder Skip Haynes. “We’re probably the only people in the world to involve animals in the creative musical process. We’re trying to create a bridge between animals and human beings using music, because that’s what we do.”

“Each CD we produce is devoted to a particular kind of animal or species. Each track is devoted to a unique concern, situation, or shared experience of the people who love those animals or the animals themselves. We utilize the writing, production, and conceptual talents of animal loving writers, producers, artists, communicators, musicians, poets – and of course, animals from all over the world.”

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California Couple Invents Spiked Vest That Protects Small Dogs from Coyotes

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After having one of their pet canines attacked and killed by a coyote, Paul and Pamela Mott, of Scripps Ranch, California, set out to create an anti-coyote vest that could save their dogs’ life in a future attack.

The CoyoteVest designed by the Mott’s may make their pooches look like members of a canine punk band, but Paul says it will give him time to intervene in case of an attack. It is made of Kevlar, has plastic spikes around the collar, spikes down the length of the torso and long plastic quills shooting up along the center from the neck to the rump. Since the threatening-looking spikes are just hard plastic, they won’t actually hurt the coyote, but they will make it difficult and painful for it to bite down on a small dog and run off, giving the owner time to react. “I just know that that coyote is not going to be able to kill my dog instantly. I’ll have a chance to go intervene,” the inventor says.

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Concerned Parents Turn to Sniffer Dog Teams to Search Children’s Rooms for Drugs

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Worried American parents are resorting to extreme ways of finding out if their kids are into drugs – they’re actually hiring private K9 services to sniff out any narcotics that their kids might be hiding in their rooms, bathrooms or cars. These sniffer dogs are specially trained to find hidden narcotics such as meth, barbiturates, marijuana, heroin, and cocaine. Some of the searches turn up empty, but in most cases the parents’ suspicions are confirmed.

Michael Davis, who runs The Last Chance (TLC) K9 Services in Louisville, Kentucky, says that 90 percent of the time his company’s dogs do find narcotics stashed away by teens. One of his German Shepherds recently found four grams of heroin tucked into a boy’s tube socks. Another teen had hidden marijuana inside his five-year-old brother’s cereal box, which was apparently a brilliant hiding spot because no one else in the family ate that brand.

In Floyd County, Indiana, a father freaked out when he spotted his 14-year-old daughter with new friends and picked up an unpleasant odor from her room. “I’m not a snooping parent,” he said, choosing only to reveal his first name, James, in order to protect his daughter’s identity. I want my daughter to be able to be able to trust me, but I gotta protect her.“ So James was pretty worried about his daughter’s activities when he came across a TLC billboard advertising their services to “worried parents”.

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Loyal Dog Spends Two Weeks on Doorstep of Owner Who Will Never Come Home Again

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A German Shepherd recently won the hearts millions with a stunning display of love and loyalty reminiscent of the legendary Hachiko. According to eye-witnesses in his Houston neighborhood, the dog spent weeks at the front gate of his apartment complex patiently waiting for his owner, not knowing he had been killed and would never return.

54-year-old Hatem Abuharbid was killed on February 7, when the convenience store where he worked was robbed. He was shot in the thigh by the two robbers, and the bullet pierced through an artery in his leg. He died later at the hospital due to heavy bleeding. Meanwhile, his German Shepherd back home kept waiting for Abuharbid to come back, as he did every evening.

“Of course he’s confused because he doesn’t know what’s going on,” said Cassandra Eubanks, a neighbor. “He hadn’t seen his owner in two weeks. You could just tell that he was a lost dog. He would follow the cars and when he would realise that it was not his owner’s car, he would just stand there and look helpless.”

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Can Dogs Fly Planes? New Reality Show Wants to Find Out

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You might think it ridiculous and even dangerous to put dogs behind the yoke of a plane and let them try to fly it, but that won’t stop some people from trying. Case in point, Dogs Might Fly, a new TV show from the UK that plans to train some dogs to fly a plane.

While the internet has plenty of videos of dogs driving cars, planes are an entirely different matter. The sheer number of things that could go wrong makes it sound like a foolhardy exercise, but it’s a risk the makers of the show are willing to take in a bid to demonstrate that dogs have “distinct personalities and incredible levels of intelligence.”

“People give up on them too easily and this series will show us why we shouldn’t,” presenter Jamie Theakston told The Telegraph. “They are just as deserving and just as intelligent. Even if a dog has been deprived of human contact or has been badly treated, it is just as able and motivated to initiate a new relationship with a human very quickly.”

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Poodle Learns to Walk on Hind Legs after Having Limb Amputated

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After losing a front leg in a terrible accident, a poodle from southwest China’s Sichuan province has learned to walk upright on her hind legs. Barbie the poodle is now a local celebrity in the city of Chengdu, and is slowly becoming a social media sensation as well.

According to her owner Chen Mianyang, Barbie was hit by a motorcycle in 2011. “There was blood everywhere and she was screaming like she was dying,” he recalled. Her front left leg needed to be amputated in order to save her life, in a surgery that cost Chen 5,000 yuan ($760).

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Abandoned Greyhound Acts as Guide and Protector for His Blind Sister

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A couple of animal shelter workers in the municipality of Navalcamero, near Madrid, Spain, recently came across the most heartwarming sight – a five-month old greyhound helping his blind sister cross the road. The two dogs were apparently moving very slowly through traffic, with the female resting her head on the male’s back. When the two women approached the dogs to help them out, they were visibly nervous, but the male greyhound stuck with his sister instead of running away to safety.

The women quickly realised that the female greyhound was visually impaired because she had thin white films over both eyes. They eventually took the canine pair to the shelter where they work and ran a few health tests, confirming that she was indeed blind. Further tests revealed that the female became blind as a result of a virus, and that her condition might be treatable. It seems that the two pups have been abandoned and have stuck with each other since then, with the male acting as his sister’s guide, never leaving her side and protecting her from danger. Caregivers at the ‘El Refugio’ dog shelter have named the female ‘Blinder’, and her brother ‘Pisper’.

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Greek Cafe Serves Coffee by Day, Shelters Stray Dogs by Night

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The kind owners of a cafe in Greece are making headlines for their extraordinary generosity towards dogs. ‘Hot Spot’, located in Mytilene, on the island of Lesbos, serves as a coffee place during the day and doubles up as a shelter for dogs at night!

Kindness towards animals is apparently quite common among the Greeks, but the generosity displayed by the management of Hot Spot is being hailed as unprecedented, even by local standards. They began their practice of letting strays spend the night indoors in July, when a waiter took pity on a dog that was stranded outside at around 3 am. Since then, they’ve been opening their doors to the dogs every single night.

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The Australian Canine Heroes Protecting a Colony of the World’s Smallest Penguins

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Middle Island, a picturesque outcrop located off the coast of southern Victoria in Australia, is home to a colony of the world’s smallest penguins. Originally known as fairy penguins, these adorable little birds are no taller than a foot and weigh only about 1kg. There used to be hundreds of them at one point, but their population dwindled as they were hunted by foxes. That is, until a chicken farmer came up with an ingenious solution to use dogs as bodyguards for the penguins.  

The problem was first noticed in the year 2000, when the sea’s natural current led to increased sand-build up, encouraging a growth in the fox population. The island is uninhabited by humans, and separated from the mainland by a 30-meter stretch of water. So at low tide, it’s easy for the foxes to cross from the mainland and reach the island, and hunt the adorable penguins.

Soon, the fairy penguin population started dwindling to the point where they were in danger of being completely wiped out “We went from a point where we had about 800 penguins down to where we could only find four,” said Peter Abbott from the Penguin Preservation Project. “In our biggest bird kill, we found 360 birds killed over about two nights. Foxes are thrill killers. They’ll kill anything they can find. The colony really was on its last legs and just one more fox attack would’ve finished it off.”

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Former Chinese Millionaire Left Penniless After Pouring All His Fortune into Rescuing Dogs

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At age 29, Wang Yan has earned and lost more money than most people would in a lifetime. He used to be a millionaire businessman with a successful steel factory in Changchun, in China’s Jilin province. But now he doesn’t have a penny to his name, having spent his entire fortune rescuing dogs from being butchered!

Yan was compelled to help dogs after he first witnessed their plight in 2012. He was searching for his own missing pet dog when he someone suggested he try searching at a butcher’s shop. His dog wasn’t there, but he hung around for a week and saw how the other dogs were being brutally killed. Deeply disturbed, he vowed to buy every single dog from the butcher, just so he could save them from a horrible death.

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Devoted Dog Walks 300 Kilometers to Return to Owner Who Saved Her

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There’s no limit to canines’ devotion to their human masters, and the story of this adopted stray in Russia who traveled a distance of over 300 kilometers to return to the owner who saved her from the jaws of death, mended her broken legs and surrounded her with love, is perfect proof.

26-year-old Nina Baranovska, from Rostov, Russia, says she’ll never forget the day she first laid eyes on her dog Shavi . She was brought to her on a cold January night by a couple of kindhearted animal lovers who had found her lying in landfill on the outskirts of Rostov notorious as a dump site for unwanted pets. Two of her legs were broken, she was almost frozen and all she could do was whine in pain. Her rescuers had noticed a collar trace around her neck, a sign that she had probably been hit by a car and her owners, unwilling to go through the trouble of mending her wounds, simply dumped her at the local landfill to die.

They gently picked up the wounded black mongrel, put her in their car where they gave her warm water and wrapped her in a blanket. They drove for hours seeking the help of veterinarians in Rostov, but no one was willing to treat her for free. Finally, they found a vet who offered to give them a discount. She had many bruises, lacerations and both her hind legs were broken. The doctor who operated on her inserted metal screws into her legs and said that she might one day walk again.

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Veterinarian Spends Over $100,000 Cloning His Beloved Pet Dog

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I’ve heard of people buying extra pairs of their favorite jeans, but a Louisiana veterinarian has actually gone and gotten himself two extra copies of his favorite dog! Phillip Dupont spent over $100,000 cloning his beloved pet dog Melvin because he simply couldn’t bear to part with him.

Phillip had Melvin cloned about two years ago, and he now has two identical dogs – Ken Gordon, named after his uncle, and Henry Fontenot, named after his friend – with the same traits and characteristics as Melvin. The pups were around for the last year of Melvin’s life, who was nearly 12 when Dupont had to put him down last year, due to his failing health.

Ken and Henry have now replaced Melvin as fixtures at Dupont’s clinic in Lafayette. “They’re maturing into the dog that Melvin was,” said Paula, Phillip’s wife. “I used to tell people that Melvin was the office greeter – my office manager. Ken’s kind of taken his place. Henry has stepped up and is also greeting people. Now they have two dogs meeting people – standing up and putting their paws on my desk.”

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