35-pound cat joins adopted family for adorable wedding photos

Published: Saturday, July 22, 2017 @ 8:52 AM

Symba the cat seen here with Humane Rescue Alliance staff.
Humane Rescue Alliance
Symba the cat seen here with Humane Rescue Alliance staff.(Humane Rescue Alliance)

The cat formerly known as Symba has had a busy time since he went viral in June for his eye-popping girth. 

The 35-pound orange tabby has since been adopted by a couple who got married on July 8.

Like many wedding guests, the cat, now named Vito, wanted to look his best. His new owners have placed him on a strict diet and a regular exercise regimen.

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The newlyweds posed with Vito in a series of photographs taken by Kristi Odom. Vito still has a ways to go to reach a healthy weight, but he looks like he's happy and content in his new home. 

Study says people would rather hang out with their dogs than friends

Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 4:00 PM

What Your Dog Is Really Trying To Tell You With Those Heart-Melting Eyes

A new study says that most dog owners would rather spend time with their pup than their friends.

Fox News reported that a study of 2,000 dog owners conducted by smart dog collar company Link AKC says more than half prefer their pet over pals. Owners said they sometimes skip out on social events to be with their dog.

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Eighty-one percent of those surveyed said they spoke to their dog like they would a friend. Single dog owners were twice as likely to talk to their pet about relationship problems. Eighty percent of owners said it’s a deal breaker if their partner didn’t like their dog.

The study found that six in 10 pet owners said their dog takes care of them in some way, with many saying their pet helped them get through a breakup or death of a loved one. 

One study says many dog owners will sometimes skip on social outings with friends to be with their pet.(Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for PetHero)

Sixty-two percent of the pet owners surveyed said their dogs helped get them out the house at least twice a day for a walk and more than two-thirds said their dog helps them exercise more regularly.

“The physical benefits of dog ownership are often the first that come to mind, but we’ve found the emotional and mental health benefits of having a furry companion are just as impactful,” Link AKC chief marketing officer Herbie Calves told Fox News. “People consider their dogs members of their family and are looking for ways to connect and interact with them on a deeper level.”

The survey supports Calves’ claim. Fifty-five percent say unconditional love and constant companionship is among the biggest benefit of dog ownership.

“Dog ownership is a great responsibility but also comes with great physical, emotional and mental benefits,” Calves said.

Kitten born with two faces dies

Published: Tuesday, December 26, 2017 @ 2:06 PM
Updated: Saturday, January 06, 2018 @ 9:00 AM

File image of kittens.
Pixabay
File image of kittens.(Pixabay)

A kitten born with two faces has died.

Bettie Bee was born Dec. 12 in South Africa with a rare congenital condition called craniofacial duplication, The Dodo reported. The kitten was born with two noses, two mouths and three eyes. While Bettie Bee received special care and was initially thriving, she died 16 days after birth after developing pneumonia.

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While most cats born with two faces die shortly after birth like Bettie Bee, a few have beaten the odds over the years. Frank and Louie lived to be 15, making it the the longest surviving janus cat according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

Couple finds dog six miles away after being missing for over a year

Published: Tuesday, May 16, 2017 @ 4:08 PM

An Atlanta dog, George, was reunited with his owners after being missing for nearly one and a half years.  (Photo by Julianne Green)
Julianne Green
An Atlanta dog, George, was reunited with his owners after being missing for nearly one and a half years. (Photo by Julianne Green)(Julianne Green)

George, a black shepherd-lab mix with a white chest and brindle paws, slipped his leash and took off during a walk with a dog sitter on Christmas 2015 in Atlanta.

Owners Julianne Green and Matt Furniss were informed of the news while visiting New York for the holidays. Devastated, they cut their trip short so they could begin searching. 

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Nearly 17 months later, they can finally stop. 

A microchip company called the couple last week to tell them George had been picked up in Atlanta’s Oakland City neighborhood — about six miles from their Reynoldstown neighborhood — and was scanned in at Fulton County Animal Services. 

They raced to the shelter. Green was expecting George to be sick, injured or aggressive. But then they saw him.

“He came right up to us and was so lovey and happy,” she said Tuesday. “And it was like he wasn’t gone for one and a half years.”

Related: Atlanta: Drink this new beer to help save the whale shark

Green and Furniss were thrilled, but so were hundreds of others. 

George had gained a following since the couple posted about his disappearance on Nextdoor in December 2015. Many missing-animal posts are on the online forum, but George was a special case. Neighbors helped put up flyers, checked in and posted any time there was a suspected sighting. 

Eventually, the sightings slowed. A naysayer on Nextdoor said the dog couldn’t have survived the winter and advised people to stop posting about him. The couple donated George’s belongings, but remained hopeful. 

Green thinks people became invested in George’s story because he went missing on Christmas and because he kept darting between neighborhoods. Despite the occasional sightings, the then-2-year-old dog was skittish and didn’t recognize his name being called. 

The couple — who adopted George from the Humane Society in Atlanta after a bad flood hit South Carolina — had only owned him for two months.

When Green shared the news that George had been found to Nextdoor, the post got more than 230 “thanks” and more than 100 comments in less than a week.

Related: This rare chick born at Zoo Atlanta looks scary now, but just you wait

Since his return, the couple has since found out their dog is heartworm positive, and have started a GoFundMe to raise money for George’s treatment. Over $1,000 has been raised toward its $3,000 goal.

“He has become a local celebrity,” the fundraising page says. “Chances are when we meet a new neighbor, they have already heard a piece of his journey.” 

The couple said they’re “eternally grateful” for the neighborhood’s support.

Any extra funds from the campaign will be donated to Fulton County Animal Services in George’s name.

Colorado officials rescue more than 80 tame rats left out in cold

Published: Tuesday, December 26, 2017 @ 11:08 AM

File image of pet rat.
Pixabay
File image of pet rat.(Pixabay)

Colorado animal control officers received an unusual call from a concerned citizen Thursday: Dozens of tame, friendly rats were on the loose.

The Larimer Humane Society told the Reporter-Herald it received a second call about roaming domesticated rats Friday. That's when the Humane Society's animal protection and control team headed to Fort Collins to search for the rats in two designated nature areas.

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Part of the search-and-rescue effort was streamed live on Facebook. An official used peanut butter cookies his children made to lure the rats out, where they were captured in nets, according to the Larimer Humane Society. The rescue mission took approximately an hour, the Reporter-Herald noted.

With temperatures dipping into the single digits, rescuing the rats was a priority. Officials say the rodents appeared to be in good shape, other than being cold and hungry.

In all, more than 80 rats were rescued, officials say. It is believed the rats were owned and abandoned by the same person. The owner could face animal cruelty charges, a humane society spokesperson said. 

The rats will eventually be available for adoption, officials said.