Unskippable GEICO Ad

(YouTube link)

Not that I really want to run a free advertisement, but every once in a while the entertainment value is well worth it. This is just a GEICO ad -at least the first 12 seconds. But it appears that they felt the need to fill up a minute of time anyway, so after the ad is when the fun begins! Because that’s when the dog takes the stage -or the dining room, in this case. Therefore, you can consider this a cute dog video. -via Daily Picks and Flicks

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The Quokka is the Latest Selfie Quirk

Image: instagram.com

This will no doubt shock anyone reading this, but there's a new and goofy trend that's cropped up on the internet. More surprisingly, said trend involves selfies. But the other factor thrown into the equation is a marsupial native to Australia called the quokka. These little guys have enough expression, personality and chub to win over even the coldest of hearts. 

The quokka is a social animal and isn't afraid to be in close proximity with humans. On the contrary, judging from these shots, quokkas appear to like the company. Unfortunately, quokkas are listed as "vulnerable" on the IUCN Red List, and it is against the law to touch them. But it's legally on the level to make them smile by posing with them for glamour shots. Perhaps some good will come out of the quokka selfie, in that awareness is raised with respect to their status as an endangered species. 

See more adorable quokka selfies here. Who knew a wild animal could be capable of so many different, humanlike facial expressions?  

Image: iconosquare.com
Image: iconosquare.com

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Blind Dog Who Disappeared in -40°F Weather Reunited with Owner

(Photo: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner)

Madera, an 11-year old Labrador Retriever, is completely blind. She lives in Fairbanks, Alaska with Ed Davis, her owner. On February 6, Davis let her outside briefly to relieve herself. Madera usually does her business then comes right back in. But this time, Madera started wandering. She vanished into the snowy darkness.

On February 19, Constantine Khrulev, another local resident, was out biking with his own dog. They heard another dog whining and investigated. It was Madera! The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner describes the rescue:

Khrulev went into the woods and found her under a tree, more than 100 yards from the trail and about half a mile from Davis’ house.

“She was not going to be found accidentally,” Davis said.

Khrulev took Madera to one of Davis’ neighbors. The dog had lost about 14 pounds but was otherwise in good health, Davis said. Her rescuer asked for the $100 reward money to go the the Fairbanks Animal Shelter Fund, a gesture that so impressed Davis that he decided to increase the donation to $250.

-via AP

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The Latest Model Phone Stand

YouTube Link

Having a stand for a phone or iPad is handy in certain situations. Selecting a good one, however, can be a challenge due to the sheer number of them on the market. This model is an interesting addition to the available stand options. While sometimes expensive, it can also be free to a good home. It's attractive, comes in different colors and is not likely to be a water-immersion risk. You may want to add a scratch protector to the screen, though. Bubble wrap might be a good add-on, too, should the stand climb up to a phone-stand stand and push the phone off the highest step. -Via Tastefully Offensive

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Hanging With JoeJoe the Capybara

When we last checked in with JoeJoe the Capybara, he was wolfing down popsicles and cavorting with puppies. Naturally. When you've got the capycharisma that JoeJoe has, the sky's the limit in terms of daily activities.

For instance, why not hop in a cart and browse through Pet Smart? Pups and kitties are a dime a dozen there. JoeJoe is an official Pet Smart Star!

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There's nothing like taking time out to have a long, feline-chaperoned nap. Then waking up with a major case of capybedhead.

YouTube Link

..and when JoeJoe needs a back scratch, there's nothing like a puppy to assist.

YouTube Link

As good looking as JoeJoe is, it's no wonder that he gets all the chicks!

YouTube Link

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Lions Watch Dora the Explorer

Derek Blakely workes for the Center for Animal Research and Education (CARE) near Dallas, Texas. Among other projects, they take care of large cats, including lions, tigers, and cougars.

The lion cubs Zuberi and Araali live there. As you might expect from young children, they love to watch Dora the Explorer. Blakely recorded them mesmerized by it.

Swiper, you might want to leave Dora alone for this episode. She has some powerful friends.

-via Tastefully Offensive

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Dogs And Babies So Cute You'll Want To Eat Them All Up!

Animals and children possess the power of inherent cuteness, a built in ador-ability that can soften the hardest hearts and elicit an "awww!" from those who aren't normally so free with their feelings.

With all that natural cuteness built into their tiny forms it would be crazy to give them more power over us, but that's what perfectly sane folks do every day when they dress their pets and babies up in food costumes!

Wrap a baby up in a burrito bunting and you've got a squee fiesta in the making

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Likewise, if you dress dogs up like fast food that happy meal pack of hounds will spread smiles wherever they go!

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It seems the power of the food costume works in conjunction with the cuteness level of the critter inside the costume to make them Taco Tuesday level irresistible

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Heck, even a dog with a crazy look on its face looks crazy cute when they're in a taco costume

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Dog and Tortoise Are Best Friends Forever

(Photo: Cynthia Jones)

Dolly is a Pit Bull. Sheldon is a Sulcata Tortoise. Cynthia Jones and her husband Ray adopted both of them into their growing family, which includes 2 miniature donkeys, a miniature horse, and another dog.

(Video Link)

Dolly and Sheldon are great friends. They love to play chase. Dolly sometimes offers her ball to Sheldon, hoping that he will play with it. But, so far, Sheldon has expressed no interest. Come on, Sheldon, just kick it around a bit.

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Your Chance to Drink with Owls

Japan has been a leader in animal cafes, including one where you can get up close and personal with owls. London has decided to up the ante with an owl tavern, although it will be temporary.

Annie the Owl and friends will be taking over a Soho bar from March 19 to 25, 8:30 p.m. until 2:00 a.m. Customers can enjoy two hours and two cocktails nestled amongst the nocturnal birds. There's just one catch—you have to be very lucky to get a spot. Right now, the tickets are being sold for £20, but you have to enter a lottery to earn some face-time with the owls. Winning the raffle only gives you one ticket, so you'll have to fly solo if your friends don't win as well.

Right now, owl cafes are all the rage in Japan, but (perhaps predictably) London kicked it up a notch by adding booze to the equation. On top of feathery friends and drinks, the bar also offers music, comedy, and an "electric atmosphere." The drinks will be mixed by some of London's top mixologists, and the birds will all be accompanied by professional falconers, so you know you'll be in good hands.

The birds will be well-chaperoned, and only people are allowed alcohol. Proceeds from the owl bar will go to The Barn Owl Centre, an organization dedicated to protecting owls. Get all the particulars for the upcoming owl cafe at mental_floss.

(Image credit: Richard Fisher)

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Kitten vs. Chicken

(YouTube link)

A kitten named Dash turns his attention to play-attacking and play-fighting a Frizzle chicken named Mora. The hen isn’t taking this sitting down, and even tries a couple of times to put that tiny predator in its place. Dash doesn’t take the hint. Once upon a time, you had to actually have pets to enjoy this kind of thing, but now we can just share the best moments. -via Daily Picks and Flicks   

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Photographer Reveals The Truth About Men Who Own Cats

There’s a certain stigma attached to cat ownership, and for some reason our feline friends have become categorized as a pet primarily kept by females, even though history shows us that’s simply not true.

Cats have been admired and domesticated by all kinds of people for thousands of years, and yet the stigma persists that if a man owns only cats there must be something off about him.

Own too many cats as a woman and you’re a crazy cat lady, own cats as a man and you’re effeminate and weird, your manhood taking a hit because you prefer the company of cats over dogs.

Photographer David Williams is a man who loves cats, and he’s trying to help change this flawed perception with a series of photos that show men and their cats looking quite masculine indeed.

See more from David's series Men & Cats here

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5 Pets Who Helped Solve Their Owners' Murders

Forensic science has come a long way in solving crimes, although murder remains unusually difficult do to the lack of cooperation from the victims. Investigators have to keep an open mind in order to find clues wherever they may be, including evidence from the deceased’s pets. In one particular case, that meant the victim’s cockatoo.

Texas native Kevin Butler was such a fan of NBA great Larry Bird that he ignored the potential redundancy and named his pet cockatoo after him. Friends said Bird was very devoted to Butler, and when Butler’s home was broken into in 2001, Bird tried to fend off his owner's murderers before he was mortally wounded himself. One of them, Daniel Torres, denied involvement until prosecutors presented evidence linking the DNA recovered from Bird’s beak to Torres. He received life in prison. Bird, just 18 inches tall, was heralded as “valiant” during the trial.

There are four other tales of crime-solving pets in this roundup at mental_floss. Not all of them had to die to solve the crime.

(Unrelated image credit: www.viajar24h.com)

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This Dog Agrees: Your Music Needs More Cowbell

The American rock band Blue Öyster Cult’s iconic song “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” features, oddly, the use of a cowbell. This led to the development of More Cowbell, one of the greatest Saturday Night Live sketches ever. In it, the album producer, played by actor Christopher Walken, insisted that despite all doubts, what the song needed was not less, but more cowbell.

Maple the dog agrees. As his human, Trench, plays “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper,” Maple rings the cowbell.

More cowbell, Maple. Please.

-via Tastefully Offensive

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The World's Only Retirement Home for Cats

There's a place in the UK to which the letters OAP are of utmost importance. The acronym, which to them stands for Old Age Pussycats, is their clientele. This charity, called The Lincolnshire Trust for Cats, believes itself to be the only kitty retirement home in the world. 

The cozy home has everything to please finicky felines in their twilight years. The features include seven acres of land, heated beds, sofas, a fireplace aflame, and a southerly facing orientation, allowing for "a lot of sunbathing options," according to a staff member. 

Some resident cats' owners have passed on, others have moved. The founder Jain Hills says,

"I know of some charities that have a few elderly cats, but they are not doing it on the scale we are. For cats to come to us, people have either got to make a provision in their will, or people come to look round. I don't think anywhere else does it because people come all the way from London with the cats to come here."

An initial payment of £850 ($1,307.45 US) is necessary for a cat to relocate to the facility, which is located near the village of Osgodby, in Market Rasen, Lincolnshire. After the first payment, the trust covers the cost of living and veterinary care (including necessary surgeries) for the cats. Staff members are present night and day to care for the animals. Now that's even better than a giant cardboard box! Aging humans should have it that good!

Read more and see additional pictures in this BBC article and at the website of the Lincolnshire Trust for Cats. -Via Arbroath

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This is Diamond, a Formerly Abused Pit Bull Whose Adorable Outfits Protect Her Skin

Diamond the pit bull terrier came into the care of Fulton County Animal Services in Atlanta last summer, when she was eight years old. Her skin was ravaged by what looked to some like acid burns and her ears were mangled. A volunteer at the organization, Neely Conway, described meeting the dog:

"When I saw Diamond, I was immediately brought to tears. When I took her outside I couldn't stop crying. This sweet animal had suffered so much, but was approaching dogs and humans with such a loving and gentle demeanor. I knew she needed to be saved."

Finding a home for an eight-year-old pit bull who had been through so much proved a challenge for Fulton County. Eventually, Conway wrote a blog entry about Diamond and posted it to Reddit. It was at that point that Diamond would meet the woman, named Melissa, who would provide her with a permanent home.

Read the wonderful happy ending to this story — of Melissa and Diamond's meeting, friendship and her adorable and useful clothes — at the Huffington Post.   

Diamond's scarred ears and skin prior to being adopted

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2015 Masters Agility Championship

(YouTube link)

The Master Agility Championship is part of the Westminster Kennel Club dog show. On Valentine’s Day, Tex the border collie showed them all how it’s done. Watch this dog go- just under 31 seconds with no errors! He beat 329 other dogs to take the prize. At the end, he barks “I’m a good boy! I’m a good boy!” If he goes too fast for you, you can see stills and action pictures from the event at the Westminster Kennel Club. That’s a good dog. -via Daily Picks and Flicks

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Pups on Ice

YouTube Link

This video by The Pet Collective shows a litter of golden retriever pups exploring a big bowl of ice cubes on a summer day. Some cubes stick to the puppies, who playfully try to shake them off. One even lays down for a nap on a comfy-cool bed of cubes. This video may be from a summer past, but for some of us, it's nice to see gaiety in warm temperatures, even if it's via video footage.  Via Laughing Squid

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14 Cats Whose Favorite Pillow is a Dog

Image: Reddit/inospeakenglish

For a lot of us, it's been a cold winter, the freezing temperatures of which are hanging tough. Many humans have big, fluffy blankets, but what about felines? They're rarely afforded such seasonal luxuries. In circumstances such as those, kitties must improvise. Getting creative with what one has handy is the key. Are dogs off limits? Are they ever? Certainly not. Pile on and ignore those puppy dog eyes. After all, it's what cats usually do anyway.

See more cats making themselves comfortable on the family dog here. 

Image: Reddit/NotMyRealName14

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Prophecy: A Photographic Exploration of Hairless Dogs

French-born, New York-based Sophie Gamand (previously at Neatorama) is a gifted fine art photographer who concentrates heavily on the subject of dogs. Sophie's projects don't just skim the surface of adorable appearance, however. Gamand deeply ponders her subject matter and uses her art to make a statement about her observations. 

For this series entitled Prophecy, Sophie chose hairless dogs as her focus, specifically two major breeds, the Chinese Crested and the Xoloitzcuintli (Mexican hairless dog). In her discussion of the series on her website, Gamand explains,

"I wanted to explore the unique beauty of hairless dogs who are often mocked or called "ugly." I wanted to look beyond their physical qualities and into their personality and charisma. I wanted to pierce the mystery surrounding them. I had never even touched their skin before.

At the center of my photographic exploration is the idea that dogs have been engineered by men. Through artificial selection, for the past millennia, they have been selected, manipulated genetically, breeds have been created, shaped and trained to fulfill our needs. Whether it is to perform tasks for us or simply for companionship, humans have subdued an entire species for their own needs, alleviating their deep sense of solitude. In a way, dogs are the first example – and most striking one – of Man acting like a god towards Nature. This series is a reminder that playing God with Nature often comes with consequences and a price to pay, sooner or later.

For this project I approached private breeders as well as rescue organizations specializing in hairless dogs (such as Bald is Beautiful and Bare Paws Rescue). To learn more about the Xoloitzcuintli, visit the Xolo Club of America's website."

Visit Gamand's website to see the rest of this charming series, and keep up with her projects on social media via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  



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