Why Dogs Have Floppy Ears

Some domestic dog breeds have floppy ears, although the wolves they descended from do not. Charles Darwin puzzled over this as far back as 1869. But what's even weirder is that some domestic pigs, rabbits, goats, and cows have floppy ears, too, even though their wild counterparts do not. Does the act of domesticating animals make them relax their ears? It can't be that simple. And it's not.

(YouTube link)

Scientists believe it has to do with neural crest cells, which are explained in this video from Skunk Bear. You can read more about the Neural Crest Cell hypothesis here. -via The Kid Should See This

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Entropy Illustrated by a Cockatiel

Kayla Barham's cockatiel doesn't like cluttered surfaces. It all goes on the floor! It doesn't matter whether the object is heavy, or valuable, or important in its place, off it goes! Maybe she thinks she's a cat.  

(YouTube link)

Well, she did put the scissors away in their proper place, and looked pretty proud about it, too. This is great to watch, but it would be exhausting in real life. My cat annoys me by knocking things off my desk, but I'll put her out and close the office door when she gets too rowdy. If I were Barham, this bird would be in a cage until she learns some manners. -via Laughing Squid

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Cats Messing With Babies- The Compilation

Pets don't know what to make of babies when their owners bring their little bundles of joy home, so they treat the new addition to the household as either an unwanted annoyance or a new plaything.

Dogs will eventually surrender to their instincts and start protecting the baby like a member of the pack, but cats don't give a crap about packs, instincts or the child's welfare- and they show their disdain for the newest member of the family with reckless abandon.

(YouTube Link)

This compilation of video clips posted by YouTuber Animals TV will make you cringe at times, especially if you have kids and a crazy cat at home, but I guess babies have to learn to watch out for crazy cats the hard way.

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Photographer Creates Magical Worlds For Shelter Pets

Shelter dogs are unseen and therefore typically not on the minds of the general public unless caring humans get the word out and raise awareness about them in the hopes of finding them a forever home.

One of the best ways to raise awareness about pet adoption and get people to care is to show them what these adorable shelter pets look like, so their cuteness can tug at some heart strings.

Photographer Ausra Kel has come up with a neat way to showcase the shelter pets living in the Penkta Koja shelter in Lithuania- she creates magical worlds for them to show potential adopters how amazing it can be to adopt a pet.

See more at design you trust

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James Corden Handed Out 'Consolation Puppies' To Grammy Losers

Thanks to James Corden it paid to be a loser at the 2018 Grammy Awards, because the three "losers" in the Best Comedy Album category received something way better than a Grammy- they got a consolation puppy.

James handed out adorable puppies to Jerry Seinfeld, Jim Gaffigan and Sarah Silverman after they all lost to Dave Chappelle, so they would feel better about their loss, and the on-screen moments created by this warm and fuzzy gag were priceless.

Some animal rights activists had a problem with Corden's decision to use real puppies, but his father went on to LBC and set them straight:

“A guy across the aisle from me he got one of these puppies… he had his children there, they were stroking the puppy.

“Almost as soon as the camera [was turned off] the puppy was handed back to the handler as were all the puppies.

“It was a lovely moment that just lightened the mood.”

Are you kidding? Of course they were fine, those lucky dogs got to hang out with three of the greatest comedians of all time!

-Via 22 Words

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Cats Play Hungry Hungry Hippos

If we were to tell you cats were playing Monopoly or Scrabble, you wouldn't believe it was real. But the game Hungry Hungry Hippos has just the thing to enthrall the whole clowder: marbles!

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Watch a group of rescue cats in Sao Paulo, Brazil, play the children's board game. Or, to be more exact, one is playing while the others watch, fascinated. It's going to take a while before he finishes his turn and lets the next cat play. -via Tastefully Offensive 

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The Story of Ronnie the Donkey

There is nothing more heartbreaking than losing a child. Robin Birdsong founded Enchanted Farm Sanctuary after she lost her baby son. Ronnie the donkey came into her care after he underwent the trauma of losing a child, too. It took lots of time and love for the depressed donkey to start living again. Five years later, he is the king of the sanctuary, and helping Ronnie helped Robin to heal, too.

(YouTube link)

You'll want to have a hankie ready for this video. -via Metafilter

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Wiry Cat Leaps Around In A Most Hilarious Way While Attacking Grocery Bags

When cats chase something moving really, really fast they spin around so quickly they look like they might twist themselves into a pretzel just like in the cartoons.

But those spinnin' kitties ain't got nothin' on a cat doing that weird shocked, four-legged springy jump thing they do when they're startled or feeling extra frisky. It's enough to make you cry or wet yourself with laughter!

Case in point- Taylor, the frisky kitty in this video, either loves to play with plastic bags or is absolutely freaked out by them, and either way his crazy leaping made me bust a gut!

(YouTube Link)

-Via Laughing Squid

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Giant Invertebrates You Don't Want To Meet

Animals with backbones are generally considered much scarier than invertebrates, because savage spined beasts such as big cats, sharks and bears tear into their prey and make a bloody mess.

But invertebrates like the Japanese spider crab, Amazonian giant centipede and giant huntsman spider are terrifying in their own right, and their creepy-crawly nature sends shivers down our spine at the mere sight of them.

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The Amazonian giant centipede has some mighty powerful venom, grows to a foot long and has been known to be aggressive towards humans, so you wouldn't want to encounter one in the wild.

Nor would you want a giant huntsman spider setting its sights on you, because those huge, hairy suckers are aggressive, have a 1-foot legspan, and charges at its prey rather than trapping them in webs.

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And the Japanese spider crab may be the least aggressive of the bunch, but with a 12-foot legspan and weighing up to 44 pounds seeing a Japanese spider crab coming towards me would definitely fill me with fright!

(YouTube Link)

See 10 Giant Invertebrates You Don't Want To Meet at Toptenz

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Cat Turns A New Leaf

Ben has a tortoiseshell cat named Baloo. Baloo loves Ben and wants to give him things, but Ben did not really appreciate the mice and birds that Baloo brought him. He would release the critters back outside. 

Seeing how unappreciative Ben seemed to be about her hard-earned gifts, Baloo was perplexed.

“She always looked so confused and sad, which made me feel pretty bad,” Ben said.

But Baloo is a resourceful cat. She tried a whole new tactic, and brought Ben a large leaf. He loved that idea, and he played with the leaf, so she started bringing a new leaf in every morning- the biggest, prettiest leaf she could find. You can read the story of Baloo and her leaves in its entirety, and see plenty of pictures at The Dodo. -via Nag on the Lake

(Images credit: mostlyjustpicturesofmycats)

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Silverback Gorilla Stops Traffic So His Family Can Safely Cross The Road

Seeing a silverback gorilla in the middle of the road is enough to make any driver hightail it in the opposite direction, because movies have made us believe gorillas hate humans and go on destructive rampages.

But BBC cameraman Gordon Buchanan learned firsthand that gorillas are actually caring and gentle creatures who keep to themselves and don't generally attack humans unless provoked.

In fact, one massive silverback named Chimanuka had proven he had a huge heart when he adopted a young orphan gorilla and tended to it like his own:

The baby, whose name was Marhale, was in dire need of a caregiver—so Chimanuka stepped in. He groomed the little ape and let him follow closely so that he could learn how to find food for himself.

Though other male gorillas have been known to care for young, this was the only recorded example of Chimanuka’s particular subspecies, Bauer’s gorilla, acting this way.

When Gordon spotted Chimanuka in the bushes by the side of a road in the Democratic Republic of Congo he knew Chimanuka had a good reason for showing himself, so the BBC Earth crew stopped traffic to help him out.

And as the massive male silverback lumbered into the road the reason became clear- he was helping his big gorilla family safely cross the road:

Chimanuka had been nervous and tense because he needed to bring his entire family across the road. That included his adopted baby, Marhale; a one-handed ape named Mugaruka; and a few more mama gorillas and their babies.

When the final ape crossed the road, Gordon summed up the scene quite nicely. “The boss,” he said of Chimanuka, “showing us that despite the road running through, this is still his jungle.” Even with human life so close, animal life continued.

Chimanuka is truly a god among gorillas, and somebody needs to get him a reflective vest and crossing guard pole stat!

(YouTube Link)

Read Cameramen Catch Silverback Bringing Traffic To A Halt For The Most Remarkable Reason here

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New Study Finds Dogs May Eat Poop Because Of Their Ancestors

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Finding out your dog eats poop is one of the most disgusting discoveries a dog owner can make, and most owners can't look at their dog in the same light, or let their dog lick their face, after seeing them snacking on a turd.

Some studies say dogs eat poop out of boredom, others say dogs who have an enzyme deficiency, pancreatic sufficiency or parasites are more likely to be a poop eater, but a new study shows there more be a more ancient reason:

A new study in the journal Veterinary Medicine and Science, spotted by The Washington Post, presents a new theory for what scientists call "canine conspecific coprophagy," or dogs eating dog poop.

Since their poop has a high chance of containing intestinal parasites, wolves poop far from their dens. But if a sick wolf doesn't quite make it out of the den in time, they might do their business too close to home. A healthier wolf might eat this poop, but the parasite eggs wouldn't have hatched within the first day or two of the feces being dropped. Thus, the healthy wolf would carry the risk of infection away from the den, depositing the eggs they had consumed away in their own, subsequent bowel movements at an appropriate distance before the eggs had the chance to hatch into larvae and transmit the parasite to the pack.

Domestic dogs may just be enacting this behavior instinctively—only for them, there isn't as much danger of them picking up a parasite at home.

Read more at Mental Floss

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Cats Dine Peacefully Next To Their Adopted Crow Sibling

I recently shared a video with a little yellow bird who wasn't afraid to dine next to two dachshunds, which was kind of an odd sight but not too strange considering some dogs don't see birds as prey.

On the other hand cats usually see birds as prey, so you'd think any bird dumb enough to go around bunch of house cats during mealtime would become an additional entree.

But redditor AusSpyder discovered birds and cats can actually coexist peacefully when they recorded this amazing footage while visiting the home of their friend "Doctor Doolittle":

This crow showed up at my friends house one day. It had an injured wing and couldn’t fly at first, but It’s been like 3 or 4 months now and the crow can fly again though not quite as good as it originally could. It’s just chosen to hang around and it still eats with the cats or my friend if she eats outside. He will happily sit on your shoulder and eat biscuits if you have any. It’s not exactly a pet, like it isn’t stuck in a cage and could easily fly off any time it wanted, it just chooses not to and for some reason the cats never chose to attack it.

(YouTube Link)

-Via Laughing Squid

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A Curious Kitty Tries To Catch A Hot Wheels Car As It Zips Around The Track

Cats love to chase mice, RC cars and Roombas, so it's only natural for them to go after anything that is zooming around in their line of sight, especially if it's small enough for them to catch and possibly chew on.

So when the curious kitty in this video saw a Hot Wheels car zooming around the track he had to spring into action.

But he probably would have been better off chasing a mouse, because that Hot Wheels car left him eating dust!

(YouTube Link)

-Via Laughing Squid

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Dog Wants A Turn On The Sled

Some dogs take to snow like a fish to water, others simply abhor the way that cold and wet stuff feels on their paws so they're miserable when their humans force them to walk around in the snow.

But whether they love it or loathe it all dogs can agree on one thing- sledding through the snow is way cooler than walking around with cold paws like a mangy mutt.

The dog in this video from Bogart, Georgia wants to be cool but he's not brave enough to sled on his own, so he decides to ride piggyback on his owner instead!

(YouTube Link)

-Via Tastefully Offensive

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Cat Trapped in Stairs

Henriette Kleppan's family moved to a new home with their cat, Sverre. The house needed some work, including building new stairs. After the carpenters were gone, the family couldn't find the cat. They called for Sverre and finally heard him crying weakly from inside the new stairs! Four-year-old Julie and 7-year-old Mikkel were quite upset.

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Sverre was closed up inside the stairs for at least five hours. He was pretty glad to be out, and doesn't seem to hold a grudge about the misadventure. -via Digg

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How Do They Train Drug Sniffing Dogs?

Dogs amaze us with their ability to detect scents from just a few molecules. At least we recognize their abilities, and use them to find things like drugs, explosives, and even cancer. But how to we train dogs to focus on one kind of smell? It's a basic dog training technique that's been refined to suit the dog's future job. But there are inherent dangers in these jobs, too.

While rare owing to the fact that the dogs are being used to find hidden drugs (thus likely barriers between the drug and the dog), it does sometimes happen where the dog may be exposed to something so toxic that even trace amounts pose a risk to them, such as relatively recently happened in Broward County, Florida where sniffer dogs were exposed to the extremely potent opioid fentanyl.

To get around this problem, the dog’s handler will keep a vigilant watch and particularly not deploy sniffing dogs at all if there are any loose drugs present. For the unseen drugs that nonetheless may be particularly potent, the handler also might carry things like naloxone with them, which rapidly reverses/blocks the effects of opioids, just in case.

Read about the specific training technique for drug detection dogs, plus some of the benefits and dangers of using dogs to detect drugs and other contraband at Today I Found Out.

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This Spunky Little Aardvark Doesn't Want To Be Weighed

It must be difficult for keepers to weigh all the different animals that come to their zoo, especially the ones that don't take kindly to being cornered by humans.

But 3-week-old Winsol the aardvark is probably a pleasure compared to the really feisty critters found at the Cincinnati Zoo, even though he refuses to sit still long enough to get weighed.

(YouTube Link)

Winsol was born on the same day as the Winter Solstice, December 21, 2017, hence his strange name, and he hasn't left his mom's side since he was born, which is probably why he was so squirrely while he was being weighed.

-Via Laughing Squid

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The Little-Known History of Seafaring Pets

Ship's cats have always been common, because they are the best way to exterminate rats and other vermin on long voyages. However, cats are just one of many types of pets taken on ocean travels throughout history. Sailors have been accompanied by dogs, pigs, chickens, rabbits, and other animals, and not all of them were for dinner. Patricia Sullivan, founder and curator of the online Museum of Maritime Pets, talked to Atlas Obscura about the little-known tradition of land animals at sea. They served in wartime and peace time, too.

Pets were also trusted companions for maritime explorers. “Many pets were working animals on exploration vessels,” Sullivan says, with dogs used for hunting at ports of call and cats on exterminator duty. More than all of this, seafaring animals played important emotional roles on long, grueling, monotonous, dangerous voyages plagued by uncertainty. “Sailors were out at sea for months or years at time, so pets were important de-stressors” she says. “I think people would have gone mad without something to pet.”

A few years ago, Sari Mäenpää, a curator at the Maritime Museum of Finland, was conducting research when she first really noticed the presence of pets in the museum’s image archives. “I came across loads of photos, especially from the sailing ship era, where cats and dogs were portrayed in ‘official’ crew photos, and suddenly I started seeing images of them everywhere.”

Read about more of these seafaring pets at Atlas Obscura. 

(Image credit: Australian National Maritime Museum Collection, Samuel J. Hood Studio)

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Street Photographer Captures The Different Personalities Of Dogs Around The World

Wherever there are people there are dogs coexisting with human populations that are as diverse as they are, and whether they're trying to please their masters or snatch what they can while the humans aren't looking dogs will always be by our side.

London-based street photographer Alan Schaller normally focuses on “the realities and diversities of human life", but as he traveled the world he noticed the dogs he met were pretty diverse too.

So Alan started focusing his lens on the dogs of the world, shifting his focus from man to man's best friend, but before he shoots he really gets to know his subject:

The process involves getting familiar with the dog first, creating some kind of a bond and gaining their trust. "I find dogs are in general more consistently friendly, unpredictable, and amusing than humans," says Schaller. "Almost every dog I have photographed, unless the scenario has been tragic, has made me laugh at some point when meeting it."

See Street Photographer Travels The World Portraying Very Different Personalities Of Dogs here

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Take Me Home

There are thousands, if not millions, of pets sitting in pounds, shelters and rescue centers around the world, all of them just waiting for some kind humans to come and take them home.

It's important that as many pets as possible are adopted from pounds and shelters and given a better life, and to help expedite the process some pets have sadly taken to pretending to be purebreeds to make themselves look more adoptable.

But if you're going to adopt a pet don't be a breed snob, because mutts make awesome pets too!

(YouTube Link)

Take Me Home is a short and sweet CG film by Nair Archawattana and students from the Academy Of Arts University, and it reminded me why I love mutts so much- because many of them have an indomitable spirit!

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Maya the Odd Cat

The Odd Cat Sanctuary in Massachusetts focuses on finding homes for odd cats: feral, disabled, neglected, elderly, or otherwise hard to place cats. They heard about Maya, a cat with a chromosomal abnormality that was headed for euthanasia at another shelter. Maya has a flattened snout and vision issues, but the more you look at her pictures, the cuter she becomes. The sanctuary placed Maya in a foster home, and now she has a forever home where she lives the life of a normal house cat and is quite pampered. Maya is also doing her part for other cats by being the unofficial face of the Odd Cat Sanctuary and drawing attention to other cats who need homes. See more Maya at her Instagram page.

(Image credit: meetmayacat)

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Cats Stealing Stuff

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Cats have a firm sense of private property, but it only pertains to themselves. A cat sees something, it will take something. "I found it, it's mine now!" You know, like the seagulls in Finding Nemo, just quieter. Enjoy this compilation of all kinds of cats taking all kinds of things for themselves. -via Tastefully Offensive

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Trouble in Tossing the Christmas Tree

David Graham of Charleston, South Carolina, was simply trying to discard the Christmas tree. His plan was to dump it over the backyard fence into the woods. His wife Erin wondered why it was taking so long, so she peeked out the window and then had to grab her camera.  

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Their two dogs weren't making things easy at all! Did they consider it a game of tug-of-war? Or were they just upset that the wonderful tree was going away? I would bet the former, as the dogs seem to be having a great time. David, not so much.  -via Tastefully Offensive

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Miss Hap the Korean Kitten

This picture was taken by Staff Sergeant Martin Riley of the Marine Corps in Korea. The image of a Marine feeding a two-week-old kitten with an eyedropper offered a tender moment in a brutal war, and was published in over 1,700 newspapers in 1953.

In the middle of the Korean War, this kitten found herself an orphan. Luckily, she found her way into the hands of Marine Sergeant Frank Praytor. He adopted the two-week-old kitten and gave her the name “Miss Hap” because, he explained, “she was born at the wrong place at the wrong time”.

Miss Hap was still luckier than her mother and sibling, because she found the right person to take care of her. Read the story of the kitten and what eventually happened to her here. -via Strange Company

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Bagel Shop Worker Takes Pics Of All The Dogs That Come To The Drive-Thru Window

Fast food workers meet hungry people at the drive-thru window on a daily basis, and they also get to meet the customers' dogs who, if asked, are usually just as hungry as their owners.

That's why most dogs greet the person at the drive-thru window warmly, because they can smell the food cooking behind them so they're hoping for a handout.

A post shared by Natasha (@ebdogs4096) on Jan 7, 2018 at 8:19am PST

Einstein Bagel Company employee Natasha Jones takes a picture of all the dogs that greet her at the drive-thru window whether they're friendly or full of snarls, then she shares their pic on her Instagram account EBDogs4096.

A post shared by Natasha (@ebdogs4096) on Dec 29, 2017 at 11:36am PST

Natasha's account is a sweet look at the friendly canine faces she sees at work every day, and since she hooks them up with a free doggie bagel they've stopped wanting to go for a walk and now want to go for a ride in the car- straight to the drive-thru!

A post shared by Natasha (@ebdogs4096) on Jan 7, 2018 at 10:50am PST

See more of these adorable pics at Laughing Squid

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Determined Ferret Opens Drawer

This little ferret wants the dresser drawer open, and will not give up until it is! You have to wonder what's in there. Maybe it's ferret treats, but it could be something as simple as underwear to play with or a place to curl up and sleep.

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Persistence pays off! Yeah, she fell at the end, but the drawer is open enough, and she can get back up there whenever she wants. -via Laughing Squid

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This Russian Fisherman Keeps Catching In The Strangest Fish

A Russian fisherman named Roman Fyodorov has been making a splash online simply by sharing pics of his catches because they look like a prop from a sci-fi movie, and many of the fish he has caught are so rare few have ever seen them.

But therein lies the problem with Roman's Instagram shares- commenters claim many of the fish he catches are rare and endangered species, and they implore him to stop killing these fish for the sake of social media entertainment.

Other commenters have pointed out that Roman's fish look fake, but if they are props they're incredibly well made and that would make Roman a special fx wizard posing as a fisherman.

So as far as anyone can tell Roman's catches are real, revealing that there are some really strange fish swimming around in the Black Sea.

-Via New York Post

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Mobbed by Lemurs

Reporter Alex Dunlop of the BBC was at Banham Zoo in Norfolk to tell viewers about the zoo's annual census. It became a bit difficult for him to stick to the script when lemurs began to show intense interest in the visitor.

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They not only wanted to jump on him, they also wanted to get a taste! I considered it quite a show of professionalism when Dunlop called the leaping lemurs "little nippers" instead of something that would have been bleeped, but just a moment later they got the better of him. A man can only take so much. -via Metafilter 

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Synchronized Snow Sissies

Time to let the horses out for their exercise! They'll love playing in the snow today. Or maybe not.

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Horses are pretty hardy, but they're no dummies. It takes the two the exact same amount of time to figure out what's really awaiting them during playtime. Winter horse blankets can only do so much. -via Tastefully Offensive

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