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Helmsley Dog Inherits $14 Million

The pet dog of billionaire hotelier Leona Helmsley has been left a fortune of $14.6 million in the will of the woman known as the “Queen of Mean”. Trouble, the little Maltese terrier, received the enormous trust fund after Helmsley, who died at the age of 87, cut two of her grandchildren out of her $4 billion fortune. The trust fund was created to care for the beloved dog, who once starred in advertisements for the Helmsley Hotels.

The luxury hotel queen even stipulated Trouble be buried beside her and her husband Harry in a five-star mausoleum that will be maintained with a $3 million perpetual-care trust.
[Source: The Daily Telegraph]

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A Dog’s Incredibly Large Vocabulary

Be careful what you say around your dog. It might understand more than you think. A border collie named Rico recognizes the names of about 200 objects, say researchers in Germany. He also appears to learn words for new objects as easily as a 3-year-old child would. Its word-learning skill is as good as that of a parrot or chimpanzee.

Rico knows the meaning of a surprisingly large number of words. In one experiment, the researchers took all 200 items that Rico is supposed to know and divided them randomly into 20 sets of 10 objects each. The dog waited with one of his owners in one room, while an experimenter put a set of 10 objects into another room. Then, the owner told the dog to fetch one of the items. The dog had to go to the other room and bring the object back.

In four trials, Rico got 37 out of 40 commands right. Because the dog couldn’t see anyone to get visual clues about what to bring back, the scientists concluded that he must understand the meanings of certain words.

In another experiment, the scientists took one toy that Rico had never seen before and put it in a room with seven toys whose names he already knew. The dog’s owner then told him to fetch the object, using a word Rico had never heard.

In 7 out of 10 trials, Rico picked the right object, suggesting that he figured out the answer by process of elimination. A month later, he remembered half of the new names, which further impressed the researchers.

Rico is probably smarter than the average dog, the scientists say. For one thing, he’s a border collie, a breed known for its mental abilities. In addition, the 9-year-old dog has been trained to retrieve toys by their names since he was 9 months old.

It’s hard to know if all dogs understand at least some of the words we say. Even if they do, they can’t talk back. Still, it wouldn’t hurt to sweet-talk your pup every now and then. You might just get a big, wet kiss in return!

[Source: Science News]

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Dog Nurses Tiger Cubs

Dog Nurses Tiger Cubs

The mother of these tiger cubs couldn’t produce enough milk, so zookeepers in Hefei, China, sought the help of this dog. She began work when the cubs were one day old. This isn’t the first time a dog has played wet nurse to tigers at the Hefei zoo, which organized a similar arrangement with another dog last year.

It may not even be the oddest recent example of cross-species suckling. As of February, India’s Namatia Ghosh, 46, was still breastfeeding the pet monkey her husband found orphaned several years ago. “He is my son,” she told BBC News. Not to be outdone, Hlah Htay, 40, helped a Burmese zoo feed two tiger cubs in April, according to the AFP news service.

The cubs had been separated from their aggressive mother. Tigers are born toothless. In the wild they nurse for about six months but begin eating meat after six to eight weeks, when the mother begins sharing her food.

[Source: National Geographic]

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Dog Follows Marine Master 70 Miles

A wiry German shepherd-border collie mix was the dog Maj. Brian Dennis took a liking to. His nubby ears had been cut off as a puppy so Dennis named him “Nubs.” Dennis found Nubs with a deep puncture wound on his left side. He later learned the injury was inflicted by a screwdriver. He helped nurse the dog back to health.

The time came, however, for Dennis’ unit to relocate 70 miles from Nubs’ home fort. As always, Nubs sprinted alongside the Hummers as they pulled away for what Dennis assumed was the last time he would see the dog. Two days later, Nubs wandered in below-freezing conditions into Dennis’ new camp, surprising the Marine unit.”When he arrived he looked like he’d just been through a war zone. Well, he had,” Dennis wrote. Nubs’ incredible journey forced the Marine’s hand, and Dennis and his fellow Marines unanimously decided to keep the animal.

“This dog who had been through a lifetime of fighting, war, abuse, and had tracked down our team over 70 miles of harsh desert was going to live the good life,” Dennis wrote. Nubs is not the only dog befriended by an American soldier to earn a trip out of Iraq. Army Sgt. Peter Neesley found two dogs while on patrol during his second tour of duty in Iraq — Mama, a Labrador mix, and her puppy, Boris.

But tragedy struck when the 28-year-old sergeant died in his Baghdad barracks in Christmas, the cause of which remains unknown. His family decided one way to ease the grief would be to transport the dogs home. “It’s second to having Peter come home on his own,” the soldier’s sister said. “If we can’t have Peter, then at least we can have his dogs.”

Dennis could be home from Iraq as early as March, his mother said. The dog no longer will have to contend with fighting to survive in the war-torn country, Dennis wrote in an e-mail, but instead will get to bask in the sun on the sunny beaches of San Diego. “He’s supposed to be this big, tough Marine, but he’s really a softy.”
[Source: ABC News]

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Cameron Diaz Rescues Neighbor’s Injured Dog

Hollywood star Cameron Diaz reportedly rescued an injured German Shepherd dog at the weekend.

According to People magazine, the actress took the injured animal to her home, where she cared for it, while her assistant posted notices about the dog.

A source told the magazine: “Diaz brought the dog in her house and gave it some food and water.”

“Her assistant posted a ‘found German shepherd’ sign and [the dog’s owner] – Diaz’s neighbor who was driving around the area – came across it.”

Diaz’s representative said: “Cameron and a friend were involved in returning an injured dog to its owner.”

[Source: RTE Entertainment]

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Bamse the Hero Dog Honored

Bamse the Hero Dog Honored

The story of a Norwegian sea dog who became an unlikely war hero has been put into print.
It is the story of Bamse, a big St Bernard, who saved the lives of two sailors during World War II.

He did many good deeds as the mascot on the Norwegian Navy minesweeper the Thorrod, which was stationed in Montrose and Dundee.
A book has now been written, aiming to separate the fact from the fiction surrounding the canine hero.

Among his exploits included going into the water to rescue a sailor who had fallen overboard and knocking over a knifeman who was trying to attack a young lieutenant.
Bamse died in 1944 and is buried in Montrose with his head facing towards Norway.

Since then, a statue has been erected in the Angus town in honour of the dog and he was awarded the gold medal for gallantry and devotion from the PDSA charity.
Angus Whitson, co-author of Sea Dog Bamse, said: “My favourite story is him taking the sailors out of the pub and making sure they got back to their ship on time.
[Source: BBCnews]

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Super SkyDiving Dog

Super SkyDiving Dog

MEET DJ, the daredevil parachuting pooch who fell 1220m and lived to chase his tail another day.

The 20-month-old tenterfield terrier joins an elite group of skydiving animals around the world after completing two tandem jumps with his owner Archie Jamieson, who is the manager of the Gold Coast Skydive Centre.

DJ landed safely on all fours when the pair dived into the All Saints Anglican School at Merrimac on Saturday. (Click here to see the video)

The weekend’s jump followed a practice skydive on Thursday, which Mr Jamieson said was a complete success despite the fact the pair had never jumped together before.

“We did the first jump at Kirra just to see if he liked it. Because if he didn’t, I wouldn’t pursue it,” he said. “I said to myself, ‘if he doesn’t like it, he’s not doing it again’. But he loved it.”

The 41-year-old said he had been a ‘little bit concerned’ about the pressure change in the plane and the effect it could have on DJ.

“It was all fine though and when we landed he just got his ball and ran around in circles,” he said. “He was a normal, happy dog and the jump didn’t seem to scare him.

“It’s not like when we landed he ran away scared.”

Mr Jamieson has jumped almost 12,000 times and has racked up 23 years of skydiving experience. He said he did not think he was doing the wrong thing by jumping with DJ.

“I’ve actually spoken to (TV vet) Dr Harry Cooper many years ago when a team member was jumping with a dog,” he said. “Someone had complained to the RSPCA about it so we contacted him to do a story on it and he said there was no issue as far as cruelty to animals.”

Mr Jamieson said he decided to take DJ skydiving after he donated a skydiving display to All Saints Anglican School for the weekend. “We wanted to give them something more than just a tandem dive with two people,” he said. “That would have just been the same old thing, but when you land with a dog, well that’s certainly something a bit special.”
[Source: The Gold Coast Bulletin]

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Golden Retriever Adopts Abandoned Tiger Cubs

CANEY, Kan. – A dog at a southeast Kansas zoo has adopted three tiger cubs who were abandoned by their mother. Safari Zoological Park owner Tom Harvey said the tiger cubs were born Sunday, but the mother had issues with them.Harvey said the cubs were wandering around, trying to find their birth mother, who wouldn’t pay attention to them. That’s when the cubs were put in the care of a golden retriever.

Harvey said it’s unusual for dogs to care for tiger cubs, but it does happen. He said he has seen reports of pigs nursing cubs in China, and he actually got the golden retriever after his wife saw television accounts of dogs caring for tiger cubs.

Puppies take about the same amount of time as tiger cubs to develop, and Harvey said the adoptive mother just recently weaned her own puppies.

“The timing couldn’t have been any better,” he said.The mother doesn’t know the difference, Harvey said. He said the adopted mother licks, cleans and feeds the cubs.
[Source: Yahoo! News]

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Colorado Springs, CO AKA DogTown USA

Colorado Springs, CO AKA DogTown USA

Dog Fancy, the world’s most popular dog magazine, has named Colorado Springs, Colorado, the 2008 winner of DogTown USA — the national competition in which Dog Fancy readers nominate America’s most dog-friendly city.

“Some cities clearly roll out the red carpet for dogs and their owners,” says Susan Chaney, editor of Dog Fancy. “Each year, it’s gratifying to read about so many organizations and individuals who work toward making their cities welcoming to dogs. We’re very pleased to honor Colorado Springs this year, and congratulate it for avoiding legislation like that adopted by Denver which bans pit-bull-type dogs.”

Runner-up cities include:
— Huntington Beach, Calif.
— Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
— Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.
— Long Beach, Calif.

Each year, Dog Fancy calls for readers to submit nominations for what they believe to be America’s most dog-friendly cities. The criteria used to select the winning city include plenty of dog-friendly open spaces and dog parks, events celebrating dogs and their owners, high vet-to-dog ratios, abundant pet supply and other services, and municipal laws that support and protect all pets.

Chaney will travel to Colorado Springs to present the city with the top honor. For the complete story on DogTown USA, pick up the September issue of Dog Fancy, on newsstands July 29, 2008.

[Source: marketwatch.com]

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German Shepards On The Front Line

With tiny cameras fixed to their heads, German Shepards will be sent in before their human partners to hunt for insurgent hideouts.

The cameras will broadcast live images back to the troops as the dogs penetrate behind enemy lines and warn of ambushes.

According to The Sun, the dogs will be trained to accompany soldiers on what are called ‘High Altitude High Opening’ parachute jumps, after which they may have to travel 20 miles to their targets.

It is hoped the technique will reduce the level of danger to SAS soldiers, three of whom have been shot dead during raids in Iraq in two years.

An SAS source told the newspaper: “The dogs will be exposed to very high levels of danger on these operations and you never know what’s going to be behind a door. Nobody wants to see the dogs get killed but if it’s their life or a man’s it is obvious which the CO would prefer.”

The elite American unit, 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta, commonly known as Delta Force, has pioneered the parachute technique from heights over 20,000ft and its instructors have reportedly been sent over to 22 SAS headquarters in Hereford.
[Source: Telegraph.co.UK]

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