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Kitten born with two faces dies

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.

>> Read more trending news 

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.

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

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.

>> Read more trending news 

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. 

Veterinarian finds 21 pacifiers in dog's stomach

Dr. Chris Rispoli has been a practicing veterinarian since 1997, but nothing could prepare him for what he calls his “most fascinating and exciting surgery.”

According to a Facebook post shared by Gentle Care Animal Hospital, Rispoli found 21 pacifiers in a dog’s stomach.

>> Read more trending news 

The Edmond, Oklahoma, veterinarian was brought in after parents of a newborn pieced together the mystery of missing pacifiers.

It started with a grandmother witnessing the pup jump onto a counter and take a pacifier. The dog’s eating slowed, and eventually it vomited up a pacifier. That’s when the parents took the dog in for an X-ray.

What the team initially believed was seven to nine pacifiers ended up being more than double that.

>> Click here to see the post (WARNING: Graphic images.)

According to the report, the dog is doing just fine and is heading home.

Haunting video of starving polar bear goes viral, breaks hearts

heartbreaking video of a skeletal polar bear scavenging for food in a desolate landscape is going viral online. The clip of the bear, which was released by the National Geographic channel, is gut-wrenching.

>> See the clip here (WARNING: Viewer discretion advised.)

Photographer Paul Nicklen, who has been with National Geographic for 17 years, says recording the video was even more heartbreaking. He’s spent his life filming bears and estimates that he’s come across about 3,000 of them, but the animal in his latest video was unlike the rest. In an article about the clip, Nicklen recalled, “We stood there crying — filming with tears rolling down our cheeks.”

>> Read more trending news 

Nicklen says he’s often asked why he didn’t do something, but he explains, “Of course, that crossed my mind. But it’s not like I walk around with a tranquilizer gun or 400 pounds of seal meat.” He added, “When scientists say bears are going extinct, I want people to realize what it looks like. Bears are going to starve to death. This is what a starving bear looks like.”

The internet has definitely felt the gut-punch of the video, which sparked an outcry. Actor Kumail Nanjiani offered one off-hand solution to the problem:

Unfortunately, animals seem to have a very bleak future in front of them. The No. 1 threat to the world’s 22,000 polar bears is climate change, according to a World Wildlife Foundation report. The bears spend the winter months on the ice, where they do a lot of laying around and a whole lot of eating seals; they fast during the summer. But as the winter months have become warmer, it takes longer for the ice to reappear each season, meaning that the animals have less time to eat, and they have to fast for a longer stretch of time. In short, no ice means no seals, which could soon mean no polar bears.

Buzzfeed News also uploaded a video of the tear-jerking scene that has made the rounds online.

Government agencies monitoring about climate change are also warning that we could possibly lose polar bears as early as 2050, per a Washington Post report.

Read more here.

7 tips to keep your pets safe during winter weather

Winter storms are common this time of year, and while we bundle up our human members of the family to stay safe and warm, you have to also remember the four-footed fur babies.

>> Read more trending stories  

The ASPCA has released tips for keeping your pets safe during the winter months.

1.Keep your home humidified and dry your pet with a towel as soon as he comes in from the cold. Make sure the animal's feet are free of snow. Wash your pet's feet and stomach after a walk to remove ice, salt and chemicals.

2. Fully bathe your pets as little as possible during cold weather. Too many baths can get rid of essential oils. If you must give your pet a bath, use a moisturizing shampoo and/or rinse. 

3. Don't shave your dog in the winter. A longer coat will give your dogs more insulation. If your dog is a short-haired pup, consider a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck. Also make sure it covers from the base of the tail to the belly.

4. Use petroleum jelly or other paw protectants on paws before going out. You can go as far as putting on booties to keep sand and salt away from their pads. When possible, use pet-friendly ice melts on your sidewalks.

5. Feed your pet a little more during winter months and make sure he has enough to drink. Pets burn extra energy trying to stay warm. The extra water can keep him hydrated and his skin less dry.

6. Make sure your pet has a warm place to sleep, off of the floor and away from drafts. The ASPCA says a pet bed with a blanket or pillow will work.

7. If it's too cold for you outside, it's too cold for your pet. Pets left outside can freeze, become disoriented, lost, stolen, injured or even killed. And don't let them in a car. Cars can act as refrigerators, according to the ASPCA. They can hold the cold in and cause animals to freeze to death.

Driver arrested while rushing beloved dog to animal hospital

Some people say they would do anything to protect their pets, but a Holliston, Massachusetts, man kept his promise to his dog – even if it meant getting arrested.

>> Watch the news report here

Peter Rogaishio's Thursday started like any other, until his family's beloved Doberman, Thor, was run over by two vehicles.

"I heard a big bang and then a few seconds later I heard a howl that just made the hair on the back of my neck stand up," said Rogaishio. "He was lying on the street, so I dragged him off to the side of the street and called 911."

Holliston police tried to find a way to get Thor to an animal hospital, but the dog was still bleeding on the side of the road half an hour later. 

In a desperate attempt to save his pup's life, Rogaishio put Thor in the back seat of his car and rushed to the vet, even if that meant illegally passing other vehicles and speeding.

"I wasn't even thinking, I was just trying to get through the traffic safely," Rogaishio said.

>> Read more trending news 

However, it didn't take long before a Natick police officer spotted Rogaishio's aggressive driving on West Central Street and chased him for more than a mile. 

Natick police then set up a roadblock on Hartford Street, making it clear they were on to Rogaishio.

With their guns drawn, police handcuffed Rogaishio and were ready to send him to jail when they saw Thor in the car.

"They finally looked in the truck and saw the dog. They jumped in and took the dog and then took me to jail," said Rogaishio.

The good news, however, is that Thor, despite his three broken legs, is expected to survive.

Rogaishio also has been released from jail.

He tells WFXT that, despite the craziness of it all, he did what he had to do.

"He's such a good dog, a loving dog. I would do anything to save him," said Rogaishio. "We got him at two months old and that's all we have. He's just a delight. He's a joy to my heart. He's my everything."

A neighbor and friend of the Rogaishios has set up a GoFundMe page to help with the animal hospital charges which you can help by clicking here.

Cat reunited with family 7 weeks after Santa Rosa fire

A California family who thought their beloved cat, Thomas, was killed in the wildfires that destroyed their home in October received a pleasant, purring surprise this week.

Dani Stockham can thank a compassionate park ranger, and a microchip for the miraculous reunion.

>> Read more trending news

After a cat's remains were found in the rubble of the Stockham's residence days after the fire, the family assumed it was Thomas and said their goodbyes, KTVU reported.

Seven weeks later, San Francisco Park Ranger Shannon Jay contacted the family with good news. He had been setting traps to capture pets lost in the wildfires. The cat's microchip was scanned, confirming that the Stockhams were the owners. Jay was able to reach the Stockham family via email, KTVU reported.

The Stockhams said that 45 days in the wild has left Thomas a bit thinner and exhausted, but he was meowing and purring when he was reunited with his family.

Pet dies after dog walker's error

A pet is dead after a dog walker made an error

The owners of Bandit, a 4-year-old Lab-border collie mix, said he vanished after a dog walker they found through the app Wag! didn’t follow their instructions and didn’t use a harness when taking the dog out for a walk. 

>> Read more trending news 

Bandit's owners, Michelle Morrissey and Kelsey Burke, were in Illinois for Thanksgiving.

“There’s instructions you give your wag walker and it’s there: 'He always needs his harness for his walk,'” Morrissey said. 

They said they got a call on Saturday evening. The dog walker hadn't used the harness, and Bandit was gone. 

“Essentially, as soon as they got outside, he pulled back to the apartment and slipped out of his leash,” Morrissey said. 

She and Burke immediately cut their trip short and flew back to Seattle

>> Related: Dog mauled, killed by pit bull at PetSmart during grooming appointment

KIRO-TV tagged along with the owners Monday morning as they posted and handed out flyers in Olympic Sculpture Park. 

“Take it somewhere. Hang it. If you see him, we’d love to hear from you,” Morrissey said as she handed a flyer to someone walking a dog. 

Just a few hours later, she and Burke found out someone had discovered Bandit’s body. The owners say they believe Bandit was hit by a car, sometime between Saturday night and Monday.

“It’s not the way we wanted this story to end, and we really wanted to bring him home and just (are) sad that we can’t,” Burke said. 

They say the people who found Bandit were geocaching and found him under a wooden walkway, about 100 feet away from where they were standing during an interview with KIRO-TV.

“To know we were so close and we couldn’t find him is hard,” Burke said.

 

Now Burke and Morrissey are remembering Bandit.

“He had this spot on the couch that was his spot, and I just loved turning the corner and seeing him and his smile. He just had the biggest smile,” Burke said through tears. 

>> Pit bull owner apologizes after dogs kill 12 neighborhood cats

Wag! said a dog getting loose on a walk is “extremely rare” and sent KIRO-TV the following statement:

"We are terribly sorry to inform you that Bandit has unfortunately passed away. Bandit was found in (Olympic Sculpture Park) this afternoon, and we are in close contact with the owners. Wag! had gone to extraordinary lengths to bring Bandit home. We are heartbroken by this outcome. The walker has been removed from our platform pending an investigation. Our thoughts are with Bandit's owners at this difficult time."

Bandit’s owners say they’ve used the app before and this is the first time they’ve had a problem.

“Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of the time it’s fine. This 1 percent it’s not. (Bandit’s) not coming home tonight and we just want to make sure people weigh that flexibility with the risk,” Burke said. 

Burke and Morrissey said they’ve both walked for Wag! as dog walkers and urge all dog walkers to pay attention to the instructions left by dog owners, saying it could help prevent another accident.As for what Wag! did to help find Bandit after he ran away, the company said: “Wag! activated a search party of numerous people to look for Bandit from the moment he escaped; printed and distributed hundreds of flyers, printed and hung two large banners and activated a Pet Amber Alert as well as PawBoost. It deployed a special dedicated tip line for sightings and stayed in constant contact with the dog’s owners, as sightings came in.”

Dog owners less likely to die of heart attacks, study suggests

Owning a dog could quite literally save your life, a new study has revealed.

>> Read more trending news

Dog owners who live alone have a 36 percent lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease than those without dogs. When it comes to dog owners who live with family members, the risk decreases by 15 percent.

"A very interesting finding in our study was that dog ownership was especially prominent as a protective factor in persons living alone, which is a group reported previously to be at higher risk of cardiovascular disease and death than those living in a multi-person household," Mwenya Mubanga, a study author and PhD student at Uppsala University in Sweden, told CNN.

» RELATED: This Texas woman’s heart literally broke when her dog died, doctors say

Published in “Scientific Reports,” the study was conducted by researchers in Sweden who examined medical and pet ownership records of 3.4 million people. Those analyzed by the study were between 40 and 80 years old. Participants were followed for up to 12 years, with around 13 percent owning pet dogs.

Researchers also noted that individuals who owned dogs originally bred for hunting, such as terriers, retrievers and scent hounds, saw even greater benefits. It's unclear exactly why this is, but researchers suggest that these breeds require more exercise, meaning the owner is necessarily more active and healthier.

» RELATED: Research shows why kids feel the loss of a pet so deeply

However, while the study clearly shows correlation between dog ownership and better heart health, it may not necessarily prove causation.

"These kind of epidemiological studies look for associations in large populations but do not provide answers on whether and how dogs could protect from cardiovascular disease," Tove Fall, a professor at Uppsala University and senior author of the study, told the BBC.

» RELATED: Research shows why kids feel the loss of a pet so deeply

"There might also be differences between owners and non-owners already before buying a dog, which could have influenced our results, such as those people choosing to get a dog tending to be more active and of better health."

At the same time, previous research has also pointed to the positive health benefits of owning dogs. For example, one study showed that children with dogs at home had a 15 percent reduced risk of asthma. Authors of that study suggested this was due to the "hygiene hypothesis," which posits that too clean of an environment actually increases an individual's susceptibility to allergies.

» RELATED: Sheriff: Toddler’s dog stayed with him while he was missing

In fact, the authors of the new study also said a possible reason for the positive effect of dogs on the heart may be connected to bacteria. According to the researchers, dogs actually change the dirt in their owners’ environment, meaning they may also influence their owner's bacterial microbiome. This collection of microscopic species lives in the gut and may benefit cardiovascular health.

But perhaps the biggest factor the research points to is the social aspect of owning a dog.

» RELATED: Ever wonder why dogs are so darn friendly? Science says it’s in their genes

"[Dog ownership] may encourage owners to improve their social life, and that in itself will reduce their stress level, which we know absolutely is a primary cause for cardiovascular disease and cardiac events," Dr. Rachel Bond, associate director of women's heart health at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, told CNN.

And of course, dogs definitely increase an individual's overall happiness.

» RELATED: 7 dog hacks for pet parents in the city 

"As many dog owners may agree, the main reason for owning a dog is the sheer joy," Dr. Mike Knapton of the British Heart Foundation told BBC.

"Dog ownership has many benefits, and we may now be able to count better heart health as one of them,” she said.

» RELATED: Do people care more about suffering dogs than suffering humans?

Denver passes bill banning cat declawing

A proposed bill that would ban declawing cats was unanimously passed at a Denver City Council meeting in Colorado on Monday.

WUSA reported that the ordinance is effective immediately.

>> Read more trending news

Declawing occurs in a procedure known as onychectomy. In the operation, an animal’s claws are removed and most or all of the last bone of each of the front toes of an animal is removed. Nerves, tendons and ligaments are severed. 

“Onychectomy is an amputation and should be regarded as a major surgery,” according to the American Veterinary Medical AssociationThe Humane Society of the United States says the effects of the surgery can include death of tissue, paw pain, infection, back pain, lameness and death. 

According to The Denver Post, practicing veterinarian Casara Andre said declawing can be performed in a way that prevents pain for the pet, although she opposes the surgery as a routine operation.

“A decision to declaw a cat is affected by many human and animal factors,” Andre said at a public hearing Nov. 6. “The well-being of the animal and their human family is best defended by providing owners with education about alternatives to declawing, appropriate training for family cats, and well-informed discussions between that pet owner and their veterinary medicine provider.”

Kirsten Butler, a veterinary technician, said she no longer participates in the procedures.

“Having run anesthesia on declaw procedures, I can tell you it is an awkward and disheartening feeling to keep something alive while it is mutilated in front of you,” she said at the hour-long hearing.

Eight cities in California, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, have passed bans on declawing. Australia, Japan, Brazil, Israel and multiple countries in Europe also have similar bans.

Alternatives to declawing include regular trimming of cat’s claws, stable scratching posts around the home, soft plastic caps for the cat’s nails and a special tape that can deter cats from scratching furniture.

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