In with animals


Watching the news lately has been depressing, with wars, politics, shootings, flooding and tornedos. I almost do not want to turn on the television for fear of what catastrophe has occurred and how many people are dead or injured. 

My viewing pleasure leans towards more interesting news, such as the interesting conundrum at a Chinese zoo where they dyed the fur of chow chows (dogs) and called them “panda dogs.” Without having real pandas, these substitutes served their purpose, until people started to complain about being tricked.  

Farmers have offered their bovine animals for cuddling sessions. They book hour-long cow cuddling opportunities and use the income to help pay for bales of hay. The Today Show touts this activity as beneficial for those struggling with depression, as it can encourage hope and a connection with the large beasts. Such sessions allow participants to connect with animals, have some quiet time to bond with the large, plush, fur covered cows, and it provides the atmosphere to process thoughts or plan one’s future. 

Goat yoga has also become a fad. The baby kids climb on the backs of the participants, making it difficult for the participant to continue that pose. It is a way to leave the rest of the world outside while being able to enjoy the experience, which has been proven to improve mental and physical health, alleviating symptoms of depression and anxiety. (I would find it difficult to be depressed while doing goat yoga, as I would be laughing so hard!)

During the winter, Floridians experienced falling iguanas from the sky. It appears that when iguanas get cold, they enter a state of torpor, losing their grip on trees and falling to the ground as though dead. Once warm again, they go about their merry way.

A thirteen-foot-long albino python has been causing havoc at a trailer park for the past five months, eating local cats for sustenance. 

An Alaskan moose invaded a movie theater as it followed the smell for buttered popcorn.

 At the American Institute of Aeronautics, researchers have reported on their findings that dead taxidermized birds could be used to make drones appear more natural, combining wing flapping mechanics to provide a drone that fits in with the environment.

Of course, some real-life pets offer astounding efforts that also make the national news. Babu the shih tzu’s eighty-three-year-old owner in Japan says that one morning Babu was extremely stressed, trying to get his person to take him for a walk. After much pacing, the owner put on his leash and off they went. Babu desperately led him in a direction different than usual, walking up a big hill. Only minutes after they were at the top, a tsunami struck below, obliterating their home. 

Ted, a border collie, was adopted into a family in which the matriarch had a breast disease that produced harmless lumps. Ted began to incessantly nuzzle at one of the bumps, despite being shooed away. Ted was so insistent that the woman went to her doctor, and the lump was evaluated and found to be cancerous. With this extra warning, the cancer was excised, and she went on to live a full and happy life. 

Gracie was a family cat not originally known as a family protector, but when the house was filled with dangerous levels of carbon dioxide, she knew that something was the matter. She began pounding on the bedroom door, throwing herself against it until her owner woozily answered the door and realized there was a problem. The couple and Gracie made it out of the house, collapsed on the front lawn, and waited for the impending ambulance to arrive. 

Reading and hearing about interesting animal stories is all the news I need. The stories are interesting, true, and often uplifting, and much easier to listen to than the news about wars, famine, politics, and natural disasters. Out with stories about people; in with stories about cats, dogs, monkeys, birds, moose and pythons!


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