Just got a puppy? Here’s what a terrier called Arthur taught me about love

Owning a pet is a long-term relationship, and things change. But the love endures.


I left having children pretty much as late as it was biologically possible to do, and I quickly grew to recognise, if not entirely understand, a certain look – let’s say, boredom mixed with condescension topped off with wry amusement – sported by my friends, who had their children at far more sensible ages, when I would go on and on (and on) to them about the miracle-slash-insanity of raising babies.

No one before me had ever noticed how crazy all this parenting stuff was, I believed, while looking uncomprehendingly at the smirks on my friends’ faces as their kids did their GCSEs. Well, I comprehend them now. Because this is how I feel when people go on and on (and on) about the new dogs that they got during lockdown.

More than 3.2 million people in the UK got a pet during lockdown, and they have been especially popular among the under-35s. This is generally reported in a tone of either shock (what are those crazy kids doing, tying themselves down to a pet so early!) or scorn (silly snowflakes, they can’t handle a dog!).

But I get it. I took my time about having kids, but I was precocious about dog ownership, having decided at the age of 31 that what was missing from carefree single life in Manhattan was an extremely high-maintenance terrier, who I could never leave alone in my tiny apartment because he would literally eat it. I once came home from breakfast in my local diner to find that he had eaten half my sofa, even though the sofa was 6ft long and my dog was the size of a jacket potato. And because I was so derangedly in love with him, I found this adorable, and proceeded to bring him with me everywhere. “Obviously you don’t mind,” I’d say, swanning into friends’ apartments with my yapping terrier, and they looked at me as if I’d come in with a rat I’d found on the subway.

People got dogs during the pandemic because they were lonely, and that’s exactly why I got mine. I was living on my own and working from home, meaning I could go for days without interacting with another living creature except for the man who sold me coffee. I’d thought this was what I wanted, but I knew madness was setting in when I asked the fridge what I should have for lunch. Too many bad breakups had convinced me that relationships with humans were overrated, and so I embarked on one with a dog.

I’d planned to get a female dog, who I would call Betty, after my second most beloved idol, Golden Girl Betty White. But when I went to pick up my pet, a little runt of a male pup jumped into my lap. He looked up at me with what I thought at the time was love but later learned was hunger, and that was that. I named him Arthur, after my most beloved idol, Golden Girl Bea Arthur, and for the past 11 years he has been my constant companion. Well, he has been more of a constant to me than I have to him, because my life has changed a lot over the past decade, and not always to his liking.

Arthur’s and my first years together were the halcyon years. I was, unquestionably, obsessed with him. I poured all the love I had to give into his stout and furry little body, and he responded in kind.

Years later, I went to a comedy show in which the male comedian sneered about women who treat their pets like babies, and even though I had babies by this point, I felt such a sharp stab of loathing towards him.

Arthur was never my baby, but people love to love, and if my options were him or that dickhead comedian – which is how it felt when I was single – choosing my dog was not tragic, it was good taste. You can always spot a sexist by their resentment of women loving things that aren’t men.

Eventually, I found someone who is not a sexist dickhead, and we moved in together, and Arthur accepted that, because it meant he got longer walks. But then came the babies, who terrified him at first because he thought they were eating me when I breastfed them.

Then he just resented them because they’d pushed him down the pecking order. When I brought the third baby home from hospital, he met me at the door with a look that unmistakably said, “You’re kidding, right?”

Owning a dog isn’t like having a baby – and that’s an argument in dog ownership’s favour – but it is a relationship, and things change and you learn. I’ve learned that it’s really not acceptable to bring your dog to dinner parties, and I’ve also learned that no matter how old and slow Arthur gets, he’ll still insist on following me from room to room in the house: my potato-shaped shadow.

My friends are in the first flush of love with their dogs. Arthur and I are in the long-term stretch, meaning we take each other for granted more than we used to, but we would be devastated by one another’s absence.

Everything I’ve written for the past decade has been sound-tracked by his snores next to me, those heartbeats to my day. The initial passion was fun, but contentment comes from the long haul.

(Story source: The Guardian)

Pet lover builds two-storey ‘dog mansion’ in her home for her pack of 16 rescue pooches

Susie Elliott, from Wharton, Texas, US, set out to build her 16 mutts their own 7ft-tall mansion named the Hound Dog Hotel, which took three months and £296 to build.

dog mansion

The Mirror reports that a pet lover has built a two-storey ‘dog mansion’ within her own home for her pack of 16 rescue dogs – complete with balcony, seven-foot ramp and stained-glass windows.

Susie Elliott, from Wharton, Texas, US, has been rescuing dogs her entire adult life but since buying her new home five years ago, she decided they deserved their own space to unwind.

The 63-year-old set out to build her 16 mutts their own 7ft-tall mansion named the Hound Dog Hotel, which took three months and $400 (£296) to build.

The mum-of-two took on the task of designing the ‘building’ and she enlisted the help of husband, David, 61, to tackle the handiwork.

The Hound Dog Hotel is fitted with stained glass windows, a balcony, a ramp to help the older animals to get inside and framed photos hanging inside to make them feel at home.

Hilarious photos and videos show the dogs clambering up the ramp and staring out of the windows of their very own fortress that has its own interior lighting and glamorous décor.

Susie said: “The dogs love it. When we showed them how to go up the ramp, they were pretty thrilled.

“Lots of the dogs sleep in it at night and they have access to it all day long when they’re out of their cages.

“They prefer to sleep in there than their cages and there are some sofas in there so they can sit on those.

“There are a few dog beds inside the house and some pictures hanging up for them to look at. “There’s a balcony on the backside of the mansion so they can look out and see what they want to see.

“There are windows all around the mansion so they can always see out and I pull the shades down during the sun and I pull them up when the sun goes down.

“There’s a door on the second floor of the house that I have to open to access to clean or to get the dogs out if they don’t want to come down the ramp.”

The colourful windows set Susie and David back $100 while the wooden floor cost $50.

Susie and David made the walls out of wooden flooring that cost a further $50, decorations were donated while the balcony is made of an old table that has been cut in half and flipped upside down.

The rest of their budget was spent on lighting, a tin ceiling and a camera to keep an eye on Susie’s furry friends.

Susie started work on the mansion after her home was flooded in a hurricane and she decided the dogs deserved a treat.

Susie said: “After my house flooded, we had to cut all the walls and that is when I decided to make the house how I wanted it for myself instead of always worrying about who we’re going to sell it to. “I have a couple of acres of land and spare rooms because I have no children in the house anymore.

“The dogs have been through a lot and deserve somewhere nice. “A couple of them were going to be euthanized before I rescued them, some have medical conditions and some have been abused.

“When they come to me it’s like going to grandma’s house. “The language I speak is the language of love because I like to help people and animals.”

Susie takes in rescues until a forever home is found for them, but she admits that David hasn’t always been a dog lover.

Susie said: “I always brought home stray animals as a child and when I got married so I got in trouble a lot but I kept doing it.”

“David wasn’t too thrilled at first but then he started getting into it and seeing how wonderful the dogs are and how appreciative they are. “He sees that they would leave here and get good homes so that was good for him to see.

“Now he understands that we’re making a difference in this little town. “Most people are pretty shocked when they see the mansion because the first thing they worry about is if I ever decided to sell the house.

“At this point I don’t really care what anyone thinks because I’ve helped over 100 dogs find a new home since I’ve lived here so it doesn’t really matter what they think.”

(Story source: The Mirror)

Dog who loves swimming in sea outlives his life expectancy by two years

Golden Retrievers live, on average, for around 10 to 12 years.

dog loves swimming

Metro reports that 14-year-old Bailey has already surpassed the average lifespan by two years – and his owners believe this is down to his daily trips to the beach.

Laura and Brian Oliver, both 41 and from Tain, Scotland, have long been taking their pet to swim in the sea at Portmahomack Beach, Scotland, which is right on their doorstep.

While he’s certainly past his prime, Bailey isn’t even close to outliving the oldest ever Golden Retriever, Adjutant, who died in 1963 aged 27 – and Bailey isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.

‘Bailey has always loved the beach, he’s a keen swimmer and will play fetch with the tennis ball when you throw it into the water,’ says Laura. ‘He just loves running along the beach, and is always happy to be in his favourite place, he definitely acts very young for his old age.’

Swimming is a great exercise for dogs: not only does it help with fitness levels, it also acts as a stress reliever and can help with age-related limitations such as decreased mobility, arthritis and stiffness.

The couple loves to spoil Bailey, sometimes feeling him ice cream after a long day at the beach, despite the mess he makes.

Laura says that Bailey, who turns 15 in December, ‘definitely thinks he’s human sometimes’. ‘He loves to roll in the sand and then swim so his fur ends up being a little matted, and sometimes he doesn’t want to leave,’ Laura added.

‘But when we get home, he always hops straight in the shower.’ The ‘gentle giant’ is known around the village, where ‘everyone loves him’. He’ll soon be swimming at a new beach when Laura and Brian take their ‘best friend’ on holiday with them in October.

(Story source: Metro)

Weasley & Spock: Hero cat and dog are regular blood donors to help other pets in need

An animal lover who spotted an appeal to give blood while she waited to see a vet has revealed that her two beloved pets are now regular donors.


Determined to help other animals in crisis, Mandie Pannell, 35, and her partner, Thomas Mills, 36, have now taken their five-year-old moggie, Weasley, to donate 10 times and six-year-old English pointer, Spock, five times.

University nurse educator Mandie, who lives near Potter’s Bar, Hertfordshire, is so proud of veteran donor Weasley that she entered him for a special hero award. ‘Weasley is absolutely a hero,’ she says.

‘He’s so good with the blood donations. He looks after the dog – especially when he’s scared – and he looks after our younger cat, who we are hoping will donate when he turns one.

‘Weasley’s so comfortable donating and purrs so much they even find it difficult to hear his heartbeat.

‘I entered him for the Petplan Pet Awards, in the Hero Pet of the Year category, as I also thought it would help spread the word about animal blood donors and he’s made it to the finals.

‘Not enough people know about animal – and especially feline – donors. ‘This is England – we’re a nation of animal lovers. We do things for each other. And it’s just a nice thing to be able to help someone else’s animal out.’

When Mandie and Thomas set up home together in 2015, they already had his dog, Spock – who he had raised since he was a tiny puppy – and black Labrador Banjo, who sadly died, aged 12, in 2017.

But, in November 2016, Weasley joined the clan as a surprise birthday present for Mandie’s 31st.

‘Thomas agreed to let me have a cat and, on my birthday on 3 November, he came home with Weasley – the best gift I’ve ever had,’ she says.

‘He’s named after the Weasley family in Harry Potter – as he’s ginger and he’s trouble! ‘He does occasionally still act like a kitten and he can be a bit of a handful. He’s extremely playful, loves cuddling, and loves “hunting” jumpers.’

Despite some rivalry, Weasley and Spock are very close.

‘From the get-go, Weasley has veered between bullying and cuddling up to Spock,’ says Mandie. ‘They’re like siblings – even if they sometimes hate each other. But they can also be really sweet together.’

In mid-2018, Weasley limped home late one summer evening with a wound on his back left leg. ‘It really upset me. We sensed that he’d attacked something and lost. He had a laceration and a bit of flesh missing from his leg,’ says Mandie.

Too late to go to their normal vets’ surgery, after looking up local out-of-hours providers, Mandie took Weasley to the nearby Royal Veterinary College.

‘We took him over there to be seen and they cleaned and dressed the wound and glued him up,’ she says. ‘While we were waiting, I saw a sign that they were looking for animal blood donors. I’d never known this to be a thing before that.’

Mandie made the decision to sign her furry friend up, knowing the importance of donating, as an experienced nurse. ‘Once he was all healed up and better, I emailed and asked for more information,’ she says. ‘They have to be clear of any medication for eight weeks, so about three months after the injury he gave his first lot of blood. ‘He’s just given his 10th donation – as it’s every three to four months for cats. He’s a true hero.’

Now, Mandie is contacted around every 12 weeks and asked to bring Weasley in over the next few days.

The team give him a thorough health check by a vet, shave a patch of fur and take blood, all while ‘giving him lots of fuss,’ according to Mandie.

‘I drop him off and they phone when the donation is finished,’ she says. ‘Then he gets intravenous fluids just to help him, as cats don’t recover as much as dogs, as they’re quite small. ‘The actual donation takes around 10 minutes and after three or four hours I go and pick him up.’

The service also assesses the animals beforehand to ensure they are suitable to be blood donors.

Mandie says: ‘One of the things I love about the donor service is that they are so good with animals. They assess them first and see if their temperament is suitable and they won’t be unduly stressed. ‘Weasley has been so chilled – he’s an ideal candidate.’ The amount of blood donated also depends on the weight of the cat – who must weigh 4lb minimum.

For Spock, who became a donor around the same time, the process is quicker, as dogs do not need rehydration fluids afterwards. ‘The teams that do this are absolutely amazing at keeping the animals calm,’ Mandie adds. ‘They’re also excellent at dealing with the worries of an owner – as sometimes it’s like with children, when the parents are more worried than the child.

‘But I know if something happened to one of my animals and they needed blood I’d want it to be there, so this really is important. ‘The idea of another pet owner not having access to the blood that could save their beloved animal just breaks my heart.’

When Mandie was emailed by Petplan, she immediately decided to put forward Weasley for the award.

‘Not enough people know about cat blood donation and I saw this award as a really good way to try and bring a little bit more awareness to it,’ she says. ‘And, of course, Weasley is a true hero, so he deserves to win.’

(Article source: Metro)

Can your pup remember their toys’ names? They might be a genius like these dogs

We all think our own children and pets are the cleverest, but obviously we’re biased.

toys names

Metro reports that new research shows that dogs can actually be even smarter than we think, and there’s a way to tell which dogs are ‘gifted’ or not.

Hungarian scientists spent two years studying the memory capabilities of dogs, using an online tool called The Genius Dog Challenge to livestream the experiments.

Six pooches were chosen for this round of tests, with the main stipulation being that they’re able to recognise a certain number of toys or objects by name. All dogs were eligible to take part, but the ones that showed the most promise all happened to be border collies.

In the study, the researchers wanted to push the limits of their talent, so they challenged the owners to teach their dogs the names of six and then 12 new toys, for one week.

According to the researchers, they were amazed by each performance, as most learned the 12 new toy names in one week and remembered them for two months after.

Shany Dror was the experiment’s leading researcher from the Family Dog Project at the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest. She said: ‘We know that dogs can easily learn words that are linked to actions, such as “sit” or “down”. But very few dogs can learn the names of objects. ‘For more than two years we searched around the world for dogs that had learned the names of their toys, and we managed to find six.’

The dogs: Max, from Hungary, Gaia from Brazil, Nalani, from the Netherlands, Squall from Florida, Whisky from Norway, and Rico from Spain, all qualified to participate in the experiments after proving to know the names of more than 28 toys, with some knowing more than 100.

Dr Claudia Fugazza, who was the head of the research team, said: ‘These gifted dogs can learn new names of toys at a remarkable speed. ‘In our previous study, we found that they could learn a new toy name after hearing it only four times. ‘But, with such short exposure, they did not form a long-term memory of it.’

The fact all six finalists in the challenge – broadcast to YouTube for dog lovers to watch – were border collies is likely to do with the breed’s background.

Shany explained: ‘Originally border collies were bred to work as herding dogs, so most of them are very sensitive and responsive to the behaviour of their owners. ‘However, although the ability to learn names of toys appears to be more common among Border Collies, in a recently published study, we found that even among this breed, it is very rare. ‘Moreover, this talent is not unique to this breed. We are constantly searching for more gifted dogs.’

Earlier studies have shown that other breeds showcase similar talent, like the yappy Yorkshire Terrier. Apart from being a hit among fans on YouTube, the scientists who completed the study believe it’ll also advance our knowledge of dog behaviour. They added: ‘By studying these dogs, we can not only better understand dogs but also better understand ourselves.’

The Genius Dog Challenge team is encouraging dog owners who believe their dogs can recognise and remember multiple toy names to contact them through their website.

(Story source: Metro)

Go to work! Cats are wishing their owners would go back to the office – all this homeworking disrupts their alone time

Humans might be happy about flexible working, but nobody asked the felines how they feel about it.

homeworking cats

This brave new world of working from home is all very well, but did anyone think to ask the nation’s cats how they feel about their owners being around all day?

Animal experts have said that while many humans are glad to have ditched the routine of being in their office five days a week – especially when it means they can relax after some stressful emails by picking up Mr Tiddles and giving his thick fur a good stroke – many cats are desperate for some alone time.

JoAnna Puzzo, feline welfare manager at Battersea, says that after 18 months of the pandemic she has seen numerous cats that need “time to do their own thing”.

Some are showing serious signs of stress, from increased aggression to blocked bladders, caused in part by their solitary lifestyles being disrupted.

Pet owners will have hoped that their animals would be glad of more company and attention – but while most dogs will have loved it, cats often have contrasting desires.

When the pandemic first began, a lot of the worry and advice about how pets would be affected was mainly focused on dogs, explains Puzzo. “It was about how dogs would cope with things like separation anxiety once humans went back to the office.

“We weren’t thinking about how cats were being affected, not only by the change of routine, but also having their owners actually around a lot more.”

It may be a cliché, but cats really are very different from dogs. “It can be quite easy for us to just assume that they’re very similar,” says Claire Stallard, an animal behaviour expert at the charity Blue Cross.

“For the most part, cats are really adaptable and they can cope with a reasonable amount of stress. But lockdown, particularly when schools were shut, was especially difficult. There were a lot of bored children and stress from a lot of people in one house not even being able to escape each other, let alone give the cat any quiet time.”

After the pandemic began, Battersea set up a helpline for owners to talk about their cat’s behaviour, and Stallard says that it soon became clear how many the animals were showing frustration at being over-handled.

“Cats typically like to have those interactions on their own terms, so they might want to interact with us several times a day, but for short periods of time,” she says.

Not all cats are the same, however. Those that interrupt video calls by wandering across computer keyboards with their tail held high may indeed prefer to have their family around, says Stallard. Her cat, Sadie, has sadly passed away now but she remembers how much she loved sitting on a laptop.

“Some cats like homeworking because it might be more in line with their own social behaviour, popping in to see you every now and again, rather than you just coming home at the end of the day and then lavishing all your love and attention on the cat.

“We’ve just got to be mindful of those cats which are really used to their privacy and their solitude during the day. Make allowances for that.”

Daniel Cummings, behaviour officer at the charity Cats Protection, advises people not to assume their pet is happy just because they’re not causing problems. “We will often say, ‘The cat is fine,’ and by that we mean, ‘The cat is not doing anything that bothers me.’ But if a cat is hiding away for hours, it might be avoiding humans because it’s stressed.

“The key is: are you seeing happy, positive body language from the cat? Has the cat been coming into your room for attention? Is the cat engaging with play? Don’t just assume the cat is happy.”

Mr Cummings says the best way to give our cats the option of more alone time is to make it possible for them to get away from us if they want to. They may benefit from being able to hide in cardboard boxes or igloo beds, so it’s good to leave those lying around. It’s also worth providing cats with high-up spaces they can escape to.

“When cats are feeling a bit stressed or uncomfortable,” says Mr Cummings. “They love to get off the ground. Whether you buy a cat tree or just clear a space off the shelf and put a blanket on it, a cat might enjoy that.”

He also encourages people to find a clear Perspex tub or sturdy cardboard box and flip it upside down so the cat is able to stand on it. “You might have a cat walking down the hallway,” he says, “and all of a sudden, three children and a dog come from the other end of the hallway, and the cat’s got nowhere to go.

“Whereas if they can just hop up onto the box and let the dog and the kids walk past without bothering them, they will feel more confident.”

In a really busy household, Cummings also recommends a puzzle feeder – a food dispensing toy – in a quiet spot. Of course, the greatest thing we can do is to book ourselves a trip and give the cat the personal space it’s been craving for 18 months.

You never know, it might even be happy to see us when we get back.

How to know if your cat wants you to mog off back to the office

Cats are difficult to read because they can be less expressive than dogs, but they are still very sensitive animals. Battersea’s JoAnna Puzzo advises that these are some of the signs of a stressed cat:

  • Sleeping more than usual
  • A dull, dandruff-covered coat
  • Spending a lot more time outside, away from where any disruption is occurring
  • Hiding in the house more than usual
  • Showing a heightened startle response, such as jumping at the slightest noise
  • “Feigned sleeping” – when a cat pretends to sleep to shut out stress
  • A change in appetite, over-grooming or over-eating
  • Urinating or defecating outside the litter tray

If you’re concerned, check with a vet to rule out any medical issues that could be affecting the cat’s behaviour.

(Article source: Inews)

Guardian Angel: a dog lover creates a close-knit community in a London park

Meet Mark Davis, the Guardian Angel who runs free dog socialisation classes loved by pooches and their people.

Guardian Angel

Mark Davis carries around photographs of his now- deceased dogs Bonnie, Smokey, Zola and Bobby, and shows them to people who attend the free dog socialisation sessions he has run every morning in Norwood Park, south-east London, for 18 years.

“During lockdown, Mark was always there, and someone to talk to,” says Caspar Melville, an academic who nominated Davis for this column after taking his dog to the sessions. “He’s a local legend.”

The sessions started organically. “I had my dogs and I’d always bring water and treats in a bag,” says Davis, 62. “Other dogs would run up and have a drink and see me giving my dogs treats, and would want some.”

He started bringing extra, including carrot batons, and a community was born.

Dogs have long been the most important thing in his life. Bonnie was a crossbreed who looked like a fox. “She was the matriarch,” Davis, a former scaffolder, reminisces, “a very bossy lady.”

Bonnie got pregnant by a staffordshire bull terrier, and Davis delivered her pups after a night in the pub. “I’ve never sobered up so fast in my life,” he says.

He kept two pups from the litter: Smokey and Zola (the rest he gave to his friends at no cost).

When Davis’s mother died, he inherited her three-year-old yorkshire terrier, Bobby. “He wouldn’t stand for any nonsense,” he says.

“He used to protect the group. He’d put his chest out and sort them out, put them in their place.” Davis spoiled all the dogs.

“If I was having something,” he said of his meals, “they’d have to have the same. I’d try to give them dog food and they’d look at me (as if) to say, what are you eating?”

Davis grew up in the 1960s in the post-war Notre Dame housing estate in Clapham, south London.

“I was a very heavy drinker when I was younger,” he says. Dogs saved him. “Having a dog gives you a lot more responsibility. It kept me out of the pub.”

Bobby was the last of that posse of dogs to die. To thank Davis for running the sessions all those years, the socialisation group raised money to pay for Bobby’s cremation.

He has his dogs’ ashes in urns in his flat. “I like dusting them and looking at them every day,” he says. “They were my babies.”

After Bobby died, Davis didn’t think he could love another dog. Then a friend gave him Frankie, a yorkie-border terrier mix. He takes her to the park daily for the socialisation group. He is there every morning, whatever the weather, at picnic tables near the skate park.

Davis prepares the carrots the day before. “They have to be a certain size. They’re so fussy, dogs.” The dogs’ water is filtered.

Usually, about 15 dogs (and their humans) show up. “We’ve had up to 30,” says Davis. “They sniff each other, make friends, then run back for a carrot and a drink.”

As restrictions have eased, many first-time owners have shown up with their lockdown puppies. It’s more than puppy playtime – Davis is doing a public service.

“It’s very important to socialise dogs when they are young,” he says. “Otherwise, you get problems. Some dogs are very nervous, but before long they love it out here. Their tails are wagging.”

By his own account, he has broken up with at least three women over the years because of the dogs, although he is in a long-distance relationship with a woman who lives abroad.

“We get on great,” he says. She won’t share a bed with a dog, so when she visits, she sleeps on the sofa. “I bought her a quilt and two pillows,” says Davis. “I’m not kicking my baby out of bed for anyone.”

After Bobby’s death and before he got Frankie, Davis continued to run the group. “You’ve got to hold the fort. It doesn’t matter what’s going on.

Cities are funny places, especially London.

“People can be suspicious, but if you have a dog, it’s different. It breaks the ice.” Many friendships have been made through the group.

On New Year’s Eve, Davis takes prosecco and turnovers for all. He is one-man proof that the loneliness of big-city life can be overcome if you are generous with your time and love your neighbour’s dog as your own.

Davis is bewildered by the attention. “I don’t think I’m doing anything good,” he insists. “It’s just a pleasure seeing the dogs.” It takes a month of phone calls before he agrees to let me do something nice for him.

Then I suggest having a professional portrait painted of all five of his dogs.

Working from old photographs, the watercolour artist Hannah Berrisford paints Smokey, Zola, Frankie, Bonnie and Bobby.

The dogs look down at their former master from the great doggie playground in the sky.

“It is amazing,” says Davis when the painting arrives. “Thank you. I am over the moon with it. I’m going to put it in the front room. It’s so lovely.”

He adds, not for the first time: “I don’t deserve it.”

(Article source: The Guardian)

Meet the ‘Chimera’ kitten, probably the cutest ‘accident’ that ever happened to nature

Watch out Venus, there’s a new two-face in town!

chimera cat

Quimera, a gorgeous kitten from Argentina whose unusual features are taking the internet by storm.

The reason is her unique looking in the cutest way possible. Her condition is known as a chimera – a rare natural occurrence whereby an individual is made up of cells from at least two different original eggs. But together, they create a single organism with two different forms of DNA.

According to Bored Panda, the kitten’s special look could also be due to a mosaic, much more common in felines, which is only one individual egg that just happens to have different active genetic expressions in its cells.

Either way, she’s just gorgeous! Her blue eye especially appears like some kind of precious stone, bright and beautiful and an utter contrast to her other eye. The colour split continues down her chest to her front legs, with the sides reversed.

Ooh, and I forget to mention Quimera won over the Instagram, too. Her lucky human parents are taking care for her account to be updated regularly as she goes about her kitty life, unaware of her fame and unique appeal to cat lovers around the world.

She’s definitely the most gorgeous cat I’ve ever seen! Quimera has built up quite a following on Instagram, with over 85,000 followers which gets updated regularly as she goes about her kitty life!

(Story source: Homes Luxury)

Meet Marley, the permanently disappointed cat who looks like he’s always judging you

Say hello to Marley, the 13-year-old orange tabby cat who has a permanently grumpy face that looks like he’s judging you and your poor life choices.

permanently disappointed cat

Homes Luxury reports that he lives in California with his Siamese brother, Sherman and his beloved owners. They are a special family. Not only does Marley have a naturally disappointed face, but Sherman also has crossed eyes.

Together, the adorable and special cats have developed an Instagram page with more than 67.000 followers. Their fans love them so much that they give them many cute gifts. What lucky boys!

(Story source: We Love Cats)

Reuniting the pack: It took 16 months and a journey through six cities to bring our dog Luna home

When Gadia Zrihan’s family were forced to leave their dog behind, they left a part of themselves too – a part they feared they could never get back.

reuniting the pack

In the drab uncertainty of Sydney’s lockdown, silver linings can be hard to come by. But you never know. Ours arrived on our doorstep a few days ago in the form of a wet nose, an irrepressible appetite for walks and the uncanny ability to sniff out discarded food scraps at great distance. Enter Luna.

Luna is not a pandemic puppy and she is no lockdown stopgap. But we haven’t seen her for a long time. Sixteen months to be exact.

We moved to Washington DC early in 2016, when Barack Obama was president and the world still seemed to spin on a predictable axis.

The first few months adjusting to a new country were tough; my middle child missed her friends and bawled her eyes out almost every night, convinced that she would never be able to feel at home in the US without a dog. She made it sound like an ultimatum. We succumbed.

We found a rescue – a feisty, one-year-old, Jack Russell-Beagle mix with soulful brown eyes and a rough past on the backroads of South Carolina. Luna came home with us on a summer evening bright with fireflies, and we never looked back. Every day after dropping my daughter off at our local elementary school, I walked Luna at the nearby dog park.

It was there I met a motley crew of other mutt-loving mums who would become my best friends and rock-solid community throughout our posting. With Luna by our side, we survived the Trump years, explored our new home, and had the adventure of our lives.

The end of our time in the US coincided with the unleashing of Covid. Kids stopped going to school and everything closed down. We hoped it would all be over in a few months, but there was dread in the air. Not knowing whether we would have to shelter in place or return to the motherland made our imminent departure even more stressful. Luna had been through months of vet visits to comply with Australian requirements and was booked on a plane so that we could retrieve her soon after our arrival. That was not to be. Mere days before our departure we got the phone call saying that all pet travel on flights had been cancelled.

We were gutted.

Our children were beyond distraught. Who could take Luna? Would we have to let her go… Unbelievably, our DC community, those dog-park mums, came to the rescue, generously offering to look after Luna for as long as it would take. We figured a couple of months. We were way off.

I remember our last walk with Luna; the sense of disbelief, the city awash with April cherry blossoms. Leaving our adopted home during Covid was unnatural and disassociating. There were no farewell parties, no last, loving hugs. The primary emotion was a sort of numbness, shot through with moments of sudden grief. I remember standing in our garden with Luna and our friends at a distance as they offered parting pandemic gifts: plastic gloves and hand-sewn face masks. Our eyes reached for each other but our arms could not. Unable to say a proper goodbye to the city or our friends, our departure felt open-ended. We left Luna behind, and with her a part of ourselves.

We patched up the hole as best we could and fell to the work of settling in. As time passed, we started believing that maybe we weren’t so attached to her. And anyway, there seemed to be no easy way to get her back. Only our youngest kept crying bitter tears, longing to be reunited with her dog. The rest of us surrendered to reality. We thought the distance would temper our fondness. We were wrong.

When the bureaucratic wheels of her return finally started turning, the excitement began to bubble up again, but there were also nerves. Would she recognise us? Would it all work out?

On the day of her departure, a blistering heatwave hit DC and the airline would not risk taking her as cargo. The pet company drove her to New York instead, but the traffic was so bad, she missed her flight. And so began Luna’s odyssey, including a stay in a tatty New Jersey cargo hold until she boarded a plane bound for Los Angeles, a week in its urban airport pet lounge with multiple carers, a long-haul flight to Singapore for another stayover, before she finally arrived in Melbourne for her obligatory 10-day quarantine. We wondered what state we would find her in after such a journey. We counted down the days and readied ourselves for an epic family reunion drive.

And then, boom, lockdown two! We were trapped in Sydney days before Luna’s release from quarantine. We couldn’t believe it. It all seemed doomed. Family in Melbourne were able to retrieve her and kindly took her in. Luna had made it safely across the ocean but could she cross the state lockdown divide? I harboured illicit fantasies of breaking her out of Melbourne, but eventually discovered a pet transport company that could do it legally.

The van arrived outside our house on a warm and breezy Sydney day and as soon as the doors slid open and she caught our scent from her crate, she started to make little moans of recognition. After all this time, she still knew who we were. She all but knocked us over with a tail that did not stop wagging while we lavished her with love. Right there and then, my son promised her we would never leave her again. With Luna home, lockdown life has changed. We feel more energised, the world seems broader. She has literally grown the love in our home. Our sullen teens make multiple daily declarations of adoration as they bury their faces into her warm body. And our youngest finally has a playmate again – you can feel the joy bouncing back into her. I, too, appreciate Luna’s comforting presence in ways that I didn’t foresee before lockdown and let myself forget while she was away.

She hasn’t just come home to us, we have come home through her. She closed a circle of unsaid goodbyes and carried with her the imprint of friends and loved ones far away, who took her in. Her odyssey through pandemic and lockdowns and quarantines, through fire and flood, far from the place she knew, was also ours.

A few hours after the initial tumult and excitement of Luna’s return had subsided, I spied my eight-year-old daughter deeply ensconced on the couch with her long-lost dog and asked how she felt. Without skipping a beat, she patted Luna’s head, looked me in the eye and said: “I feel complete. The pack is back together.”

(Article source: The Guardian)