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Photo shows cat holding owners' hands on final trip to vet

A heartbreaking photo posted by Reddit user abernha3, shows a couple holding hands with their cat while on the way to the feline's final trip to the veterinarian. 

"He held our hands on his last trip to the vet," abernha3 captioned the photo. "Little Andrew was much stronger than his mom and I."

>> Read more trending stories  

According to the post, Little Andrew was 15-and-a-half years old and had gotten progressively sicker over the past year. 

"(He) got old and sick over the last year. He purred every day of his life and when he lost that, I knew it was time," abernha3 wrote.

His owner also said that Little Andrew was friendly and "loved everyone."

Reddit users who saw the photo offered their condolences and their own stories of loss of pets.

"I'm so sorry for your loss," one internet user wrote. "It's easy to see just from that one picture how much you loved him, and I'm sure he knew."

"It's amazing how they can tell when that final vet trip comes. Mine knew and was at peace about it, like yours was," another person said.

He held our hands on his last trip to the vet. Little Andrew was much stronger than his mom and I. from cats

Zoo Atlanta's giant panda, Lun Lun, expecting twins – again

Lun Lun, the prolific giant panda at Zoo Atlanta, is expecting twins – for the second time.

Zoo officials recently announced that Lun Lun was pregnant. An ultrasound on Monday confirmed that Lun Lun is carrying two fetuses.

As of Aug. 22, those two fetuses measured 2.68 centimeters and 2.19 centimeters.

Lun Lun, who turns 19 on Thursday, is the mother of the only pair of giant panda twins in the U.S., 3-year-olds Mei Lun and Mei Huan. While giant pandas often give birth to twins, usually only one cub survives because the mother tends to nurse only one of the pair.

>> Watch a video about the panda cubs' first 100 days

After the birth of Mei Lun and Mei Huan, Zoo Atlanta’s veterinary team performed a miraculous sleight of hand, by steadily replacing one cub with the other in their mother’s embrace, giving each a chance to nurse and bond.

>> PHOTOS: Zoo Atlanta panda twins getting cuter

The result: Atlanta has the only pair of panda twins in the U.S.

The zoo hopes to perform the same miracle with these two, but there are many obstacles ahead, including a successful birth.

>> Read more trending stories

Round-the-clock birthwatch began on Monday, but there is still no certainty. The zoo said in a statement, “fetal reabsorption is not uncommon in giant pandas.” Lun Lun has given birth to five cubs, three of which live in China at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding.

Lun Lun has been trained to participate in ultrasound exams, but her participation is “voluntary,” the zoo points out, so additional ultrasounds aren’t a sure thing either.

The twins could arrive any time in the next few weeks.

Minnesota dog elected mayor 3 times

A Minnesota dog has been elected mayor three times

The 9-year-old Great Pyrenees was first elected as a write-in candidate in the small town of Cormorant, Minnesota, in 2014, beating out his the human competition. 

"Three years ago, it happened by accident; it was a write-in vote. You pay a dollar and you can vote," said David Rick, Duke's owner.

"How (did) you feel after that election?" a reporter asked Richard Sherbrook, a former mayoral candidate who ran against Duke.

"Well, it was really depressing at first, but I'm getting over it real good," he told TV3. Sherbook later said that he would "back the dog 100 percent," and that Duke is "a sportsman and he likes to hunt -- he'll really protect the town."

>> Read more trending stories  

Duke's honorary position in a town of about 1,000 people isn't completely unprecedented in the state. Another small town in the state -- Dorset, Minnesota -- has had some unconventional mayors as well: preschool-age children.

Rick told WDAY that Duke won the election in a landslide.

"Everybody voted for Duke, except for one vote for his girlfriend, Lassie," he said.

"I don't know who would run against him because he's done such great things for the community," said Cormorant resident Karen Nelson, who added that the dog stays " pretty busy working at the farm."

There might be a giant snake on the loose in Maine

Police in Westbrook, Maine, were recently tipped off about a shed snake skin near the Presumpscot River said to be the length of a truck. It's just the latest chapter in the mystery of Wessie.

>> Watch the video from Newsy

So far, glimpses of the snake with a head the size of a softball have been sporadic. Wessie was reportedly first spotted near a playground in June. 

​Around 3pm today, Saturday, August 20th, a citizen reported finding a shed snake skin, pictured in the attached...Posted by Westbrook Maine Police Department on Saturday, August 20, 2016

>> See the Facebook post here

Days later, local police posted this. This seems to be a stock image, but the post said an officer saw a large snake eating what may have been a beaver. A second officer came to the scene and the pair estimated the snake was 10 feet long. 

>> Click here to read the post

On 6-29-16 at about 0330 hours an Officer on patrol in the area of Riverbank Park observed a large snake on the...Posted by Westbrook Maine Police Department on Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A biologist with the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife said the snake had to have come from somewhere other than Maine, as no native species could eat a beaver. His guess was that Wessie is a Burmese python and was once someone's pet. 

Since then, Wessie has gotten its own social media pages and even a beer named after it. 

But there have been no other reports of Wessie spottings until now, with the shed skin. Yet, some experts are skeptical of that, too. 

>> Read more trending stories

One reptile expert said it's pretty improbable to have a skin laid out like that naturally and suspected a human did it. 

A different expert likened the chances of a skin rolled out that way with the chances of a limbless person neatly setting out clothes. 

The mystery will have to be solved quickly, though. If Wessie is real, and is a Burmese python, it's unlikely to survive Maine's winter. 

Shelter treats dogs to 'puppuccinos' with hopes of adoption

The Kitsap Humane Society has a unique way of getting dogs out of the shelter so that people in the community can see the animals: a volunteer takes them to a local Starbucks. 

>> Read more trending stories  

The Puppuccino Pals program began in April at the Washington-area humane society. Every Tuesday, volunteer Molly Clark takes one of the shelter's dogs to the coffee chain for a treat and for exposure to potential adoptive families, The Dodo reported.

A photo posted by Kitsap Humane Society (@kitsaphumanesociety) on Aug 9, 2016 at 11:59am PDT <script async defer src="//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js"></script>

The 'puppuccino' is simply a small cup filled with whipped cream.

"The dogs love the shelter breaks, and they adore the puppuccinos," Kimberly Cizek Allen, events and outreach assistant coordinator at the Kitsap Humane Society, told The Dodo. "You can see it in their little eyes as they lick the whipped cream out of the cup."

Not only do the visits give the dogs a chance to take a break from the shelter and enjoy a car ride and a sweet snack, the Starbucks also posts signs telling customers about the dog of the week, in hopes that they might decide to adopt him or her.

A photo posted by Kitsap Humane Society (@kitsaphumanesociety) on Aug 2, 2016 at 10:28am PDT

And the dogs that can't make it on the outing don't miss out either. 

"Should a dog not be suited for an outing due to some type of limitation, Molly will take another dog on an outing, and bring a puppuccino back," Allen said. "That way the Puppuccino Pals dog can enjoy play yard time, or quiet room time, or whatever is most appropriate and still be featured in our program."

A photo posted by Kitsap Humane Society (@kitsaphumanesociety) on May 24, 2016 at 10:41am PDT

See more photos here.

Pet goldfish released in river grows to size of football

What do you do with an unwanted goldfish?

In Australia, many people are dumping their tanks in local rivers, freeing the fish and the former pets are growing, and growing and growing.

>> Read more trending stories  

Scientists are finding that the fish, which are part of the carp family, are swimming in rivers, traveling more than 142 miles in a year, the BBC reported.

Dr. Stephen Beatty said his team from Murdoch University has found many of the former house pets weighing more than a kilogram, or about two pounds. 

But that's not the largest they have found. The biggest goldfish came in at 4 pounds.

They're tracking the fish movements and sizes to help learn to control the invasive species.

Experts say dumped goldfish can harm water quality, disturb habitats and compete with native species.

If left to grow and thrive, they can live up to 25 years and be more than 15 inches long, the RSPCA said.

Dog chokes to death during game of fetch, vet questions toy

A Snohomish County family is devastated after their dog choked to death during a game of fetch. The veterinarian who treated the dog says the design of the ball may have played a role.

KIRO7 met sweet, loving, energetic Bentley back in January, when his family was trying to cope with losing his pal Kado in a suspected dog poisoning. His owners, Kathy and Lee Goltscher, were heartbroken.

They never expected to watch another one of their dogs die so tragically, but Friday -- during a routine game of fetch with a ball Bentley had for years -- the pit bull mix suffocated.

>> Read more trending stories  

"I immediately ran over to him and said 'OK, drop the ball.' I didn't realize immediately that the ball -- he couldn't drop it because it had already gone into his throat,” Lee explained, standing in the front yard where the whole ordeal unfolded.

Lee sliced open his finger on Bentley's teeth trying desperately to dislodge the ball.

“He was in such terror,” Lee said, still traumatized.

Dr. Joel Chatterson, the veterinarian Lee rushed Bentley to, couldn't get it either.

"It was really, really in there,” Dr. Chatterson said.

The ball was thick, hard rubber with very little give, but Dr. Chatterson believes a hole in the middle is what sealed Bentley's fate.

“If that ball didn't have the hole, then maybe the Heimlich like you do on people would work but you couldn't build up -- because of that hole -- you couldn't build up enough pressure,” Dr. Chatterson explained.

He says the safest balls for fetch are solid and flexible. That means if one does get stuck you can likely grab it.

"I didn't realize there was a danger. I never thought about it happening like that,” Lee said. But just like that, another member of the Goltscher family is gone.

Rare 4-eared cat is ready for adoption

A rare four-eared cat who has been undergoing treatment at the Western PA Humane Society is ready for a new home.

The cat, named Batman, was brought to the Humane Society on July 12 after its owner could no longer care for the animal, according to officials with the organization.

>> Read more trending stories

The rarely seen genetic mutation has been documented back to 1938 in Ashtabula, Ohio, with a four-eared cat named Toots. The mutation has been studied, and is argued to be a recessive gene mutation needed from both parents in order to produce four ears.

Batman, who is three years old, has been unavailable for adoption because he was being treated for an upper respiratory infection. The Humane Society said his sickness was not related to his extra set of ears and he is now feeling better.

Officials with the Humane Society said Batman is very friendly and would do well in a home with or without animals, as he came from a house with several animals.

"As an open door shelter, we take in and care for any animal brought to us. Just when you think you've seen it all, a four-eared cat comes in the door! We are excited Batman is feeling better and look forward to him finding his forever home," said Hala Nuemah, managing director of the Western PA Humane Society.

<iframe width="390" height="293" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/bkOLQam84t4?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Here's the most pet-friendly city in America

One Florida is the best place for pets in the country.

Wallet Hub compiled a list of the most pet-friendly cities in the United States, with Orlando coming in as the top spot for Fido. Tampa was listed as the third best city, with St. Petersburg following at 17. Other Florida cities on the list included: Miami (51), Jacksonville (58), and Hialeah (81).

After Orlando, the other most pet-friendly cities were Birmingham, Alabama; Lexington, Kentucky; Scottsdale, Arizona; Reno, Nevada; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Cincinnati, Ohio; Las Vegas, Nevada; and St. Louis, Missouri.

>> Read more trending stories  

According to Wallet Hub, the company compiled the data by comparing the 100 most populated cities in the country across three categories: pet budget, pet health and wellness and outdoor pet friendliness.

"Cities can make sure that pets have safe parks where they can run around and get exercise, and that they are welcome in places like rental housing and local businesses," Delcianna J. Winders, academic fellow in the Animal Law and Policy Program at Harvard Law School, told Wallet Hub. "More and more cities are adopting ordinances to ban the sale of commercially-bred pets and to require pet stores that want to feature animals to partner with local shelters. This is a hugely important step that helps consumers."

Orlando wasn’t only ranking highly on the overall list. It was near the top in most veterinarians, most pet businesses, most pet-friendly restaurants and most pet shelters. Miami also was ranked highly in terms of most pet businesses, with Tampa earning acclaim for most dog parks.

Read more at Wallet Hub.

Dog gets new legs after being attacked with sword

A dog in Thailand has been given two new legs. 

Cola was 9 months old when a man with a sword chopped off his legs, ABC in Australia reported. A neighbor of the owner punished the dog for chewing a pair of shoes.

The dog's owner offered his neighbor money to pay for the ruined shoes, but the neighbor came back that night with a sword. 

>> Read more trending stories 

The attacker said in court that it was an accident and was sent to detention for a month, according to news reports.

<script>(function(d, s, id) {  var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];  if (d.getElementById(id)) return;  js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id;  js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&amp;version=v2.7";  fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script>Cola is barely a year old and was just doing what puppies do. Having managed to get out of his home and into a neighbour...Posted by Soi Dog Foundation on Friday, May 6, 2016

The case was reported to Soi Dog Foundation, an animal welfare group in Asia, which helped save Cola's life.

Cola was fitted with a wheeled harness to help him get around as he healed. He also walked, or hopped, on his back legs. 

But new prosthetics help Cola run and play.

<script>(function(d, s, id) {  var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];  if (d.getElementById(id)) return;  js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id;  js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&amp;version=v2.7";  fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script>After having his two front legs hacked off with a sword, Cola shows the world he can rock prosthetics!Please join the Emergency Response Team today so that other dogs like Cola can be given the lives they deserve. Click here -> ert.soidog.org/cola to join now.Posted by Soi Dog Foundation on Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Cola also found a new home. The foundation's owner John Dalley and his wife Gill have taken Cola into their home. Gill Dalley and Cola have something in common. She is also a double amputee after losing her legs when she contracted a rare bacteria while rescuing a dog from a flooded field in 2004, ABC reported.

<script>(function(d, s, id) {  var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];  if (d.getElementById(id)) return;  js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id;  js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&amp;version=v2.7";  fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script>THERE'S NO STOPPING COLA!Cola had his two front legs severed with a sword for chewing a pair of shoes. But he showed the world there was no stopping him when he was fitted with prosthetic legs and immediately started walking again. Here's Cola mastering the stairs for the first time!Please help in the rescue and rehabilitation of cruelty cases such as this. We can't do it without you. Visit https://ert.soidog.org/cola now to help more animals like Cola.Posted by Soi Dog Foundation on Friday, July 29, 2016

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