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Therapy cat named Duke Ellington lifts spirits on hospital visit

A cat named after a jazz legend hit all the right notes on a recent visit to a California hospital.

Duke Ellington, a serene black and white cat, made an appearance at UCSF Medical Center on Monday, delighting patients and staff. The hospital posted a video of the cat’s visit on its Facebook page along with the caption, “Our therapy cat, "Duke Ellington" Morris, brings furry snuggles and joy to critically ill patients in our intensive care unit! Our staff thinks he's pretty "purr"-fect too!”

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

Duke the therapy cat visits UCSF!Our therapy cat, "Duke Ellington" Morris, brings furry snuggles and joy to critically ill patients in our intensive care unit! Our staff thinks he's pretty "purr"-fect too!Posted by UCSF Medical Center on Monday, January 23, 2017  

The cat makes his rounds on a cart, and even managed to fit in a catnap during his visit.


Maverick, golden retriever who won hearts while battling cancer, dies

A 9-year-old golden retriever who won thousands of hearts with his sweet wagon rides throughout his Florida community as he battled cancer, has died, his owners announced Sunday.

Maverick died peacefully in his sleep Saturday night, owners Joey and Allison Maxwell, announced on his Facebook page, Everybody Loves Maverick.

“He gave no signs of being ill, and didn’t suffer at all. He simply went to sleep after dinner,” Joey Maxwell, of DeLand, wrote on the page. “Allison and I are absolutely heartbroken, yet we are at peace knowing that Maverick is now at rest.”

Maverick began making national headlines in October after workers at Maxwell’s local Lowe’s store helped make a wish for Maverick come true. Maxwell, who knew that his beloved dog’s time was short, wanted to take him on a wagon ride through town to visit friends, but could not find a wagon.

The staff at Lowe’s called area stores until they found a wagon for Maverick, who was unable to walk because of his illness. They had it sent to the store and put it together for him.

"Dear Lowe's Home Improvement, Lowe's, I cannot thank you enough for making this picture possible. Let me...Posted by Love What Matters on Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Maverick’s joyful rides through DeLand, during which he made many new friends, didn’t just bring him a following of nearly 14,000 people on Facebook. They also helped him pull off a brief remission of his cancer, including regaining some movement in his hind legs.

He had a good checkup at the vet as recently as Jan. 10. Photos and videos on Maverick’s Facebook page showed him eating, relaxing and playing with his toys.

The final video that Maxwell posted of Maverick was of him enjoying his breakfast on the morning of the day he died.

Posted by Everybody Loves Maverick on Saturday, January 21, 2017

Maxwell thanked Maverick’s followers for their love, kindness and support.

“You have all loved Maverick as though he were your own, and we know that ours are not the only hearts breaking today,” Maxwell wrote. “Please know that Maverick heard and felt all of your comments, well wishes and love. We read him every one we could and gave him every hug and kiss you sent his way.

“Today is going to be hard for all of us. Allison and I are thoroughly convinced that Maverick more than served his purpose during his brief time with us, and know that his legacy will live on.”

Good morning everyone. We are so incredibly sorry to have to share bad news with you all this morning. Last night at...Posted by Everybody Loves Maverick on Sunday, January 22, 2017

Michelle Obama takes dogs Sunny and Bo on final walk through White House

The Obamas will soon leave the White House for the last time as the president and first lady. Their eight years in the historic house is coming to an end.

>> Read more trending stories  

First lady Michelle Obama took the Obama’s Portuguese water dogs Bo and Sunny on what’s described as a final walk through the building the Obama’s have called home now since 2009.

Taking it in on one last walk through the People's House.— The First Lady (@FLOTUS) January 18, 2017

She tweeted out a short video of the stroll, as she walked with a dog on either side.

The Obamas received Bo as a gift in 2009 and added Sunny to the family in 2013.

Reward increases in case of dog found in Detroit with ears, nose cut off

The Michigan Humane Society is seeking the public’s help in a horrific case of animal abuse, and the reward for information has greatly increased.

The organization received a call from a concerned citizen in a Detroit neighborhood on Tuesday, and a rescue team located the injured Rottweiler mix and rushed him to an animal hospital after observing his severe wounds, according to a press release from the Michigan Humane Society.

The dog’s ears and nose were cut off, and the dog suffered lacerations to his legs and tail.  

>> Read more trending stories

The Michigan Humane Society is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the...Posted by Michigan Humane Society on Wednesday, January 18, 2017

“It appears that someone purposely maimed this poor dog, which has caused it a great deal of suffering,” said Mark Ramos, a lead cruelty investigator for the Michigan Humane Society.

There is a reward being offered by the Humane Society for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the individual or individuals involved in the crime. Originally, the reward was $2,500 but as of Friday, the reward was $32,000 and growing. Those with information can call the hotline at 313-872-3401.

After receiving an overwhelming amount of support from the community, #MHS is excited to share that the reward to help...Posted by Michigan Humane Society on Friday, January 20, 2017

The dog, named Baron, is being treated for his severe injuries and is not available for fostering or adoption at this time, according to the Michigan Humane Society. Those who want to help can donate to the organization’s cruelty investigation team. Updates on Baron’s condition will be available on the Michigan Humane Society’s Facebook page.

Why pit bulls have a bad reputation

You may have heard bad things about pit bulls. More than 700 cities across the country have placed bans on the breed. Stories of attacks, bad behavior and strong bites have made people fear the once-beloved breed. 

>> Read more trending stories  

Experts say the culture of dog fighting has contributed to the pit bull's bad reputation. The dogs are often conditioned to make them more angry and aggressive. 

As of 2014, pit bulls were responsible for 68 percent of dog attacks and 52 percent of dog-related deaths since 1982. 

>> Montreal's pit bull ban goes into effect

However, before they were categorized as a fearful breed, pit bulls were popular as household dogs. They were known as loving protectors for children and families. 

Pit bulls make up a large number of sheltered dogs and are euthanized at high rates.

Child killed, another injured in pit bull attack

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution contributed to this story.

A boy has died, and a girl was seriously injured after a pit bull attack in southwest Atlanta.

>> Read more trending stories 

The attack happened around 7:30 a.m. Tuesday while the children were walking to F.L. Stanton Elementary School.

Three children were present during the attack, but only two were mauled by the dogs, WSB-TV reported.

A 6-year-old boy was sent to Grady Memorial Hospital, and a girl was taken to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston. The injured girl was listed in stable condition at a local hospital. The boy died at Grady Hospital's trauma unit.

A neighbor detailed the graphic moment neighbors rushed to save three children, during the attack.

"I (ran) up on the girl. She had been mauled very badly. The dog just ripped into her," neighbor Angie Smith told WSB-TV. "I ran to the baby, and when I looked down at her, I knew there was nothing that I could do." 

The scene showed clothing and other items strewn outside the home.

Animal control was sent to the scene, where officers contained two dogs. Sgt. Warren Pickard said a third dog was shot by officers.

"Our officers couldn't get control of it in a manner that he felt safe," Atlanta police Sgt. Warren Pickard said, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "So our policies and procedures allow us to act in that capacity."

The owner of the dogs, Cameron Tucker, was taken into custody, but police did not go into detail about any criminal charges.

"We're still trying to evaluate to figure out what really happened," Pickard told the AJC.

Shamonta Clayton, a neighbor to both children injured, said he woke up this morning to screams and ran outside. He found a little girl badly mauled.

"As I get to the end of the street, I see the child's unconscious body laying in the middle of the street," Clayton said.

He noticed another dog and followed it, finding children pinned on a porch on the backside of an abandoned house.

"So I chased the dog away from the kids, and I noticed the second child, a little boy, his unconscious body laying down in the grass," Clayton said.

The dog circled back to the child, and Clayton said he chased the dog off with his gun.

"I picked the child's body up because his mom couldn't do nothing but sit there and just cry," Clayton said.

Pickard said some children "ran back to the scene to try to pull the dogs off the children that were injured."

F.L. Stanton Elementary released a statement regarding their students:

"Atlanta Public Schools can confirm that two F.L. Stanton Elementary students walking to the bus stop were attacked by pitbulls. Both students were transported to Egleston Hospital. One student was transported back to Grady Hospital's trauma unit and later passed away.  The female student at Egleston is in stable condition. Atlanta Public Schools sent a crisis team to F.L. Stanton this morning to provide grief counseling for students and staff. Our deepest condolences go out to the family."

<iframe src="//;border=false" width="100%" height="750" frameborder="no" allowtransparency="true"></iframe> <script src="//;border=false"></script> [View the story "Pit bull attack" on Storify]

Video shows dog standing on trailer of car on busy interstate

A woman who was driving in the Palm Coast area recorded video of a dog on top of a trailer while the car was traveling on Interstate 95.

>> Read more trending stories  

The woman, Brenna Cronin, said she could not get the driver's license plate information when the vehicle exited the interstate.

Cronin, who said the dog was chained to a crate, posted the video on Facebook. The video has been viewed more than 2 million times. 

Warning: Graphic profanity is at the end of the Facebook video.

People commenting on the Facebook post said they sent the video to authorities in Flagler County. Others expressed anger and asked the woman why she did not call 911.

The owner of the dog told Action News Jax that he didn't think he did anything wrong and that the dog prefers to ride on top of the cage rather than inside it. 

Action News Jax reported that the speed limit on the highway is 70 mph.

After seeing the video, St. Johns County animal control officers said they planned to conduct a wellfare check on the driver's animals in St. Augustine, where he lives. 

Tuna, star of the Amazing Acro-Cats, dies of cancer

The cowbell won't sound quite the same now that Tuna, the star of the Amazing Acro-Cats cat circus, has died.Happy Cats Haven posted the news Friday on its Facebook page: "To all our fans of Tuna and The Rock Cats and the Amazing Acro-Cats, it's with many tears that we let you know that Samantha Martin's star kitty Tuna crossed the Rainbow Bridge yesterday from cancer."

>> Read more trending stories 

To all our fans of Tuna and The "Rock-cats" and the Amazing Acrocats, it's with many tears that we let you know that...Posted by Happy Cats Haven on Friday, January 13, 2017

Tuna had recently been diagnosed with oral cancer, and on Wednesday, chief cat trainer Martin posted on the Acro-Cats Facebook page: “Spending my last night with Tuna by a lovely fire. Tomorrow she will go to the rainbow bridge. It is time. My world will be forever changed.”

Spending my last night with Tuna by a lovely fire. Tomorrow she will go to the rainbow bridge.  It is time. My world will be forever changed 😿😿😿Posted by Tuna and The "Rock-cats" on Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Tuna was a major star in the Acro-Cats show. She rang a bell to begin the show and also played cowbell during the Rock Cats musical performance, in addition to performing timed leaps and jumps. While Morton said during shows that Tuna did not have an affectionate personality, she was a workaholic who loved learning new tricks.

See Tuna in action during a 2009 performance.

The Acro-Cats is a cat circus show featuring rescued cats that tours the country, delighting fans of all ages. Morton seeks to educate audiences on cat behavior, and prove to everyone that cats can be trained. Morton also rescues stray cats and helps them get adopted while on tour.

'Pioneer Woman' says goodbye to 'Charlie the Ranch Dog' in bittersweet blog post

Ree Drummond, also known as the Pioneer Woman, is mourning the loss of her dog, Charles.

Charles, the title character in Drummond's "Charlie the Ranch Dog" children's books, died Sunday, according to Drummond's website.

>> Read the post here

<script>(function(d, s, id) {</span><br /><span>  var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];</span><br /><span>  if (d.getElementById(id)) return;</span><br /><span>  js = d.createElement(s); = id;</span><br /><span>  js.src = "//;version=v2.8";</span><br /><span>  fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);</span><br /><span>}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script> Posted by The Pioneer Woman - Ree Drummond on Monday, January 9, 2017

The basset hound had suffered from lymphoma over the past year. When its conditioned worsened, Drummond said she decided to have the dog put to sleep.

Many took to Twitter to tell Drummond about the dog's impact on their families.

Thank you to everyone for your kind words about Charlie. Someone told me today that friends double your joy and halve your sorrow. Thank you— Ree Drummond (@thepioneerwoman) January 9, 2017 <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>

In a post on her website, Drummond said she will allow parents to decide whether or not to tell their children about Charlie's death. 

"It might not be necessary if they are younger!" she added.

>> Read more trending stories

Drummond is the television personality behind Food Network's "The Pioneer Woman," which stems from her longtime blogging about ranch life and Southern living. 

She recently opened The Mercantile in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, where she lives.

Pet deer gunned down by Kansas game wardens in front of upset family

 A pet deer on a Kansas farm was gunned down by state wildlife officials in front of its owners, outraging the Mcgaughey family and sparking a social media backlash.

Owner Taryn Mcgaughey told local news outlets in western Kansas that a game warden and two other officials showed up at her farm and shot her pet deer five times.

>> Read more trending stories 

“They followed her around our horse pen. The first shot in the leg by a handgun,” Taryn told People.

“And then they followed her around our property shooting her four more times in the back like target practice. He told me it would be done as humane as possible.”

The doe, named Faline, after the character in Disney’s “Bambi” movie, was considered an illegal pet under Kansas law.

Mcgaughey said the wardens killed the deer just a few minutes after giving her a warning notice that the animal was an illegal pet.

The family helped the deer when it showed up on their property with a broken leg two years ago and it never left, Mcgaughey said. She said the animal was like a family dog and that it even slept in the house.

Now the Mcgaugheys are calling for the removal of the game warden, but Kansas State Wildlife officials say he was just doing his job. Officials also said deer can carry serious diseases that can spread to other  animals, which is why they’re illegal to keep as pets

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