For many individuals, owning a pet can provide a sense of comfort and companionship. However, there are some people out there who are not able to care for a pet because of a mental or physical illness.
One organization is looking to give those who desire a furry friend but cannot keep one on their own the chance to play with animals through a pet therapy program, according to AikenStandard.com.
The Aiken SPCA Pet Therapy program pairs shelter animals with individuals who are either too old to take care of a pet or have mental or physical impairments that do not allow them to care for other living things.
The participants get to visit with the animals and bestow affection and pet care. In return, the pets offer a sense of comfort for someone who may otherwise be lonely.
Pet therapy programs have become more common throughout the country. Several senior citizen homes and rehabilitation facilities offer a similar program to give companionship to patients who may not have many visitors.
The blood bank is a typically human facility where individuals go to donate blood to help save the lives of trauma victims through blood transfusions. Now, animals are starting to get in on the action too.
The Eastern Veterinary Blood Bank (EVBB) in Severna Park, Maryland, collects blood donations from animals that go to various creatures that are hit by cars, suffering from a disease or requiring an operation, according to CNN.
Despite a few popping up across the country, animal blood banks are still a rarity, and EVBB is the nation’s largest. Still, many vets believe that these kinds of establishments can help dog and cat health after an animal is injured or becomes ill.
"We see a lot of injured animals come into the clinic, especially dogs hit by cars," a vet technician told the news provider. "Dogs, when they are hit, can lose a lot of blood internally."
There are six different blood types in dogs, however 42 percent of all breeds are universal donors, according to The Dog Health Guide.
Who knew Amy Winehouse was such a cat lover? The troubled singer recently called the local animal shelter to relieve her of her nine cats before she took off on her vacation to Jamaica.
Winehouse gave another two cats to her goddaughter, singer Dionne Bromfield, according to The Sun. It is unclear exactly how long the singer will be vacationing in the Caribbean island, however, she plans on moving residences upon her return to the United Kingdom and 11 cats were just too much to bear.
Although some people may consider owning 11 felines hoarding and detrimental to cat health, a source told the news provider that Winehouse deeply cared for all of her animals and was sad to part with them.
"Amy was pretty upset about it because she loved them dearly, but she had to give them up," the source said. "They were climbing all over the place, breeding and generally getting out of control."
Many blogs have posted outrage over the fact that Winehouse, who is known for her train wreck behavior, was allowed to provide pet care to even one animal, let alone 11.
Although many pet owners may believe that a dog or a cat is the way to go in terms of a furry companion, one woman believes that all you need is a capybara.
Capybaras, which are the world’s largest rodent, are not usually kept as pets, but that didn’t stop Melanie Typaldos from buying one from a breeder in Texas, according to MSNBC.
Typaldos is the owner of Caplin Rous, a 100-pound capybara that performs tricks like any other household pet, but resembles a giant hamster. She’s quick to point out that Caplin isn’t what most people perceive when they think of rodents.
"People hear the word rodent and they think it’s some kind of a dirty word," Typaldos told the news provider. "But many of them are very smart, clean, loving animals."
However, this exotic animal requires extensive pet care, such as being dipped in a pool at least once a day to stay clean, as well as a large yard for grazing purposes.
Caplin is also an internet sensation, with a blog, Facebook and Twitter account.
A mutt named Bella was recently rescued and placed in the care of an animal rescue worker after avoiding capture for several years, instead choosing to roam highway 395 in Oregon.
Several locals began to notice Bella wandering the highway many years ago, according to the Seattle Times. Although she had always avoided capture, dozens of individuals began looking after the mutt by leaving her food and even building her a makeshift dog house that would protect her from the cold.
A number of rescue attempts had gone underway, however, Bella always managed to escape. One time she went as far as to dart in front of oncoming traffic that left her with a broken leg, but she just kept running.
It wasn’t until she gave birth to a litter of puppies that rescue workers were able to apprehend her and her brood, and one of the volunteers took her in. Veterinarians nursed Bella back to good dog health and provided her with all of the necessary shots.
Some individuals will miss Bella wandering the highway, as she was a sense of comfort for many years.
"It felt so good to put my hands on her and touch her," Jan Taylor, a bus driver who stopped to feed Bella everyday on her way home, told the news provider. "It’s been so many years of seeing her out there, wandering in the rain and snow."