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."
Across America, people are cutting back on everything from new clothing to evenings out on the town. But Americans just can’t say no to a cuddly kitten.
Spending data recently released by the American Pet Products Association (APPA) reveals that the pet care industry grew by about 5 percent in 2009, and industry experts are expecting equal growth in 2010, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The APPA data reflects spending increases on pet food, supplies, veterinary care, live animal purchases as well as grooming and boarding services. In total, the industry made about $45.5 billion in 2009, and spending is expect to be close to $48 billion this year.
Pet industry experts are saying that our tendency to "humanize" pet products and services is largely responsible for the increased spending.
In 2009, veterinary care alone grew by 8.5 percent as pet owners splurged on innovative services like spa treatments and dental cleanings for their pampered animals, reports the news source.
The field seems to be ripe for growth as new ideas emerge. Last year, entrepreneurs started businesses that focused on removing pet droppings from yards for a weekly fee and developing ice cream that is palatable to dogs.
Carrie Underwood may be a country superstar, but she’s also an animal lover, proving it in her new public service announcement (PSA).
Before she became famous thanks to American Idol, Underwood worked at a local vet clinic, according to PeoplePets.com. The country crooner also goes home to Oklahoma to volunteer at a local animal shelter in her spare time and is the owner of a dog named Ace, who she showers with affection and pet care.
"I can’t imagine life without my dog," she told the news provider. "Dogs are just beautiful souls that don’t want a thing from you."
Underwood will be appearing in a PSA for Pedigree’s adoption drive campaign, which encourages prospective pet owners to look into adopting their animals from local shelters as opposed to pet stores, which often run the risk of carrying dogs that are bred in inhumane puppy farms.
Ace appears with his owner in the ad, which is set to air in mid February, and staff members told the news provider that he’s a "natural" in front of the camera.
Adopting from a shelter may help save an animal’s life, as the American Humane Society reports that 3.7 million animals in shelters were euthanized in 2008.
Oscar, the cat who shot to national stardom for his uncanny ability to predict the deaths of nursing home patients, is getting another wave of media attention thanks to a book published in his honor.
The cat has been a resident of the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence, Rhode Island, for approximately five years, according to USA Today. A normally reserved cat, he only curls up to individuals a few hours before they’re going to die.
David Dosa, who works at the facility as a geriatrician, did not believe the hype at first, thinking the alleged "death cat" was simply a coincidence. However, after studying Oscar’s behavior and researching events, Dosa was inspired to write a book.
Oscar isn’t the only feline who calls the center home, six other cats live in the rehabilitation facility, although they don’t seem to hold the same phenomenal power. The other cats appear to just want pet care and attention from the residents.
Dosa believes that the animals are there to provide comfort to the residents, despite the fact that some individuals may feel uneasy when they see Oscar coming their way.