On a good day, Peanut the orangutan greets visitors at Miami's Jungle Island zoo as they pass by her enclosure. If she likes them or finds them particularly interesting – yes, even great apes have discerning taste when it comes to people – she'll go out of her way to earn their attention with what her primary caregiver Linda Jacobs describes as "this twinkle in her eye – this sparkle."
On a bad day, and there are bad days sometimes, Peanut is tired. Since she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in June, she's undergone two installments of chemotherapy treatment in hopes that the 8½-year-old is young enough, strong enough, to overcome her cancer.
"She has days where she's just fatigued," Jacobs tells PEOPLE.com, "and that twinkle's still there – it's just not so bright."
Three weeks ago, Star the pit bull was lying on the street in Manhattan's East Village, her cries barely heard over the voices of onlookers, who shouted, "Why'd you do that?"
It's a scene that unfolds in a graphic video: Star is barking and distressed trying to protect her owner, who's seemingly passed out on the ground. She runs toward a policeman. Then he shoots her.
But Star survived. Now, she's getting ready to find a new home.
Earlier this week, the Merriam-Webster added the term "bucket list" to its vocabulary, describing it as "a list of things that one has not done before but wants to do before dying."
Already, the word is being redefined.
One 11-year-old boy from Canada is thanking his service dog in a very special way during the final days of the Jack Russell terrier's life.
Cole Hein set up a "Lick It List" for his 14-year-old dog Bingo, who was given to his family in 2005 by the Ontario-based National Service Dogs due to an undiagnosed medical condition that causes Cole to stop breathing.
Cats are known to be fiercely protective of their young, but one new mother didn't realize her own instinct – until it hit her in the head.
A Los Angeles County-based animal rescuer spotted a dirty, malnourished cat hovering over her five kittens last week, and didn't suspect that there was anything seriously wrong when the cat hissed as she approached. The cat was just behaving the way mothers do.
When the cat and her weeks-old litter were taken to the Helen Woodward Animal Center in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., however, doctors noticed something out of the ordinary: the mother cat had been shot in the head with a BB gun. The BB entered through the top of her head and ended up behind her ear; her matted hair had covered up the wound.
When her owner was in trouble, an 8-year-old pit bull named Lilly immediately stepped in to save her, pulling her unconscious body off of train tracks in Shirley, Mass., on May 4 as an oncoming train approached, and instead, taking the hit for her.
The train's conductor, who couldn't slow the freight train in time, initially thought he had struck and killed the woman, named Christine Spain, and her dog, but when he surveyed the scene, he saw that Spain had been dragged to the side, while Lilly had sustained severe injuries as a result of the collision. The pit bull's right front leg was de-gloved, meaning all of the skin and muscle had been removed, and X-Rays would later show she had sustained multiple fractures in her pelvis.
When Spain's son, police officer David Lanteigne, arrived on site, he helped tend to Lilly, and later stayed by her side as she was transported to Boston's Angell Animal Medical Center, where she is now in recovery.
Not only can he get you out of a tight spot, he can kiss away the pain.
See Tuesday's Funny Video: Do Not Disturb This Cat
They are the red and blue teams, six pairs of canine disaster search teams trained to find survivors in the rubble. Red and blue, called upon by the USAID and deployed to help with reconnaissance and primary searches in Japan.
The first time Pat Kaynaroglu met one of her pupils, she was taken aback by his instant proclamation.
"I hate you!" he said.
Undeterred, Kaynaroglu asked the boy what he did like. He said he liked dogs. She promised him that they would become experts on dogs together.
Like many 13-year-olds, Ashley Bogdan loves to be social. She hangs out with her girlfriends, meanders through her local mall and relishes taking a dip in the pool any chance she gets. But this California girl is not like most middle-schoolers in one respect: Ashley is diabetic and must test her blood-glucose levels multiple times a day to prevent them from becoming dangerously low.
In the summer of 2008, as the housing market collapsed and families found themselves dealing with banks foreclosing on their homes, Laura Pople heard that animal shelters were overwhelmed with the unwitting victims of the real estate crisis: pets.
"I thought, 'There's got to be someone doing something about foreclosure pets,'" Pople tells PEOPLE. "As an animal owner myself, the thought that I would have to give up my animals was devastating to me."
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