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Weekly News Roundup 12/20 to 12/26

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Tinsel-eating German shepherd needs emergency operation

It was a nightmare before Christmas for Benji the German shepherd, who swallowed his body length in festive tinsel and ended up needing surgery. The unlucky pooch wolfed down the shiny material before owner Olivia Mullen could decorate her tree. The 31-inch piece of tinsel became tangled in the pet's stomach, and veterinarians said it could have proved fatal. Mullen said Benji was recovering well: “This is the first time he’s ever done anything like this. He doesn't even go after shoes or toys, so it was a total surprise.” The tree wasn't up yet, and he had actually gone rooting through a box. . . . more

Veterinary school's mobile surgery unit gets $150,000 boost

Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine’s mobile surgery unit, Priority 4 Paws (P4P), is a shelter medicine program that combines community service with education for fourth-year veterinary students. Now the program is getting a significant boost in the form of a $150,000 grant from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust. Since P4P’s founding in 2012, the mobile surgery unit has logged more than 100,000 miles traveling across the state to help animal shelters by spaying and neutering shelter animals while also greatly increasing opportunities for veterinary students to gain hands-on surgical experience. In 2019, the unit served about 2,000 animals, bringing the total served since the unit’s inception to about 16,000. . . . more

Police therapy dog busted for stealing donated toys

A police department’s therapy dog sparked a hilarious internal investigation after officers noticed donated toys for the holidays seemed to be disappearing from the room they had carefully placed them in. An officer working the night shift noticed Ben Franklin—a friendly golden retriever who has free rein of the building—seemed to be on a mission. He was walking back and forth between his office (he has a bed under an officer’s desk) and a classroom housing a bunch of donated toys slated to be Christmas gifts. The officer pulled out his phone and started recording as the dog walked out of the room with a baby doll in a basket. . . . more

Dog chases cat up tree and gets stuck, too. Firefighters have to rescue both

As the dog days of 2019 near an end, one dog is feeling the worst of it. A classic tale of dog-cat rivalry took a turn toward the ridiculous in Lathrop, California, when a German shepherd sent a fuzzy black cat skittering up a tree. Then, the dog shot up the trunk in hot pursuit. The shepherd's enthusiasm immediately came back to bite him as he quickly found himself trapped in the tree just a few feet from his feline foe, who was unable to make a move. Arriving firefighters soon discovered they were rescuing not only a cat, but a dog, too. Even as the helpful humans prepared the ladder, the dog seemed to be shimmying his way closer to the disgruntled cat. . . . more

A shelter dog had a stick stuck in his mouth for years

He was playing a permanent—and painful—game of fetch. Florida dog Buddy, eight, was getting a teeth-cleaning last week at a shelter in St. Petersburg, Florida, when the veterinarian observed something odd: a stick was lodged between two of the dog’s teeth. “Our veterinarian had noticed some rotting. She estimated that it had been stuck between two of Buddy’s molars for three or four years,” said Holly Clare, the shelter’s communications manager. “It completely embedded its way into the roof of his mouth, sort of creating a bridge,” says Clare. Living with the twig for nearly half his life seriously damaged two of Buddy’s teeth. “It caused both of his teeth to rot on either side—so our veterinary team had to extract both of them,” Clare said. Despite his dental woes, Buddy’s life has been on the upswing. . . . more