|Meet Chaser, a dog who knows more words than most toddlers
Retired psychology professor John Pilley taught his border collie Chaser to recognize over 1,000 words and distinguish between three different action commands -- picking something up, touching it with her paw and touching her nose to it. Evolutionary anthropologist Brian Hare says Chaser is demonstrating a kind of social inference, seen in humans. "That's what is really special about dogs," Hare said. Chaser is called "the smartest dog in the world," but Hare says Chaser is likely demonstrating an ability to learn that many dogs share. CBS News
The reservations are made, the bags are packed and you're ready for your trip. If you're not taking your animals with you, who's in charge of health care decisions while you're away? Cellphones and computers have made it much easier to stay in touch and be contacted, but what if you can't be reached in case of an emergency? To help people prepare for such scenarios, the AVMA has compiled a list of questions to consider and actions to take to ensure their animals are well taken care of while they're away. View AVMA's emergency decisions resources.
Who's in charge of your animals' care while you're away?
Woman makes the most of beloved dog's final days
When a veterinarian diagnosed English mastiff Gizelle's terminal bone cancer, owner Lauren Fern Watt was devastated, but she decided to ensure she and Gizelle could enjoy the time they had left. Watt created a "bucket list" of adventures, and the pair completed it the day before Gizelle died with a wintertime visit to the ocean in Maine. "Even in the emptiness of that beach that day, I could see Gizelle running free [along] the shore," Watt writes. Yahoo(1/21)
TED-Ed: How dogs "see" with smell
Some 300 million olfactory receptor cells (compared with 5 million in humans), specialized airflow, the ability to smell in stereo and a highly developed region of the brain for processing the information are part of why dogs can detect smells up to 100 million times less concentrated than those detected by humans. "A dog smells an entire story, from start to finish," according to this TED-Ed video, revealing "a whole other world beyond our eyes." The Huffington Post
Microchip reunites owner and cat after 2 years and 2,500 miles
From South Carolina to Southern California, Kevin, an orange tabby cat, traveled unnoticed until he was discovered in the trailer of a truck during a cargo inspection. Kevin, who escaped in 2013, was taken to Riverside County Animal Services' Blythe shelter, where workers gave him food and water and found his microchip. The information was up to date, and plans for a reunion between Kevin and his owner are being made.