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Animals

A deaf dog in the United Kingdom has started learning sign language.

Last year, Peggy the sheepdog was forced to retire after she was declared deaf.

Peggy uses body language as a communication tool, which has meant she is now back working on the farm.

Peggy was given to the RSPCA when her owner could no longer communicate with her. After she arrived the RSPCA decided they would try and teach Peggy how to herd sheep using body or sign language as a tool of communication.

They developed a range of hand signals for common herding terms such as “come-by” and “steady”. She has also learnt the hand signals for “good girl” and “stop”.

It’s not clear how Peggy became deaf, her ears show no signs of infection, lumps or obvious signs.

A runaway sheep is on the loose in New Plymouth.

The sheep was last seen in a house after barging its way in when the owner opened the door.

The New Plymouth District Council said the ram was first captured on the Huatoki Walkway, in the Glenpark area of the city, after attempted to head-butt pedestrians. The ram was taken to the city’s animal shelter.

However, the ram, belived to be called as Duggy​, then escaped.

The local council believe the ram is possibly on the loose somewhere in the Waiwhakaiho area.

An alligator has joined the queue at a US Post Office.

Apparently, the animal had simply walked in through the building’s front doors and was hanging out.

The incident happened at the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office at around 3:30pm on Wednesday.

According to a people in the Post Office, the gator was just roaming around the lobby. The post office has automatic double doors, which would have made entering the lobby easy for the alligator.

The sheriff’s office wrote that a trapper was called to the scene and that the alligator was safely removed.

No injuries were reported.

A bear has managed to get stuck in a factory ceiling in Virginia, USA.

The bear was stuck 7m off the ground in the steel beams above the factory floor. It is unknown how the bear ended up in the position as there are no nearby stairs or ladders. 

Employees at the Volvo manufacturing plant were told to stay in the cafeteria during the bear’s evacuation.

Biologists used a “chemical immobilization dart” to knock out the bear and then used the plant’s heavy equipment including a forklift to bring the bear down.

The bear, found to be unharmed, was taken to “a suitable site for release.”

A man in the US has claimed to have been swallowed by a whale!

Michael Packard, a commercial lobster diver, says he was swallowed whole by a humpback whale off the Massachusetts coast on Friday. He thinks he was in the whale’s mouth for about 30 seconds. He was able to breathe because he still had his breathing apparatus on.

“I was completely inside (the whale); it was completely black,” he added. “I thought to myself, ‘there’s no way I’m getting out of here. I’m done, I’m dead. All I could think of was my boys, they’re 12 and 15 years old.”

In an effort to save himself, Packard said he began shaking the whale’s head before the animal surfaced and ejected him.

Packard spent two days in hospital recovering and expects to be back at work soon.

Scientist said that humpback whales are not aggressive animals, especially toward humans. 

I’ve lived away from home as a university student for three years, going home every few months during the breaks. I love seeing my family, it’s great to catch up with friends, the home-cooked food is delicious and it’s amazing to be in a warm house. But what I really look forward to, what I get most excited about… Is seeing my dog. I know it sounds silly, but it’s true. I love him that much! However, it’s got me wondering that maybe this relationship is completely different for him. Maybe he sees me as an absolute weirdo who goes away for months, then comes back and occasionally feeds and walks him. Does he even love me in return? If you have a pet – are you troubled with the same thoughts?

Most people have a pet at some point during their lifetime. Whether it’s a cat, dog, fish or rabbit, pets bring companionship that boosts our happiness and adds meaning to our lives. It isn’t hard to believe that most pet owners think of their animals as actual members of the family.

But pets do more than sit their looking cute. They promote both mental and physical health that can significantly improve our lives. People with pets typically have lower heart rates and blood pressure than those without, a result of the additional movement owning a pet requires and the stress relief their company provides. Furthermore, pets can improve a range of mental health conditions, from anxiety and loneliness to depression and low self-esteem.

However, an ethical question has been raised lately, one that has got me really confused. Is it okay to keep house pets? It is not a chosen life for the animal and it’s not what nature intended. While we may love our pets and treat them as well as we can, is this a life they can thrive in? Our animals cannot tell us whether they are happy being pets. When you think about it, we bring our pets into our lives because we want them, then we dictate what they eat, where they live, how they behave, how they look, even whether they get to produce their own offspring. Do we have the right to make that decision for another being?

Now I love my dog, I really do. Even as I write this article, the thought of leaving him to fend for himself and “make his own decisions” makes me upset. But I have to remind myself that the only reason he would be in trouble in the wild is because he hasn’t been raised to live there. He doesn’t know how to fend for himself like a wild dog in their natural habitat would, and that’s because we have spoiled him rotten as most owners do. So, while today’s generation of pets aren’t ready to leave home, would it be possible to make the next? Is this something we should want? Do we want wild cats and dogs all over the place?

Personally, I don’t want that. But at the end of the day, it’s not my decision to make. It is a difficult question to answer, as the animal cannot give its own opinion – but would they really want to live in a house with only a couple of opportunities to go for a walk or a run each day? Would they really want to eat dried food or kibble only? Would they really want to be unable to produce their own offspring? I think not. What do you think? More importantly, what does your pet think?

Critical Thinking Questions:

  1. What do you think? Should we keep pets? Why/Why Not?
  2. Is there a way to decide what life is better for the animals? If so, how?
  3. What would happen to the world if all the house pets were suddenly let into the wild?

Practical Thinking Questions:

  1. Describe the ideal day in the life of a pet and then of an animal in the wild. Which one do you think is preferred?
  2. What would be the negative effects on humans if they were to live without pets?
  3. If you have a pet, go give it a belly rub or take it for a long walk! Treat your pets as well as you can.