Categotry Archives: Misc.

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Chanel

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Categories: Misc.

chanel.jpgChanel, a dachshund mix who held the official record as the world’s oldest dog, died on Aug. 28. Cause of death was not released. She was 21, or about 147 in dog years.
Born May 6, 1988, Chanel was only 6 weeks old when Denice Shaughnessy adopted her from a shelter in Newport News, Va. Although the puppy was meant to be a companion for her daughter LaToya, Chanel immediately took to Denice. Over the next two decades, the pair were nearly constant companions.
Life wasn’t always easy for the family. Their house once burned down, though everyone survived. Financial difficulties required Denice and LaToya to sell their only form of transportation and live on macaroni and cheese — which they shared with Chanel. Long-distance moves from Germany to upstate New York to California would have taxed any animal, but Chanel never left their side. And when Denice married Karl Shaughnessy, the entire family settled on Long Island.
In her youth, Chanel was a bit of a rascal. She’d steal sticks of butter right off the kitchen counter and hide them inside the living room sofa. She also enjoyed eating chocolate, which is usually considered toxic to dogs, and once devoured an entire bag of peanut butter cups. But she kept her girlish figure by exercising daily, often walking several miles with Denice.
In her later years, Chanel’s blond hair whitened. She developed cataracts, and wore tinted goggles (called doggles) to protect her eyes. She also chilled easily, and donned T-shirts in the summer and woolly sweaters in the winter to stay warm.
On her last birthday, officials from Guinness World Records certified Chanel as the world’s oldest dog during a private birthday bash at the New York Dog Spa and Hotel in Manhattan. To celebrate her longevity, Chanel ate a peanut butter cake specially prepared for dogs, and made an appearance on the “Today” show.

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Gus

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Categories: Misc.

gus.jpgGus had three legs, one eye, few teeth, little hair and a face only a mother could love. But he caused a worldwide sensation when he won the 20th annual World’s Ugliest Dog Contest last summer.
The pink and black Chinese crested was neglected as a pup; his previous owner kept him crate-bound inside a dark garage. When the Teed family of Gulfport, Fla., learned of his living conditions, they adopted him as one of their own.
Chinese crested dogs do not originate from China. The breed actually hails from the Crest Haven Kennel in America. These canines come in two varieties: Hairless and Powderpuff, but hairlessness is the dominant trait.
Gus, however, was no powderpuff. A skin tumor cost him his left hind leg, and a fight with a feline took his left eye. Despite these infirmities, his favorite activities included lounging on the couch, growling at the cat that scratched his eye out and eating pizza and french fries.
Twelve dogs vied for the title of the World’s Ugliest Dog last June, but Gus took the top prize in the contest, a hugely popular event at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, Calif. He won two trophies and $1,600 in prize money, which Jeanenne Teed used to pay for his skin cancer treatment.
“I have never really thought of him as ugly, and even now, looking at the videos, I feel like he must have bamboozled the judges,” Teed said.
Winning the contest put Gus squarely in the public eye. He made numerous media appearances, including “The Early Show” on CBS, “The Today Show” on NBC and “The Howard Stern Show.” Animal Planet plans to air footage of Gus next October.
When the cancer wrapped around Gus’ spine and began pressing against his abdomen, his family knew the end was near. Gus was euthanized on Nov. 10 at the age of 9. The Teeds buried him in their backyard and covered his grave with a Butterfly bush with golden flowers.

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Gemina

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Categories: Misc.

gemina.jpgGemina, the beloved crooked-necked giraffe at the Santa Barbara Zoo, was euthanized on Jan 9. She was 21.

Gemina was born on July 16, 1986, at the San Diego Wild Animal Park. Her parents, Ginger and Black Jack, were both born in captivity at the San Diego Zoo.
Gemina was brought to the Santa Barbara Zoo when she was a year old. At three, she began to develop an odd “crick” in her neck. Zoo officials could not determine the cause of the oddity, even after taking x-rays, but they decided against performing exploratory surgery on her neck because the operation would have endangered her life.

Despite her unusual appearance, Gemina was a healthy giraffe and one of the most popular animals at the zoo. The 13-and-a-half-foot-tall leaf-eater even gave birth to a healthy calf in 1991; the baby giraffe later died of pneumonia.

Gemina was a Baringo (or Rothschild) giraffe, one of three species found in Uganda and western Kenya. The tallest animal on the ground, Baringo giraffes can grow to be 16 feet tall. Females tend to be slightly shorter than males, but both have brown, patterned coats and tufted horns on top of their heads.

Last summer, the zoo celebrated Gemina’s 21st birthday with a serenade by Zoo Campers, a “giraffe-sized” birthday card and a special treat of acacia. A video of the occasion was posted on YouTube. Gemina also topped a local radio station’s list of the “Seven Wonders of Santa Barbara.”

During the final two weeks of her life, Gemina’s health declined. When she stopped eating altogether, zoo officials knew old age had taken its toll on her, and it was time to put Gemina down. Her deterioration was not believed to be related to her neck condition, however results from a necropsy are pending.

“Though a few giraffes in captivity have been known to live into their late-twenties, reaching age 21 is considered an achievement,” zoo CEO and Director Rich Block stated. “She was a great animal ambassador, showing that differences can be accepted and even celebrated. She will be missed.”

[Photo by Van Swearingen. Used with permission.]

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Alex

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Categories: Misc.

alex.jpgAlex, the renowned African grey parrot who helped researchers better understand the avian brain, died on Sept. 6. Cause of death was “a sudden, unexpected catastrophic event associated with arterosclerosis” (hardening of the arteries). He was about 31 years old.

Irene Pepperberg, a professor at Brandeis University’s Department of Psychology, purchased Alex from a Chicago pet store in 1977. Over the next three decades, she taught the parrot how to count to six and identify seven different colors. Alex could name 50 different objects in English and grasped the numerical concept of zero. Even in his advanced age, Alex continued to learn new things. In August, he pronounced the word “seven” for the first time.

The parrot could be ornery, though. When he grew tired of participating in repetitive scientific trials, Alex would demand to be returned to his cage. Once there, he’d slam the door. And when the other parrots in the lab mumbled during tests, Alex would order the birds to “talk better.” Pepperberg said he showed the emotional equivalent of a 2 year old child and the brain of a typical 5 year old.

Pepperberg’s work with Alex shattered the generally held notion that parrots are only capable of mindless vocal mimicry. Her study of avian intelligence also helped other scientists create therapies to treat children with learning disabilities.

One of the most famous African grey parrots in history, Alex was featured in print and broadcast media across the globe and on numerous science programs for the BBC, the Discovery channel and PBS. He was also the main subject of Pepperberg’s 1999 book, “The Alex Studies: Cognitive and Communicative Abilities of Grey Parrots.”

Read an Interview With Alex

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Corpus Obscurum

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Categories: Misc.

Corpus Obscurum, a Minnesota blog known for “remembering those whose accomplishments vastly exceeded their fame,” died on Aug. 10. It was 1 years old.
Corpus Obscurum was written by Corey Anderson and published on the City Pages Website. The popular blog, which received positive write-ups on Yahoo! and Filmoculus, offered short posts about the recently deceased. Past highlights include:
* Henry Charles “Shag” Crawford, an umpire who called more than 3,000 baseball games.
* Dr. Tod H. Mikuriya, a psychiatrist who championed legal medical marijuana.
* Ed Charon, a preacher known for setting a world record in phone book ripping.
* Wilford “Crazy Ray” Jones and Denny Sym, the unofficial mascots for the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins.
* Lilly Rodriguez, a pioneering female kickboxer.

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