Category : Animals

US Marine Corps dog named Lucca who saved lives wins prize

A U.S. Marine Corps dog that sniffed out explosives and protected thousands of troops has been honored with a prize for animals serving bravely in military conflict.

Lucca, a 12-year-old German Shepherd, won the Dickin Medal, the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross, a decoration for bravery. She is the first U.S. Marine Corps dog to receive the honor.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Animals, Military / Armed Forces

Tuesday Mental Health Break–The first 100 Days of Mei Lun and Mei Huan

Posted in * General Interest, Animals, Photos/Photography

(BP) Heartwarming Friendship Of A 5-Year-Old Girl With Autism And Her Therapy Cat

Remember when we wrote about Iris Grace, the incredibly talented 5-year-old girl with autism who paints beautiful pictures? It turns out that she has a behind-the-scenes helper who’s also worthy of praise ”“ that’s Thula, her therapeutic cat.

Thula, who is almost 1 year old, is a Maine Coon. This breed is known as the intelligent and gentle giant of the cat world and though she’s still small and young, Thula does not disappoint. Her gentle and compassionate character is especially important for Iris, a young girl growing up with autism; “Thula has lowered [Iris’] daily anxieties in life and keeps Iris calm,” Iris’ mother, Arabella Carter-Johnson, told Bored Panda, “but equally has the effect of encouraging her to be more social. She will talk more to Thula, saying little phrases like ”˜sit cat.’”

Carter-Johnson, had almost given up on the search for a therapeutic animal companion for her daughter. When Iris happened to connect with a Siberian cat that her family would up cat-sitting for Christmas, however, she realized that she “just hadn’t found the right animal yet.” For more info about Thula and Iris, read more of Carter-Johnson’s interview with Bored Panda!

Fantastic photos–do not miss them and read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, Animals, Children, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Photos/Photography

(BBC) A Baby Gorilla's caesarean birth at the Bristol Zoo

A baby gorilla was born at Bristol Zoo who called in help from the local hospital as babies don’t usually survive, but see the story and how the baby is doing 11 days after the operation.

Watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, Animals, England / UK, Health & Medicine

Thursday Morning Mental Health Break–'Bei Bei' the ridiculously cute baby Panda

Researchers are monitoring Bei Bei’s every move and studying the giant panda cub to help them learn about more about the beloved animals.

Watch it all from NBC.

Posted in * General Interest, Animals

'I was born in the wrong species': a Norway Woman says she's a CAT trapped in a human body

A woman who believes she was born a cat has opened up about her life as a feline, describing how she has a superior sense sense of hearing and sight which allows her to hunt mice in the dark.

Nano, 20, from Oslo, Norway, makes the revelation in an interview published on the NRK P3 Verdens Rikeste Land YouTube channel, and it’s been viewed 122,000 times.

And she claims to possess many feline characteristics including a hatred of water and the ability to communicate simply by meowing….

Nano sums up her life as a cat as ‘exhausting’ but says that you get you to living with ‘cat acts and cat instincts’.

‘My psychologist told me I can grow out of it, but I doubt it,’ she concludes. ‘I think I will be cat all my life.’

Read it all from the Daily Mail.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, Animals, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Health & Medicine, History, Norway, Psychology, Theology, Young Adults

Mental Health Break–Panda Bear Frolics in Snow Today at Smithsonian's National Zoo

Posted in * General Interest, Animals, Weather

An Awesome National Geographic Video that Reminds us of the Glory of Creation

Enjoy the whole thing.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, Animals, Energy, Natural Resources, Globalization, Photos/Photography

A rescued Eagle Released by South Carolina's Center for Birds of Prey

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, * South Carolina, Animals, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations

(WSJ) Nicholas Hahn–Prayers, Puppies and a Political Menagerie

At first it seems like a heartwarming partnership: Christians join with a prominent nonprofit that purports to save puppies and kittens. But this new movement, ostensibly aimed at reminding Christians of their duty to protect animals, is peddling a theologically questionable and overtly political agenda.

This fall appeared the initiative Every Living Thing, spearheaded by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), a national group that doesn’t manage local pet shelters, despite public perceptions. More than 1,000 Christians have signed a statement invoking the Bible to note that animals are an “especially vulnerable subset of all God’s creatures” that “can be most subject to irresponsible and cruel treatment by humans.”

For centuries Christians have debated animal theology. Last year newspapers reported incorrectly that Pope Francis had assured an aching young boy whose pet had died that “we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ.” Christine Gutleben, director of faith outreach at HSUS, said the pope’s comments seemed to imply “that animals have a soul.” As it turned out, the media mangled the facts. Pope Francis never said such a thing, though in the 1970s Pope Paul VI alluded””pastorally, not as a matter of doctrine””to the idea that all dogs go to heaven.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Animals, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

My Favorite Veteran's Story of the last Few Years–An ESPN piece on the Saratoga WarHorse Program

Warrior and Warhorse from The Seventh Movement on Vimeo.

Saratoga Springs, N.Y., famous for its historic racetrack, is among the most idyllic places in America. But on a recent fall weekend, not far from the track, horses were serving a different mission: retired thoroughbreds were recruited to help returning veterans at Song Hill Farm. A group from the US Army 2nd Battalion, 135th infantry, united in grief over the death of a fellow solider, gathered for the first time in five years to be part of Saratoga Warhorse, a three-day program that pairs veterans with horses. Tom Rinaldi reports the emotional story of the veterans, paired with their horses, undergoing a rebirth of trust and taking a first step toward healing.

Watch it all, and, yes, you will likely need kleenex–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, Animals, Defense, National Security, Military, Health & Medicine, Psychology

Wednesday Night Mental Health Break–Puppy Presents Bring Tears of Joy

This is just wonderful–watch it all.

Posted in * General Interest, Animals

Food for the Soul–Louie Giglio on Psalm 148, Stars, Whales+ Worship

Enjoy it all (hat tip: SH).

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, * Religion News & Commentary, Animals, Energy, Natural Resources, Evangelicals, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Science & Technology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(USA Today) Kirsten Powers– It's time for evangelicals to speak up for animals

The proclamation, which provides extensive scriptural citation, asserts, “God has given all animals the breath of life, that He sustains them”¦ they belong ultimately to Him, and”¦ He has declared them ”˜good,’ indicating they have value to Him independent of human use.”

Many conservative evangelicals bristle at the mention of the animal rights movement because they believe it puts humans and animals on equal footing. But the evangelical statement is unequivocal that humans hold a unique status in creation. In fact, it’s this special status that demands humans practice extra care with all of God’s creation. The signatories affirmed the belief that, “all animals ultimately belong to God, are sustained by Him, and exist to bring Him praise and reveal His character.”

Also being announced today is the launch of the “Every Living Thing” initiative, which will begin a year-long effort to engage Christians in dialogue around the biblical mandate to care for animals.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, * Religion News & Commentary, Animals, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Wednesday Morning Mental Health Break–A Kitten, a box, and a surprise

Watch the whole adorable thing.

Posted in * General Interest, Animals, Photos/Photography

(RNS) Jewish beekeepers sweeten New Year, teach wisdom of the hive

Sabrina Malach acknowledges that she once felt some “Jewish guilt” about her honeybees.

“Are we stealing from them?” she had asked herself. “They’ve done all this work. They never stop, and now we’re taking all their honey.”

But as she looks toward the Jewish New Year, which begins Sunday evening (Sept. 13), the Jewish beekeeper shares that she eventually learned the opposite lesson about bees and honey, a gastronomic symbol of the holiday.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, * Religion News & Commentary, Animals, Judaism, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

Do not Take Yourself Too Seriously Dept–Will a Cat Door work for an Actual Cat?


“Yesterday, I spent an hour and half installing a new cat door so Philo the Cat could come and go as he pleases. This is his reaction.”

Posted in * General Interest, Animals, Humor / Trivia, Photos/Photography

Friday Mental Health Break–Bears in Family Swimming Pool in New Jersey

Posted in * General Interest, Animals, Photos/Photography

BBC Piece where Reporter Laments not seeing any whales all day and then BOOM! Guess who

Posted in * General Interest, Animals

Shakan Harmon RIP

We are heartbroken and undone here today about losing our black Labrador Retriever of nearly 14 years. In a spontaneous act of sheer frivolity I put a bid in on him at the silent auction at the Coastal Carolina Chaplaincy annual dinner in January of 2002 and he has been with us ever since. It remains amazing that he came home that night with no warning and has been a surprising joy for and integral part of the Harmon five ever since.

He has somehow seen it all–three places to live, the children going from 12, 10 and not quite 9 to where they are now, all three secondary school and College graduations, my changing jobs and parishes to where I am now, Elizabeth earning her Doctor of Nursing Practice at MUSC and then joining the faculty there, three of the four of our own parents passing, and all the current twists, turns and travails of the Episcopal Church, the Anglican Communion, and the Diocese of South Carolina.

So many things changed, but except for our faith and our family, he was one of the only true anchors, the ultimate big brother, wagging his tail, astonishingly loyal to each Harmon, glad to be alive and part of it all. The world is a sadder place because he is gone, but we are all the better from having been given God’s gift of Shakan, whose name means to dwell, and dwell with us he did–KSH.

Posted in * By Kendall, * General Interest, Animals, Harmon Family, Photos/Photography

Thursday Morning Mental Health Break–20+ Foot Female Great White Shark Filmed off of Mexico

Read it all.

Posted in * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, Animals, Mexico, Photos/Photography

Tuesday Morning Mental Health Break–The Dash of the Dachshunds

Their legs may be short but they still have plenty of speed! The Calgary Herald was at the Running of the Dachshunds at the Strathmore Stampede last week.

it all.

Posted in * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, Animals, Canada, Photos/Photography

A Bear passes out at Campground from too much beer–36; and he showed a preference too

When state Fish and Wildlife agents recently found a black bear passed out on the lawn of Baker Lake Resort, there were some clues scattered nearby ”” dozens of empty cans of Rainier Beer.

The bear apparently got into campers’ coolers and used his claws and teeth to puncture the cans. And not just any cans.

“He drank the Rainier and wouldn’t drink the Busch beer,” said Lisa Broxson, bookkeeper at the campground and cabins resort east of Mount Baker.

Read it all.

Posted in * General Interest, Animals, Humor / Trivia

(NBC) An Owner's Tribute to His Dying Dog Comes With a Bucket List

When a veterinarian told owner Neil Rodriguez that his 15-year-old dog was terminally ill, he took his companion Poh on the road for one last adventure.

Watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Animals, Travel

PBS' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly–Rancher Nuns

LUCKY SEVERSON, correspondent: Near the Colorado-Wyoming border, beneath the snow covered Mummy Mountains, amongst the grassy meadows, the soothing sounds of psalms being sung by Benedictine nuns, praying for themselves and for the world. Altogether they pray over three-and-a-half hours a day.

And then in between prayers, rushing out to the corral to rein in the cattle, and the cattle don’t always cooperate. This is the Abbey of St. Walburga. It’s a working ranch, and the nuns are the ranch hands when they’re not praying. And they pray together seven times a day, always in their habits.

(speaking to Abbess): You change your clothes a lot, don’t you?

MOTHER MARIA MICHAEL: We do.

SEVERSON: Seven times a day?

MOTHER MARIA MICHAEL: Seven time a day, uh huh.

Read or watch it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Animals, Economy, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Violence

(Huff Po) Service Dog Jumps In Front Of Bus To Protect Blind Owner

A service dog is recovering from a leg injury after leaping in front of a school minibus to protect his blind owner.

Audrey Stone, 62, and her golden retriever named Figo were crossing a road in Brewster, New York, on Monday morning when the bus carrying kindergarteners struck them. Paul Schwartz, who manages a gas station located at the intersection where the collision happened, said the dog’s leg was cut down to the bone.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Animals, Health & Medicine, Travel

(Bp of Croydon) Jonathan Clark–Reflecting on James Rebanks”˜ The Shepherd’s Life+parish ministry

I’ve just devoured James Rebanks”˜ The Shepherd’s Life, which is a fascinating and brilliantly written account of his life as a shepherd on the Cumbrian fells (with a little international consultancy on the side to help with the bills). As near as I can reckon, it tells us non-farmers what it really means to live with that connection to a place and to a way of life which is almost completely foreign to a market society. Looking at it from the outside, why would anyone work so incredibly hard for such little reward? But that question only makes sense when you’re thinking of ”˜work’ and ”˜life’ as two different things. You contract for work in order to have enough money to get on with the things you really want to do.

But for farmers ”“ or at least for Rebanks ”“ it’s not like that. The life and the living are one and the same thing. You have to make enough money to survive, so you work as cannily as you can to maximise your return. But that’s not the heart of it. Rebooks begins by talking about the way sheep on the fells are ”˜hefted’ to a specific area. Even though there aren’t any fences, they know their territory, and that’s where they stay. It’s their space. As a one-time walker on the Cumbrian fells, I can attest to the indignation of a Hardwick sheep when confronted by a stranger carrying a knapsack. One definitely gets the feeling that they’re thinking ”˜if I had proper teeth, I’d be after you ”¦’.

Rebooks leaves the reader to makes the connection with himself and his fellow farmers. But they too are hefted to their places. Not necessarily the individual farm, because people move from time to time. But to the area, the territory, they are inextricably linked. A lot of Church of England clergy feel just the same about their parishes.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Animals, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(LA Times) Engineers look to insects for robotic inspiration

At a UC Berkeley laboratory, engineers are building cockroach-like robots with a noble purpose ”” search and rescue.

Smaller than the palm of a hand and weighing an ounce, the robots are fast, nimble, and equipped with microphones and thermostats to detect sound and heat.

“Imagine there’s a warehouse that’s collapsed,” said Ronald Fearing, the director of UC Berkeley’s Biomimetic Millisystems Lab, which developed the VelociRoach robot. “You can send in hundreds of these robots, and if there’s an opening, they can get through or get close to certain areas to notify rescuers they’ve found a survivor.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Animals, Science & Technology

A Roseate Spoonbill to brighten your morning

(Photo: Selimah Harmon)

Posted in * General Interest, Animals, Photos/Photography

(Star-Tribune) Photo of Eagle on Fort Snelling gravestone touches hearts, goes viral

Talk to anyone in my business and they’ll all say the same thing: No matter how long you write stories and put them in the newspaper, you are never really sure which ones are going to strike a nerve.

What you think might be a Pulitzer-quality epic might draw only a nice call from Mom, while a simple tale tossed off on deadline causes an uproar, or an avalanche of praise. One legendary former investigative reporter at this paper wrote scores of stories that changed laws and saved lives, yet never did he get more mail than when he wrote about burying his cat.

And so it is with my June column on the amateur photographer, the widow and the eagle on a gravestone.

Read it all and do not miss the picture.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Animals, Death / Burial / Funerals, Marriage & Family, Military / Armed Forces, Parish Ministry, Photos/Photography