A Deer That Thinks It's a Dog

Animal lovers often debate whether or not it's acceptable to turn a wild animal into a domesticated pet. But when a family becomes attached to an animal they are trying to rescue, the bond is often difficult to break.

Regardless of your personal feelings on the matter, it's hard to deny how adorable little Dillie is, parading around the house and eating off her owner's plates as though she were a common puppy. She certainly leads a good life -- with her own room with a full-sized bed and a backyard that's big enough for her to run at her top speed. Which leads me to today's question: is it wrong for a wild animal to become domesticated even if it means a better life?

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Canine Flu is On the Rise: Here's What You Should Know
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It's been eight years since the World Health Organization announced the end of the swine flu pandemic, and now the condition is back in the news for infecting a different type of host. As Live Science reports, the H1N1 virus is mixing with canine flu to create new strains that could potentially spread to people.

Dog flu has been around for a couple of decades, but the two main canine strains, H3N8 and H3N2, have never been contracted by humans. According to a new study published in mBio, some dogs in the Guangxi region of China were found carrying H1N1, the flu strain at the root of the swine flu outbreak. Researchers also discovered three entirely new flu strains that were a combination of H1N1 and regular dog flu viruses.

The unrecognized flu strains are the most troubling discovery. As the flu travels between species, it mingles with viruses that are already there, creating a level of genetic diversity that leaves our immune systems, which are best equipped to fight strains they've already been exposed to, vulnerable. The swine flu epidemic of 2009 started in a similar way, when H1N1 jumped from birds to pigs, and eventually to people.

But the new report isn't a reason to banish your pet to the doghouse next time she seems under the weather. The virus samples were collected from dogs in China between 2013 and 2015, and in the years since, zero humans have caught influenza from dogs (though dog flu has started spreading to cats). If the virus continues mutating to the point where it can infect humans, both the CDC and U.S. Department of Agriculture will take action. But for now, the CDC states that canine flu viruses "pose a low threat to people."

Canine flu may not be dangerous to humans yet, but it can still be stressful for dog owners if their pet comes down with a case. Ask your vet about getting your dog vaccinated, and if you see your dog coughing, sneezing, and acting less energetic than usual, make an appointment to get him checked out as soon as possible. If he does have the flu, he can be treated with plenty of rest and hydration.

[h/t Live Science]

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Courtesy of Wellness Natural Pet Food
America's Most Pet-Friendly Workplaces
Courtesy of Wellness Natural Pet Food
Courtesy of Wellness Natural Pet Food

Being able to bring your dog to work is a huge perk. So huge, in fact, that 37 percent of pet parents would sacrifice benefits like vacation time or even take a pay cut for the ability to bring their pet to the office, according to Wellness Natural Pet Food, which recently released its second annual list of America’s Most Pet-Friendly Companies.

All 10 companies on the list allow you to bring your dog along every single day. Tito's Handmade Vodka in Austin, Texas grabbed the number one spot, with San Francisco's Petcube (which makes interactive dog treat cameras) coming in second and Boston's Harpoon Brewery taking third.

The benefits of being able to bring your dog to your job are manifold. You eliminate the need to hire a dog walker or petsitter, you're not distracted by worrying about how Fido is faring alone in the house or obsessively checking the security cameras, and you get to have the company of your furry friend to keep you happy while you're working. Petcube in particular has some seriously over-the-top benefits for dog owners, including dog walking services, pet insurance, and on-demand vet consultations. Health and fitness supply company Zogics, which is based in Lenox, Massachusetts and ranked seventh on the list, offers "pawternity" leave for new dog moms and dads.

Wellness's survey also found that 44 percent of pet parents say they would consider a career change if it meant a pet-friendly workplace. The benefits of having an adorable pup around are undeniable: 32 percent of respondents feel they would be more productive with a pet at the office.

Check out the full list here (Alas, Pied Piper isn't on it). And if you're lucky enough to have a pet-friendly office, don't forget to bring your pooch along for Take Your Dog to Work Day on June 22.

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