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11 Soldiers Welcomed Home by Very Happy Dogs

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For Veterans Day 2009, we posted a round-up of videos featuring soldiers being welcomed home by their dogs. In the last two years, YouTube's vast collection of doggy welcome home videos has continued to grow. Before we begin, you might want to grab some tissues.

1. Princess

This soldier gets a face-lickingly warm welcome home from Princess, the tiniest dog in our collection.

2. Emitt Thunderpaws

At the other end of the size spectrum is Emitt Thunderpaws, a Great Dane, who displays uncharacteristic behaviors as he welcomes home his soldier.

3. Thor

After a month and a half apart, Thor pees with excitement upon being reunited with his soldier. Imagine his reaction after a longer deployment!

4. Jade

When her soldier walks through the door, Jade begins to cry.

5. Sam

All poodle Sam wants is hugs when soldier Brian returns home. (Check out the cat's reaction in the background, too.)

6. Frightened Schnauzer

At first, Keith's schnauzer barks at the "intruder" in the house, but then the dog gets a good whiff of his old friend!

7. Two Dogs

These two dogs just want to play; the black dog manages to hang onto his rope toy through the whole joyous reunion.

8. Dachshunds

Both these dachshunds are pretty happy to see their soldier again, but the little one has more staying power.

9. Gracie

Gracie wiggles her way into her soldier's lap.

10. Foster

Foster is pretty slow and steady until he spots his soldier outside...

11. Patrick

The first female soldier in our post today is welcomed home by her enthusiastic puppy.

To all members of the military, we thank you for your service. Maybe not as enthusiastically as your doggies, but still.

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Animals
Miami to Host Inaugural Canine Film Festival
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There’s an annual festival dedicated to internet cat videos, so it only makes sense that dog-lovers would create their own film event. As the Miami New-Times reports, the Magic City will host the inaugural Canine Film Festival on July 15 and 16. The fundraising event encourages movie lovers to enjoy submitted flicks with their furry friends.

The festival will take place at the Cinépolis Coconut Grove and Hotel Indigo in Miami Lakes. Festivities kick off on the first day with “A Day at the Movies With Your Dog,” featuring film screenings attended by dogs and humans alike. Other events scheduled throughout the weekend include a dog fashion show, dog yoga, silent auctions, a canine costume contest, an after-party at Miami Lakes' Hotel Indigo, and an awards ceremony.

Admission costs $10 to $1000, and 50 percent of ticket proceeds will benefit local animal rescues and shelters. For more information, visit the Canine Film Festival's website.

[h/t Miami New Times]

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Big Questions
Why Do Dogs Howl at Sirens?
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A dog's behavior can often prove confusing to their human colleagues. We know they like to eat their own poop, but puzzle at their motivations. We're surprised when dogs give a ladybug the same greeting as a home intruder.

Topping the list of eccentric canine behavior: Why do dogs howl at sirens? Is there some genetic predisposition to responding to a high-pitched alarm from passing ambulances or police vehicles?

As it turns out, the reason dogs howl at sirens is because of their ancestry—namely, the wolf. When members of a pack are fractured and spread out, their companions will howl to provide a way of locating them. Think of it as nature’s GPS: By howling, dogs are able to communicate their respective locations to one another, even across long distances.

Since dogs really don’t know what a cop car is supposed to sound like, they’ll often interpret a siren as an animal’s howl. It’s also possible that dogs consider sirens to be a sign that something is abnormal in their environment, and that they want you, the pack leader, to be aware of it.

Contrary to belief, a dog is rarely howling because the noise hurts their delicate ears. If that were the case, some experts say, then they would display other behaviors, like running and hiding.

The more a dog hears and responds to a siren, the more they might be compelled to continue the behavior. That’s because dogs who howl and then notice the sound drifting away might begin to associate their vocalizing with the disappearance of the noise. In the future, they’ll probably recall that they “drove” the interloper away with their warbling and repeat the process.

While howling is usually harmless, sometimes it can be a sign that your pet is feeling separation anxiety from an owner or that they’re feeling unwell. If howling persists even without a screaming siren within earshot, you might consider taking them in for a check-up.

If you’ve wondered why dogs howl at sirens, now you know. It’s simply a way of signaling their location and not because it pains them. Owners, on the other hand, might feel differently.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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