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The Late Movies: 11 Animals Celebrating Their Birthdays in Style

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Remember the excitement and joy you felt as a child when your annual birthday celebration finally rolled around? You can capture that feeling again, at least to some extent, by enjoying these fun videos of pets and zoo animals celebrating in delightful fashion.

A Panda

Here's Yun Zi from the San Diego Zoo digging into her ice and fruit birthday cake created in celebration of her second birthday. Pandas seem to be particularly fond of birthday celebrations, so for more panda parties, don't miss Panda Loves To Party over at Tumblr.

A Boston Terrier

There are tons of dog birthday videos online, but what makes little Rex here so special is the fact that he actually sneezes on cue, just in time to blow out his candle.

Tigers

Nick and Mick of the Oregon Zoo are celebrating their ninth birthday, that happens to land on Halloween, with a birthday cake present and a bunch of carved pumpkins filled with delicious breakfast treats.

Elephants

Just because humans don't like to celebrate their birthdays once they've become seniors doesn't mean elephants feel the same. Here's Tricia of the Perth Zoo celebrating her 55th with a massive ice cake that's just the right size for a few gals weighing in at over a dozen tons.

A Kitty

Pancake might not be quite as famous as Maru, but he's still up there as far as YouTube kitty celebrity is concerned. Here's Pancake pigging out on a stack of his namesake topped with tuna and corn in celebration of his first birthday.

A Cheetah

These days, it's common for zoo cheetahs to be raised with dogs as they provide the big cats with friendship and help them feel more comfortable around humans. Of course, being friends with a big kitty certainly has its perks when your best friend's birthday comes up and the workers at the Cincinnati Zoo where you work give you both a special beef cake with peanut butter and cream cheese frosting along with a bunch of toys.

A Husky

Laika is the tan husky in the family and she's quite happy to be turning one, or at least to get a yummy pupcake, best of all, she even helps sing along to the birthday song at one point.

An Orangutan

Robin of the Denver Zoo sure loves this giant frozen cake filled with peanut butter and covered in raspberry mousse. Of course, getting a delicious treat bag as a present makes turning 32 even sweeter.

A Bear

She may be over the hill, but Ms. Grizz of the Wildwood Zoo still looks gorgeous on her 40th birthday, and she certainly seems to be enjoying all the treats that come with the big celebration.

A Skunk

A lot of people still turn their noses up at the idea of owning a skunk, but Peaches' owner sure loves his little stinker. Here she is enjoying a cupcake and ball for her first birthday, which is a very special treat compared to her usual diet.

Baboons

At least one of these little babies from the Prospect Park Zoo is turning one, but without any information on the page, it's hard to tell whose birthday is actually being celebrated. At least everyone's having a good time though.

Do any of you pet owners celebrate your critters' birthdays? If so, have any of you uploaded the videos? Feel free to leave links to the celebrations in the comments!

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Animals
Orlando Animal Shelter Sorts Dogs Into Hogwarts Houses
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Harry is a Gryffindor. Draco is a Slytherin. But what is Fido? An Orlando, Florida animal shelter’s sorting ceremony will decide. As The Dodo alerts us, the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando has started sorting its adoptable dogs into Hogwarts houses to make it easier for potential adopters to get a sense of their personalities.

For lack of a magic hat, the shelter came up with a test to sort dogs based on their behavior. According to the Pet Alliance:

For example, a dog who takes to learning obedience cues or quickly figures out a puzzle has the KNOWLEDGE of a Ravenclaw. A small dog who has the determination to climb the agility A-Frame possesses the AMBITION of Slytherin house. Our affectionate happy-to-know-you dogs embody the FRIENDLINESS of a Hufflepuff, and a dog who embraces change and new things has the BRAVERY known to all Gryffindors.

A banner labelled “Pawgwarts” shows the Hogwarts houses’ arms with dog silhouettes on them.

Once they’re sorted, the dogs get a banner for their cage that announces their respective house. (Not a lot of dogs are Ravenclaws, which I guess means that puzzle toy is really hard.) The fun promotion has brought in plenty of adopters looking to add a new canine wizard to their own house.

"For many guests visiting our shelter, there is an instant recognition for our 'Pawgwarts Houses,' based on the overwhelming popularity of the book series," Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando communications manager Stephen O'Neal tells Mental Floss. "People come in knowing what their personal house is and are so enthusiastic about our Potter-inspired sorting process." The sorting quiz on the shelter's website has been taken more than 30,000 times, he says.

A sign with a badger printed on it reads "Hufflepuff House Values."

Besides being a very social media-friendly way to advertise dogs, the sorting is a helpful way to show off a dog’s personality traits while avoiding any talk of breed. Since DNA research shows that a huge number of dogs in shelters are labeled as the wrong breed—particularly dogs labeled as pit bulls—the Pet Alliance has stopped listing breeds altogether. And Hogwarts houses describe how a dog acts instead of what its parents looked like, making them far more useful for finding the perfect new pet. At least for Harry Potter fans.

Most of the shelter's cats haven't been sorted (probably because most cats refuse to wear cute clothes) but Cody, at least, deigned to wear his Hufflepuff scarf.

[h/t The Dodo]

All images by Art Faulkner, courtesy Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando.

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Food
This Couple Has Spent the Past 30 Years Visiting Every Cracker Barrel in the U.S.
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Ray and Wilma Yoder are probably America's foremost amateur experts on Cracker Barrel restaurants. As Eater reports, the Indiana couple is on a 30-year quest to eat at every single Cracker Barrel in the U.S. And they’ve almost completed it.

Ray Yoder of Goshen, Indiana, first started going to Cracker Barrel regularly when he worked delivering RVs across the country. Soon, Wilma was coming along, too, and the couple began hunting down Cracker Barrel locations in earnest, a pastime they’ve pursued for the past three decades.

Cracker Barrel got its start in Lebanon, Tennessee, in 1969, and according to Ray, visiting the restaurants while on the road felt like being at home. “It has a down-home spirit, and everybody is friendly,” he told the Lebanon Democrat. He told the paper that stopping at Cracker Barrels helped relieve boredom when he was on the road.

Ray and Wilma Yoder stand in front of two RVs outside a Cracker Barrel.

Now, he and Wilma are celebrities to those in the Cracker Barrel know. Cracker Barrel’s corporate leadership invites them to opening day at new stores. Employees know of them, and sometimes they receive gift baskets when they come in to cross a new Cracker Barrel off their list. People ask to take their picture when they visit.

The 80-year-olds have just two rules for their visits: At each location, they always buy something, even if it’s just a cup of coffee, and leave a tip. There’s no limit on how many Cracker Barrels they’ll go to in a single day, though. They once visited 10 different locations on a drive along the East Coast. Overall, their Cracker Barrel adventure has taken them more than 5 million miles across 44 states.

The Yoders recently visited their 644th Cracker Barrel, attending a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new location in Lavonia, Georgia, in early July. They’re hoping to hit up the last Cracker Barrel on their list—until the next one opens, that is—by heading to Tualatin, Oregon, sometime later this year.

Update: Portland news station KGW reports that the Yoders have now completed their quest, stopping in at the Tualatin Cracker Barrel on August 28. The company flew them to Oregon for the occasion, which marked the end of their 645-restaurant journey. For now, at least.

[h/t Eater]

All images courtesy Cracker Barrel

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