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Lucy Lou/Facebook
Lucy Lou/Facebook

7 Dogs and Cats with Unusual Jobs

Lucy Lou/Facebook
Lucy Lou/Facebook

From herding sheep to pulling sleds to bringing down criminals, dogs have worked for humans since they were domesticated a long time ago. It's a win-win situation, since the dog receives room and board for life, plus the satisfaction of pleasing his boss. That's not much of a factor for cats, who are mostly employed in pest control. Still, every once in a while we find a cat or dog who is gainfully employed in some activity that surprises us. Here are some of those hardworking dogs and cats.

1. Lucy Lou, the Small Town Mayor

Rabbit Hash, Kentucky achieved some notoriety in 1998 by electing a dog to be its mayor. Since then, all mayoral elections in the unincorporated village have been won by dogs, although cats, goats, and other animals have run for the office. Lucy Lou, the current mayor, is the third dog to hold the office. The border collie won a hotly-contested race in 2008 and spends her time in office at the town's General Store, posing for pictures, greeting visitors and "making sure they see all the sights." She also maintains a Facebook page

2. Millie the Security Guard

Dogs work as security guards all over the world, as can be seen in the the many "beware of dog" signs in private homes and businesses. But Millie is a cat. This feline guard works at Bandai’s toy warehouse in Southampton, England. Millie, a Bengal, was assigned the job because she was always on the factory floor anyway. The position comes with a tiny uniform (a t-shirt) and a lifetime supply of fish and cat food.

3. Misty, the Quarry Administrator

Misty is a 9-year-old border collie who is an administrator at Burlington Stone in Cumbria, UK. Elaine Prickett started bringing Misty to work with her as a puppy, and over the years the dog learned what goes on and how to do it. For the past five years, Misty greets customers and takes their orders -in her mouth- to the office. She also carries and returns credit cards and invoices, delivering them without a scratch, only an occasional bit of wetness. She was never formally trained to do the work, but picked it up herself from watching the human workers. Customers love Misty because she is eager to please and never has a bad word to say. See Misty in action on video

4. Virginia the Foster Mother

The Cattery Cat Shelter in Corpus Christi, Texas, gets litters of kittens in frequently, and finds homes for them. Then there is Virginia, the cat who works as their foster mother, watching, bathing, cuddling, and keeping the kittens out of trouble until they are adopted. When the kittens leave, there is always another litter to take care of. The job of foster mother is not all that rare for a cat, but Virginia is a special case, because of her disabilities.

Perhaps one day Virginia will find her forever home, but according to Person, it will take "a really special household." Virginia is disabled -- one of her rear legs has been amputated, and the other is paralyzed. Lacking control of her bladder and bowels, she also wears a diaper.

At the Cattery, homeless, abused, or abandoned cats live cage-free and are separated by age groups. Virginia cannot handle the occasionally rough play of cats her own age, so she lives with the kittens -- and she has embraced the role of adoptive mother. And until she finds that special home of her own, Person says, there's always room for her at the Cattery, which is a no-kill shelter.

The staff built a therapy cart for Virginia to help her strengthen and learn to use her remaining hind leg, and she has made some progress.

5. Lolo the Truffle Hunter

Lolo works for Toil and Truffle in Seattle as a truffle-sniffing dog. The highly-prized fungus hides in lush woodlands, but a dog's nose can find them with proper training. Lolo is a Lagotto Romagnolo, a breed traditionally associated with truffle-hunting, but she has co-workers that are mixed breeds who also find truffles. Toil and Truffle has quite a few trained dogs available for hire to landowners who want to find truffles.

6. Sable the Crossing Guard

The students at Enterprise Middle School in West Richland, Washington state, have extra help crossing the road. Sable is a black cat who worked his way into a job as crossing guard by being there every day as the children arrived in the morning and left school in the afternoon. Sable does it for the love of the kids, who give him plenty of attention and ear scratches. After he made the newspapers, owner Tamara Morrison got the cat an orange safety vest, and he was made an honorary member of the Enterprise Safety Patrol. That was last year. Recently, the Morrisons gave Sable to a teacher at the school because they are planning to move to Colorado. Sable went missing from his new owner's home just last week. Those involved believe he missed the crossing and tried to find his way back.

7. Tucker the Orca Poop Sniffer

Researchers study marine animals in more ways than just watching them. Analyzing the scat they leave behind can give them invaluable information about the animal's genes, diet, and health. Tucker is a black Labrador scat detection dog trained in finding orca droppings for the Center for Whale Research. Tucker was turned down for employment by law enforcement because he was too hyper, but life on a boat helps him focus on the job, because he's afraid of the water! His team says that other dogs were distracted because they wanted to swim, but Tucker goes to work, then is rewarded with his favorite activity -playing with a ball.

See more working dogs and cats in these previous posts:
10 Stories of Lifesaving Dogs
6 Remarkable Police Animals
Four Feline Photographers
10 Excellent Bookstore Cats
8 Library Cats
7 Heroic Dogs
10 of History's Most Power-Hungry Cats

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Smart Shopping
15 Funny Novelty Toys For Pets
iStock
iStock

Want to get your pet a toy that shares your interests? These cute and amusing novelty creations will provide your dog or cat (and you) with plenty of entertainment, and your human friends will appreciate their strong pun game. And, they're great inspiration for funny Instagram photos.

1. STARBARKS COFFEE; $12

Starbarks Coffee DogToy
Amazon

If your dog loves going to Starbucks for a puppuccino, order a grande Starbarks Frenchie Roast so they can get their fix every day.

Find It: Amazon

2. EXCALIGRRR SWORD; $14

ExcaliGRRR Sword dog toy
BarkShop

This chew toy is worth it just to repeat the "Knights of the Hound Table" and "King Arfur" jokes that BarkShop suggests.

Find It: BarkShop

3. THE BARK POST; $10

newspaper dog toy
BarkShop

Did you know that dogs prefer print media? After all, you can't shred the internet. This newspaper toy is printed with real dog articles from BarkShop's blog, BarkPost.

Find It: BarkShop

4. CAT NIP TEA BAG; $4

cat nip tea bag toy
Etsy

If your ideal Sunday involves lounging on the couch with a good book, a cup of tea, and your cat at your feet, get your kitten its very own tea bag. This handmade toy is filled with organic cat nip and comes in four different ribbon patterns.

Find It: Etsy

5. LICK-CROIX BARKLING WATER; $14

LaCroix dog toy
GlamourMutt

If your dog loves to ride in your cart while you shop at Whole Foods, get him his own can of LaCroix-inspired Lick-Croix Barkling Water (Pamplemutt flavor, of course). Cheers!

Find It: GlamourMutt

6. HUMUNGA TONGUE; $11

Humunga Tongue dog toy
Amazon

This giant tongue with a ball on the end will make for tons of silly photos. Just make sure you buy the right size for your pooch.

Find It: Amazon

7. DOGGO DOGGO BILLS, Y'ALL; $8

stack of bills dog toy
BarkShop

Have you already spoiled your dog with every fancy bed, jacket, and toy imaginable? Maybe with a stack of money, they can learn to finance their own doggo lifestyle. In addition to squeaking, the toy crinkles just like crisp dollar bills.

Find It: BarkShop

8. RUCKSACK; $10

Rucksack dog toy
BarkShop

Does your pup love the great outdoors? This rucksack is perfect for his travels around the yard—just don't let him chase any cars while carrying it!

Find It: BarkShop

9. BOOM BOX; $11

boom box dog toy
BarkShop

When your dog picks up this boom box, he'll look like he's ready to party—or make a grand romantic gesture à la Lloyd Dobler in Say Anything.

Find It: BarkShop

10. CHEWY VUITON HANDBAG; $10

Chewy Vuiton dog toy
Amazon

This Chewy Vuiton purse is perfect for any fashionable doggies, even if they're named Gucci, Prada, or Dolce.

Find It: Amazon

11. TAKEOUT DUMPLINGS; $16

Dog with plush dumpling toys
BarkShop

If your fur baby begs for a bite every time you order in, get them their own "meal" of plush dumplings, complete with a Chinese takeout box replica.

Find It: BarkShop

12. IBONE; $17

iBone Plush Dog Toy
Amazon

Does your dog feel left out when you're Snapchatting or playing Candy Crush? Get him his own "iBone," so you can each stare at your phones in peace.

Find It: Amazon

13. VANDERPUMP SANGRIA; $17

Vanderpump sangria dog toy
GlamourMutt

It's not drinking alone if your dog is drinking with you! Get your overly pampered pooch a bottle of Lisa Vanderpump-branded sangria in pink or red, and settle in for a night of looking for Giggy or Rumpy Pumpy appearances on RHOBH or Vanderpump Rules.

Find It: GlamourMutt

14. CATNIP BANANA PEEL; $7

Your kitty will be tripping all over itself to get ahold of this organic catnip-filled banana peel. And perhaps it can serve as a reminder to increase your own daily fruit intake.

Find It: Etsy

15. ERNESTO THE FISH TACO; FROM $10

fish taco dog toy
BarkShop

Not all beaches allow dogs to bask in the sun, but that shouldn't stop your pup from enjoying a giant fish taco.

Find It: BarkShop

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Catio Spaces
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Animals
A 'Catio' Gives Your Indoor Cat a Taste of Nature
Catio Spaces
Catio Spaces

Cats usually fall into one of two categories: outdoor or indoor. Now, a company based in Seattle is working to erase the boundaries between these groups. As PureWow reports, Catio Spaces sells plans for outdoor enclosures that allow your feline companions to enjoy being in nature without wandering too far from home.

Each Catio is designed to be made from a wooden frame, escape-proof wiring, and cedar shelves for cats to lounge on. The boxes can attach to a window or door leading outside, allowing your cat to wander in and out without putting itself in harm's way (or posing a threat to wildlife).

"Cats naturally want to be outside where they can breathe fresh air and experience the sights, sounds and stimulation of the natural world," the Catio Spaces website reads. "A catio, an outdoor cat enclosure or 'cat patio,' is the purrfect solution to solve the indoor/outdoor dilemma."

Plans for DIY catios you can assemble at home range in price from $40 to $70 (materials not included). You can order and download yours today, with 10 percent of your purchase price going to an animal welfare organization.

Patio for cats.
Catio Spaces

Cats in cat patio.
Catio Spaces

[h/t PureWow]

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