Ohio Shelter Is Giving Dogs Short-Term Homes for the Holidays With Its "Sleepover" Program

iStock/Bogdan Kurylo
iStock/Bogdan Kurylo

The holiday season is often dubbed as “the most wonderful time of the year,” and one Ohio dog shelter is doing what it can to make that true for its resident pups. Through the end of the year, the Franklin County Dog Shelter and Adoption Center in Columbus is offering pet-loving families the chance to host a three-day “Holiday Sleepover” with a homeless pet over the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and/or New Year’s Day holidays.

Though the facility has caretakers onsite to feed and walk their adoptable dogs during the holidays, the shelter itself is closed—meaning that these doggos’ interactions with loving humans will be limited.

In addition to giving these homeless pets all the head pats and belly scratches they can handle, the Holiday Sleepover program gives the shelter a chance to test out what sort of environment might be best suited to each pet when it comes time to finding their forever home.

After three days of gratis puppy kisses, all shelter asks of prospective Sleepover participants is that they share any details about the experience. “We give them a little report card to fill out to get a little more information on the dog than what we had before and we're hoping that will help them get adopted a lot quicker,” shelter director Kaye Dickson told KMBC News. "It's just such a happier environment for these dogs to be in a home versus being stuck in a cage.”

Of course, the ultimate hope is that sleepover hosts won't want to part with their furry new friends. "We're hoping these host families fall in love with the animals as well and they may definitely adopt them," Dickson said. Think of it as a sort of canine test drive—but with a lot more licks.

Even if you’re not in a position to adopt a dog at the moment, you can feel good about giving the little guy a holiday to remember. Visit the shelter's website to learn more about the program. And if you don't live near Columbus, but love the idea of having an adorable pooch take part in your annual tree-trimming party, contact some shelters in your own area to see if they offer any similar programs. Many do.

No Venom, No Problem: This Spider Uses a Slingshot to Catch Prey

Courtesy of Sarah Han
Courtesy of Sarah Han

There are thousands of ways nature can kill, and spider species often come up with the most creative methods of execution. Hyptiotes cavatus, otherwise known as the triangle weaver spider, is one such example. Lacking venom, the spider manages to weaponize its silk, using it to hurl itself forward like a terrifying slingshot to trap its prey.

This unusual method was studied up close for a recent paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by researchers at the University of Akron in Ohio. They say it's the only known instance of an animal using an external device—its web—for power amplification.

Hyptiotes cavatus's technique is simple. After constructing a web, the spider takes one of the main strands and breaks it in half, pulling it taut by moving backwards. Then, it anchors itself to a spot with more webbing in the rear. When the spider releases that webbing, it surges forward, propelled by the sudden release of stored energy. In the slingshot analogy, the webbing is the strap and the spider is the projectile.

This jerking motion causes the web to oscillate, tangling the spider's prey further in silk. The spider can repeat this until the web has completely immobilized its prey, a low-risk entrapment that doesn’t require the spider to get too close and risk injury from larger victims.

The triangle weaver spider doesn’t have venom, and it needs to be proactive in attacking and stifling prey. Once a potential meal lands in its web, it’s able to clear distances much more quickly using this slingshot technique than if it crawled over. In the lab, scientists clocked the spider’s acceleration at 2535 feet per second squared.

Spiders are notoriously nimble and devious. Cebrennus rechenbergi, or the flic-flac spider, can do cartwheels to spin out of danger; Myrmarachne resemble ants and even wiggle their front legs like ant antennae. It helps them avoid predators, but if they see a meal, they’ll drop the act and pounce. With H. cavatus, it now appears they’re learning to use tools, too.

[h/t Live Science]

Plano, Texas Is Home to a Dog-Friendly Movie Theater That Serves Bottomless Wine or Whiskey

K9 Cinemas
K9 Cinemas

For dog owners in Plano, Texas, movie night with Fido no longer just means cuddling on the couch and browsing Netflix. The recently opened K9 Cinemas invites moviegoers—both human and canine—to watch classic films on the big screen. And the best part for the human members of this couple? Your $15 ticket includes bottomless wine or whiskey (or soft drinks if you're under 21).

The theater operates as a pop-up (or perhaps pup-up?) in a private event space near Custer Road and 15th Street in Plano. Snacks—both the pet and people kind—are available for $2 apiece. Dogs are limited to two per person, and just 25 human seats are sold per showing to leave room for the furry guests.

Pet owners are asked follow a few rules in order to take advantage of what the theater has to offer. Dogs must be up-to-date on all their shots, and owners can submit veterinary records online or bring a hard copy to the theater to verify their pooch's health status. Once inside, owners are responsible for taking their dog out for potty breaks and cleaning up after any accidents that happen (thankfully the floors are concrete and easy to wipe down).

While many of the movies shown are canine-themed—a recent screening of A Dog's Journey included branded bandanas with every ticket purchase—they also hold special events, like a Game of Thrones finale watch party (no word on how the puppers in attendance responded to Jon Snow finally acknowledging what a good boy Ghost is).