Missouri Now Has a Retirement Home for Senior Shelter Dogs

Shep's Place Senior Dog Sanctuary
Shep's Place Senior Dog Sanctuary

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but you can give them a fresh start. As the AP reports, a new sanctuary in Independence, Missouri, rescues dogs from animal shelters and gives them a loving home where they can spend their “golden days in retirement,” according to the facility’s founder, Russell Clothier.

It’s called Shep's Place Senior Dog Sanctuary, and it serves older doggies in the Kansas City area that are effectively homeless, having lived in shelters for many years. Clothier said he came up with the idea while volunteering at shelters and noticing that the elderly dogs often got left behind.

“We believe senior dogs deserve to live out their lives in a safe, loving environment,” the sanctuary writes on its website. “Our facility and volunteers are dedicated to caring for these dogs, to give them the support and attention they have lost. We will try to find new families for them, but if we can’t, we will be their family and home, for as long as they live.”

The sanctuary is situated on four acres of land in a renovated old house. After spending much of their lives in kennels, the dogs who come to Shep’s Place get to run (or mosey) around, play in the yard, and sleep when and where they like. The sanctuary says it’s starting out with just a few dogs for now, but has plans to expand.

Check out some photos of the adorable residents below, and visit the sanctuary’s website to find out how to volunteer.

A brown dog
By George PR (BGPR)
Two dogs are handed a treat
By George PR
A dog scratching
By George PR
A one-eyed dog
Shep’s Place Senior Dog Sanctuary
A dog looking at the camera
Russell Clothier
A dog with birthday cupcakes
Russell Clothier

[h/t San Francisco Chronicle]

A Same-Sex Penguin Couple Has Adopted an Egg at a Berlin Zoo

LisaStratchan/iStock via Getty Images
LisaStratchan/iStock via Getty Images

At first glance, king penguins Skip and Ping don’t appear to be too remarkable a sight when viewed by spectators at their enclosure at Germany's Zoo Berlin. But look closer and you may see one of them nurturing an egg under one of their skin folds. Skip and Ping, a same-sex penguin couple, have effectively adopted an egg and hope to raise it as their own baby.

A story by writer Liam Stack in The New York Times details their pursuit of parenthood. According to Stack, the penguins arrived at Zoo Berlin in April and were observed to have a degree of baby fever, trying to coddle everything from a rock to a fish. Taking note of their coupling, zookeepers passed on an unhatched egg laid by a female at the zoo. They immediately took to it, taking protective measures and growing ornery when employees got too close. Ping has taken to sitting on the egg in the hopes it will hatch.

That’s not guaranteed. Zookeepers aren't certain whether the egg was fertilized. If it is, it’s likely to crack open in early September, giving Skip and Ping an opportunity to expand their family.

Earlier this year, a same-sex penguin pair named Sphen and Magic began rearing a chick in Australia’s Sea Life Sydney Aquarium. The doting parents sang to and fed their adoptive offspring.

[h/t The New York Times]

Airlines Are No Longer Allowed to Ban Service Dogs Based on Breed

chaivit/iStock via Getty Images
chaivit/iStock via Getty Images

As the species of service and emotional support animals have become more diverse, airlines have had to make some tough decisions. Birds, monkeys, and snakes have been barred from boarding airplanes with passengers, but even more conventional pets like dogs have been rejected based on their breed. A new rule from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) aims to change that. As Travel + Leisure reports, the agency now forbids airlines from discriminating against service dogs of particular breeds, including pit bulls.

Last year, Delta banned all pit bulls from flying, regardless of whether or not they were certified therapy animals. United Airlines also banned pit bulls last year, along with 20 other dog breeds, including pugs, bulldogs, mastiffs, and shih tzus.

Under the new DOT guidelines, these policies are no longer legal. The statement reads: "The Department’s Enforcement Office views a limitation based exclusively on breed of the service animal to not be allowed under its service animal regulation. The Enforcement Office intends to use available resources to ensure that dogs as a species are accepted for transport."

The new rule applies specifically to service animals, or animals that have been trained to perform a job that's essential to their owner's wellbeing. Emotional support animals, which don't require special training and aren't covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act, don't qualify.

Even if a pet is a certified service animal, airlines still have the right to reject them in certain cases. Air travel companies can request documents related to an animal's vaccination, training, or behavior history. If they find anything in the papers that indicates they're not safe to fly, airlines can turn them away on that basis.

In the same statement, the Department of Transportation clarifies which species of service animals should be allowed on flights. Miniature horses are now included on the list of service animals airlines must allow to fly, while ferrets, rodents, snakes, reptiles, and spiders are the only species airlines can ban outright.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]