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Minnesota Dog Walks Four Miles Every Day to See His Friends in Town

Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, and in Longville, Minnesota, dogs gotta walk. At least one dog, anyway.

For the past 12 years, a Chesapeake-Lab mix named Bruno has been regularly walking four miles (eight miles round trip) to downtown Longville from his country home to socialize, collect treats, and hang around. His almost daily commute has made Bruno a beloved town legend.

"Everybody knows Bruno," resident Sharon Rouse told KARE11 News. "[You] may not know the people, but you'll know Bruno."

The pup belongs to Larry and Debbie LaVallee, who took Bruno in after he appeared in a box on their driveway over a decade ago. They tried to keep him tied up, but the dog’s desire to roam was too great, and he started making his way to town every day.

Now, he’s somewhat of a celebrity, with regular stops at city hall, the ice cream shop, and the back door of a local grocery store, where employees help Bruno fuel up with deli counter scraps. People know and greet Bruno, sometimes to the surprise of the LaVallees, who only know a fraction of their dog's many admirers. His wandering has even earned him the title of "Town Dog and Ambassador," which is set in literal stone in a Longville statue.

As he’s gotten older, Bruno’s trips down Highway 84 have slowed a bit. According to The Kansas City Star, the canine sometimes even takes a break, settling down right in the middle of the road. It’s no problem though—the town that opens its doors to the rambling pup is also more than willing to drive around him.

To see Bruno in action, check out the report from KARE11 below, and to see updated photos, head on over to the dog's Facebook page.

[h/t WLTX-TV]

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Animals
Pigeons Are Secretly Brilliant Birds That Understand Space and Time, Study Finds
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Of all the birds in the world, the pigeon draws the most ire. Despite their reputation as brainless “rats with wings,” though, they’re actually pretty brilliant (and beautiful) animals. A new study adds more evidence that the family of birds known as pigeons are some of the smartest birds around, as Quartz alerts us.

In addition to being able to distinguish English vocabulary from nonsense words, spot cancer, and tell a Monet from a Picasso, pigeons can understand abstract concepts like space and time, according to the new study published in Current Biology. Their brains just do it in a slightly different way than humans’ do.

Researchers at the University of Iowa set up an experiment where they showed pigeons a computer screen featuring a static horizontal line. The birds were supposed to evaluate the length of the line (either 6 centimeters or 24 centimeters) or the amount of time they saw it (either 2 or 8 seconds). The birds perceived "the longer lines to have longer duration, and lines longer in duration to also be longer in length," according to a press release. This suggests that the concepts are processed in the same region of the brain—as they are in the brains of humans and other primates.

But that abstract thinking doesn’t occur in the same way in bird brains as it does in ours. In humans, perceiving space and time is linked to a region of the brain called the parietal cortex, which the pigeon brains lack entirely. So their brains have to have some other way of processing the concepts.

The study didn’t determine how, exactly, pigeons achieve this cognitive feat, but it’s clear that some other aspect of the central nervous system must be controlling it. That also opens up the possibility that other non-mammal animals can perceive space and time, too, expanding how we think of other animals’ cognitive capabilities.

[h/t Quartz]

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The Queen's Racing Pigeons Are in Danger, Due to an Increase in Peregrine Falcons
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Queen Elizabeth is famous for her love of corgis and horses, but her pet pigeons don't get as much press. The monarch owns nearly 200 racing pigeons, which she houses in a luxury loft at her country estate, Sandringham House, in Norfolk, England. But thanks to a recent boom in the region’s peregrine falcon population, the Queen’s swift birds may no longer be able to safely soar around the countryside, according to The Telegraph.

Once endangered, recent conservation efforts have boosted the peregrine falcon’s numbers. In certain parts of England, like Norfolk and the city of Salisbury in Wiltshire, the creatures can even find shelter inside boxes installed at local churches and cathedrals, which are designed to protect potential eggs.

There’s just one problem: Peregrine falcons are birds of prey, and local pigeon racers claim these nesting nooks are located along racing routes. Due to this unfortunate coincidence, some pigeons are failing to return to their owners.

Pigeon racing enthusiasts are upset, but Richard Salt of Salisbury Cathedral says it's simply a case of nature taking its course. "It's all just part of the natural process,” Salt told The Telegraph. "The peregrines came here on their own account—we didn't put a sign out saying 'room for peregrines to let.' Obviously we feel quite sorry for the pigeons, but the peregrines would be there anyway."

In the meantime, the Queen might want to keep a close eye on her birds (or hire someone who will), or consider taking advantage of Sandringham House's vast open spaces for a little indoor fly-time.

[h/t The Telegraph]

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