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]

100 Dachshunds Competed in Cincinnati’s Annual ‘Running of the Wieners’

NORRIE3699/iStock via Getty Images
NORRIE3699/iStock via Getty Images

Every year, to kick off Cincinnati’s Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, 100 dachshunds compete in heats to decide who the fastest dachshund in the Midwest is. This year marks the 43rd annual Oktoberfest—one of the biggest Oktoberfest celebrations outside of Germany (more than 500,000 people attend the three-day event).

On the afternoon of Thursday, September 19, 100 wiener dogs (and their owners and handlers) gathered in downtown Cincinnati for the 2019 "Running of the Wieners." The dogs, dressed in hot dog costumes, ran 10 heats, which lasted 75 feet or five seconds each. The winner of each heat advanced to the final round, where the top three finishers were decided.

Maple, a long-haired, one-year-old dachshund, ran his way into first place—and into our hearts.

Maple’s owner, Jake Sander, told WCPO that Maple is one of five dachshunds in the family, and that he learned to run fast by chasing his brother around. Leo and Bucky, two other doxies, placed second and third, respectively.

Besides the Running of the Wieners, Zinzinnati also hosts the World’s Largest Chicken Dance. However, the wiener dogs are more fun to watch.

Photographer Captures Polka-Dotted Zebra Foal in Kenya

Frank Liu
Frank Liu

Zebras are known for their eye-catching patterns, but this polka-dotted foal recently photographed in Kenya's Masai Mara National Reserve really stands out from the herd. As National Geographic reports, the zebra baby likely has pseudomelanism, a rare pigment condition that's been observed in the wild just a handful of times.

Nature photographer Frank Liu saw the zebra foal while looking for rhinos in the savannah wilderness preserve. After initially confusing the specimen for a different type of animal, he realized upon closer inspection that it was actually a plains zebra born with spots instead of stripes. The newborn foal was named Tira after the Maasai guide Antony Tira who first pointed him out.

Zebra foal with spots walking with mother.
Frank Liu

Zebra foal with spots.
Frank Liu

A typical zebra pattern is the result of pigment cells called melanocytes, which are responsible for the black base coat, and melanin, which gives the animal its white stripes. (So if you've ever wondered if zebras are white with black stripes or black with white stripes, the answer is the latter). In Tira and other zebras with pseudomelanism, the melanocytes are fully expressed, but a genetic mutation causes the melanin to appear as dots rather than unbroken stripes.

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Though rare, this isn't the only time a zebra with pseudomelanism has been documented in nature. Pseudomelanistic zebras have also been spotted in Botswana’s Okavango Delta, but Liu believes this could be the first time one was found in the Masai Mara preserve.

Zebra stripes aren't just for decoration. The distinct pattern may act as camouflage, bug repellant, and a built-in temperature regulation system. Without these evolutionary benefits, Tira has a lower chance of making it to adulthood: Pseudomelanistic zebra adults are rarely observed for this reason. But as Liu's photographs show, the foal has the protection and acceptance of his herd on his side.

[h/t National Geographic]