The Dog Who Raised a Deer
KATE & PIPPIN
For three days in June 2008, Isobel Springett heard the fawn crying. Apparently abandoned by its mother, the deer was weak and shivering when Springett placed it on a dog bed with her Great Dane Kate. "She tucked her head under the dog's elbow," says Springett, 54, a former animal control officer. And Kate took the deer to heart."Her whole demeanor changed," says Springett. "I knew she was a good dog, but I didn't expect her to mother the fawn." The deer her family named Pippin trailed Kate until returning to the wild weeks later. "But every morning she'd show up, tail wagging, looking for Kate and a bottle." The bond continued, even when Pippin didn't need mothering. When she was a teen, "Pippin and Kate started to play like two deer, leaping and running into each other." Years on, she now visits with her own fawns. The wild offspring keep a distance, but not Pippin. "They still love to rub noses," says Springett of the deer and her dog, now 11. "There's a strong connection, but they have no idea it's a weird one."
The Cat Who Came Back
West Palm Beach, Fla.
Bonnie and Jacob Richter were devastated when their cat Holly ran away from their motor home during a trip to Daytona Beach last November. They searched for days—and later put up flyers—but finally had to head home without her. Jacob, 69, "was heartbroken," says Bonnie, 63. In January they got a call: Holly, 4, had turned up a mile from home, 190 miles from where they lost her. The microchip under the cat's skin confirmed it was Holly, roughed up and half her old weight. "She was so weak she couldn't meow," says Barb Mazzola, 52, the neighbor who found her. At the reunion she snuggled up to Jacob, and, says Bonnie, "it was so obvious that's where she belonged."
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WEST PALM BEACH
A Blind Sled Dog's Brotherly Bond
GONZO & PONCHO
Sled dogs are known for strength, speed and keen senses. So when Karen Tolin, co-owner of Muddy Paw Sled Dog Kennel, learned that her Alaskan husky Gonzo was going blind, she feared for his spot on the team. Help came from a surprising place: his brother Poncho. "Usually dogs don't touch on a run," says Tolin. But as Gonzo's eyes failed, "Poncho started to nudge him and remind him to turn." Once when Gonzo fell into a deep snowdrift, Poncho "grabbed his brother's harness and lifted him to his feet," says Tolin's partner Neil Beaulieu. After hundreds of runs, the dogs, he says, "have taught us all a lot."
The Cat Who Is Not Amused
She is not cheered by her 15 million YouTube views. She does not perk up seeing people wait for hours in the rain to get a photo with her. And the new gig appearing in a cat food company's Web series? Whatever. This is one grumpy cat. Or at least she appears to be in the sourpuss photos that have made her an Internet star. It began last September when maintenance technician Bryan Bundesen, 34, posted a picture of his sister Tabitha's 5-month-old cat on reddit.com. In 48 hours the cat, named Tardar Sauce, had more than 1.5 million hits and a new alias: Grumpy Cat. She has since appeared on TV and inspired a slew of products. Grumpy Cat nail decals, anyone? The irony: "She is very sweet," insists Tabitha, 27, a student. "The grumpy thing is just a look."
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