A young lady named Bridget Evans graduated from the graduate program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign this week — and right by her side, wearing a matching blue cap and gown, was her service dog named Hero. “We can read each other’s minds,” Evans told “The Today Show.” “We’re so attuned to each other. He’s my best friend, roommate, classmate, and like my sibling. I’m so grateful that I got to celebrate my day with Hero by my side and my family in the audience.” Evans’ six-year-old chocolate Lab accompanies his mistress everywhere to help her cope with spina bifida, a spine-related birth defect which has required 37 surgeries. He’s pulled her wheelchair up ramps, picked up dropped pens and turned off lights. The 24-year-old said that since Hero attended every single one of her classes, “He deserved a cap and gown as much as I did.” Damn straight! Congratulations to Bridget Evans and her Hero! [NBC News Tumblr] [Photo via Bridget Evans]
As you probably know by now, the cicadas are coming. Thirty billion cicadas, to be exact, are poised to swarm the northeastern United States pretty much any day now after spending the past 17 years underground. Many of my east coast friends have already vowed to stay inside for four to six weeks while the cicadas dutifully buzz, breed, and die; others are dreading the inevitable clean-up of the billions of crunchy post-coital cicada corpses. But one person I know is really excited about the cicada invasion: my dad. For as long as I can remember, cicada breeding seasons have been like extended Christmases for my family. I’d often find my dad out in the yard listening to the cicadas’ deafening buzz with his eyes closed, as if it were the most beautiful symphony he’d ever heard. On the exciting occasion that he would catch one of the massive insects, he’d pass it around to my brothers and me, instructing us to gently close our hands around it and feel the vibrations emitted by its trademark buzzing. Even a passionate bug hater like me had to admit it was pretty cool.
How could anyone love these much-loathed insects? Why are they so damn loud? Can cicadas hurt people? What advice does he have for people who are scared of this year’s “Swarmageddon”? Read on to get the scoop on cicadas from their biggest fan, my dad… Keep reading »
Just in case you were still not convinced that hippos deserve a place on our list of animals that are total assholes, does Paul Templer have a story for you. Templer was working as a tour guide on Africa’s Zambezi River when his group of kayaks came across a two-ton bull hippo who wasn’t exactly thrilled to see them. The hippo overturned one of the canoes and as Templer paddled over to help his comrades, the hippo lunged and swallowed him:
“I was aware that my legs were surrounded by water, but my top half was almost dry. I seemed to be trapped in something slimy. There was a terrible, sulphurous smell, like rotten eggs, and a tremendous pressure against my chest. My arms were trapped but I managed to free one hand and felt around – my palm passed through the wiry bristles of the hippo’s snout. It was only then that I realized I was underwater, trapped up to my waist in his mouth.” Keep reading »
Is there anything sweeter than animal moms snuggling their babies? Even if you and your mom don’t have the most Hallmark of relationships, your heart melts into a big mushy puddle when you see a mommy dog/goat/wildebeest/whatever giving her newborn babe a bath with her tongue. Yeah, her own tongue. The animal kingdom is intense.
In honor of Mother’s Day, here are our favorite videos of animal moms and babies — obviously baby panda and her mommy are first. Very important disclaimer: we have no liability if your ovaries explode! I might be figuring out how I can get pregnant with a baby koala … Keep reading »
Following in the steps of Paris’ lawn-mowing sheep, Chicago O’Hare recently announced a two-year plan to hire a herd of goats to keep grass trimmed on airport grounds. The adorable (and eco-friendly!) goat grounds crew will be able to access areas that are hard for landscaping machinery to get to, and happily chow down on invasive plants and weeds. Other airports have successfully used goats and sheep to maintain their green spaces, and O’Hare spokesperson Karen Pride says the new goat employees align with Chicago’s greater goal to be the most sustainable airport in the country. The bad news? Passengers probably won’t get to admire the goats. “It might be possible upon approach or take off to see the goats, but unlikely,” says Pride. Well, I think it’s still worth a trip to Chicago to find out for sure. [NBC]
Vegans have a bigger sexual appetite! That’s PETA’s new ploy to get us to stop eating/wearing/using animal products. And how do they illustrate their point? Oh, with a supercut of wild animals fucking set to the tune of “Teddy Bear’s Picnic.” I certainly enjoyed PETA’s “Do It Like They Do” ad way more than the 30 seconds I watched of James Deen’s penis plunging into Farrah Abraham’s butthole, that’s for sure. Still, it failed to convince me to cut all animal products out of my diet, considering my sex drive seems to be just fine. Sorry, PETA! But thanks for the animal sex! [Broward New Times]
Have you been having trouble finding a good selection of clothing, hats, and hair extensions for your pet guinea pig? Fret no more, my friends: an online store called, fittingly, Guinea Pig Fashion has got you covered. The Japanese retailer carries a huge variety of cavy [That's another name for the guinea pig, FYI. -- Amelia] clothing and accessories, from basic tank tops to traditional kimonos to elaborate wedding dresses. Most items are less than $20, so you can afford to get your furry friend a whole new wardrobe! [Buzzfeed]
Don’t get me wrong, I am not about to complain about this choice photograph of Robert De Niro clutching Lil Bub at the Tribeca Film Festival Directors Brunch. However. As an animal lover, I do have my concerns that Bub’s saturation level has passed the point of Internet sensation and entered exploitation territory. Bub is but a very brief, very lovely shooting star in our mortal universe, not meant to stick around long, and I fear for her well-being when she is being paraded around at huge events with large crowds like so. But nobody else seems to be worried about this, so I should probably just shut my mouth. At least Mr. De Niro seems to be handling her with care.
Frisky readers, you know I would never steer you wrong where adorable animals are concerned. And that’s why I’m telling you to hop the first plane the Australia and find a koala to hug. Snuggle the shit out of that koala. It might be the last chance you ever get. We knew the koala population had been chopped nearly in half by the STD chlamydia, but the marsupials are also suffering from koala retrovirus, KoRV, an “AIDs-like virus” that decimates their immune system. In some areas of Australia, koalas are more badly infected than other areas, but a University of Queensland study last year suspected that “ultimately” all koala bears will have chlamydia. Together the chlamydia and KoRV mean koalas on the path to extinction. Scientists are working hard — overtime, one hopes — to map the koala genome and ascertain how best to protect the little guys. In the mean time, you should go snuggle a koala while you still can … and both of the Hemworth brothers, if you can shake it. [Guardian UK] [Photo of a koala from Shutterstock]
How this baby hedgehog feels wrestling this t-shirt is pretty much exactly how I felt about this week. I just kept chewing and chewing and chewing and the t-shirt wouldn’t give. It’s been a crappy one but it’s almost over. In the end, the baby hedgehog prevails, I think. At least that’s the way I’m interpreting it. I don’t know. I’m gonna go pop a few Tylenol and watch this video again. That should do the trick. [Huffington Post]