You’ve heard that people look like their dogs, but have you seen animals act like people? Reader’s Digest compiled a list of 12 stories showing animals at their most personal: practicing yoga, driving cars and comforting their closest friends. These stories include cats and dogs, and animals as wild as a lion and marmots. Here are their stories:
Dogs Drive Cars – Three New Zealand dogs recently navigated a specially modified Mini Cooper around a racetrack at about 20 mph. (Engineers raised the gearshift and pedals and added handles to the steering wheel.) The performance was an effort by the Auckland Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to show off canine intelligence and boost adoptions from animal shelters. After months of practice, Monty, a giant schnauzer, Porter, a bearded collie mix, and Ginny, a bearded collie–whippet mix, followed trainers’ commands to put the car into gear, press the accelerator, and steer with their paws. All three dogs have been adopted since the video appearance.
Lions Care About Their Hair – According to Peyton M. West, PhD, an evolution and animal behavior expert, female lions actively court males that are more heavily and lushly maned, especially at night, which is reserved for socializing and grooming.
Whale Says Thanks – Each winter for nearly 20 years, Great Whale Conservancy co-director Michael Fishbach has traveled with other research scientists to the Sea of Cortez off Mexico’s west coast to study blue and humpback whales. In 2011, he and his team spotted a humpback whale trapped in a fishing net and spent an hour freeing it. Afterward, in an hour-long display of thanks, the whale swam near their boat and leaped into the air about 40 times.
Bear Does Yoga – Santra, a female bear at Finland’s Ahtari Zoo, entertained visitors with a 15-minute “yoga” routine following a nap. Sitting upright, Santra used her front paws to grab her right back paw, then her left, stretching her legs as if doing a One-Legged Split. Next, she demonstrated the Open-Leg Seated Balance Pose with near-perfect form, pulling up both hind legs while keeping her balance.
A Cat Honors Its Owner – A sprig of acacia, paper towels, and a plastic cup are just a few of the gifts that Toldo, a devoted three-year-old gray-and-white cat, has placed on his former owner Iozzelli Renzo’s grave in Montagnana, Italy, every day since the man died in September 2011. Renzo adopted Toldo from a shelter when the cat was three months old, and the two formed an inseparable bond. After Renzo passed away, Toldo followed the coffin to the cemetery, and now “stands guard” at the grave for hours at a time, says Renzo’s family.
Cat Guides Blind Dog – After Terfel, an 8 year-old chocolate Labrador retriever in North Wales, U.K., developed cataracts last year, he began to bump into walls and furniture. Soon enough, the once energetic dog was spending most of his time in his dog bed, unable to find his way around. On a whim, Terfel’s owner Judy Godfrey-Brown let a stray cat, whom she named Pwditat (pronounced Puddy-tat), into her home. The feline made a beeline for the blind dog and began using its paws and head to herd Terfel into the garden. Now the unlikely friends sleep together, and Pwditat helps Terfel find his way everywhere.
To read about these personal animals and more, please visit Reader’s Digest.
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