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Dog of Dallas nurse raises questions about Ebola and pets

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[UPDATE] The Dallas Morning News is reporting that Bentley, Nina Pham's dog, has tested negative for Ebola. The dog will continue to be monitored for the full 21-day period, the same as the human guidelines for those exposed to Ebola.  Read the original story below.

Texas nurse Nina Pham is the first person to contract Ebola within the U.S. She's currently being treated at a Dallas hospital — but what will happen to her pet dog? 

It was the same question raised in response to a nurse who contracted Ebola in Spain. The Madrid later government made the decision to have the woman's dog euthanized, over fears it could be a carrier of the virus. 

But it seems Pham's dog will avoid that same fate. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings told USA Today the dog will be kept safe and quarantined in another location while Pham is treated. Her apartment is also being decontaminated.

The Dallas Police Department has even been keeping the public updated on the dog during this process. 

But why is there so much attention on a furry friend? Some media outlets note what happened in Spain versus the States highlights what experts don't know. 

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The reality is — there's not a lot of information about the risk of Ebola in animals or whether humans can even become infected by domesticated pets. 

Here's what we do know — The Washington Post points out Ebola can spread to humans by way of other mammals. One possible way is by eating infected meat. But it's still unclear whether dogs transmit Ebola through bodily fluids in the same way humans do.

A medical expert tells CNN this shouldn't worry anyone. "Pets have not been a feature of Ebola spread, whether in Africa and certainly not here in the developed world."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been no reported Ebola sicknesses in dogs or cats so far. Probably because there isn't even a known test available for animals.

As for why the dog in Spain was euthanized, the International Society for Infectious Diseases says, "In some legal systems, as in the law of the European Union, the application of the precautionary principle has been made a statutory requirement in some areas of law."

Nina Pham continues to receive treatment as her dog is kept safe. She says she is currently doing well after receiving a blood transfusion.

This video includes an image from Getty Images.

Fearless miniature poodle chases bear away from home

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Casper the dog may be mini, but he takes his job of patrolling the Riggar family seriously.The 7-pound, 7-year-old miniature poodle enjoys chasing groundhogs and rabbits, but on Sunday, he ran into something much bigger – a bear.“It doesn’t surprise me that he was chasing after a bear,” said Casper’s owner, George Riggar.Riggar said he was cutting the grass when he noticed the side door open.

>> Read more trending stories“The window was broken out, so the first thing I thought was someone broke into the house,” Riggar said.But nothing except for Casper was missing.“I went down two streets, and the neighbor said he saw the dog chasing the bear through the woods,” Riggar said.Riggar put it all together and realized the intruder was a 100-pound black bear. He believes the cub of the mother-cub duo neighbors have been seeing for weeks pushed his way through the door and then ran into Casper.Neighbors found Casper and brought him home.“He has gotten a lot of treats and hugs from everybody,” Riggar said.

Must-see: Dog eats 43 1/2 socks, wins $500 for clinic

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A gluttonous Great Dane in Portland, Oregon, recently had surgery to remove 43 1/2 socks from its stomach, KOIN-TV reports.

According to DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital, the 3-year-old dog was vomiting repeatedly when it came to the clinic. An X-ray showed that the pooch had pigged out on nearly four dozen socks.

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The good news? The surgery wasn't too "ruff" on the dog: DoveLewis vets said the pup was feeling well enough to return home the next day. The clinic also won a $500 prize in a Veterinary Practice News X-ray contest.

Read the full story here.

'Friendly' pet alligator can stay with Pa. man, live in kiddie pool

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Is it a danger next door or a friendly neighborhood pet? Burgettstown, Pennsylvania, says a 5-foot-long alligator is safe to stay.

Pittsburgh's WPXI-TV went to check out the alligator Wednesday, and reporter Cara Sapida said it never snapped in the hour she was there. Sapida said it was surprisingly friendly and affectionate toward its owner, Randy Thomas.

“(We) went to exotic pet show in Pittsburgh. We thought it was small black caiman,” Thomas said.

That was 10 years ago. Since then, Jackie the gator has become part of Thomas’ family.

“She likes being rubbed underneath her head,” Thomas said.

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Thomas, who brings Jackie out of her cage a couple times a week, said the majority of the neighbors embrace the animal.

“All the neighborhood kids come and feed the alligator,” Thomas said.

One neighbor made an anonymous call to the Washington Area Humane Society and complained. Thomas said police, humane officers and the game commission have been to the house and approved.

“I told them, ‘I’m not breaking any laws or ordinances, but I’ll show you she is well taken care of,’” Thomas said.

Thomas said Jackie could never escape her secure cage and aside from some tail whipping, she is no threat.

“If I was going to get bit, she would have bit me a long time ago,” he said.

Thomas said he knows alligator owners who keep their pets’ mouths taped shut, but he said there is no need to do that with Jackie.

Thomas said Jackie lives in his basement in the winter and if given a bigger baby pool than she has, she would grow much larger.

Canadian family rescues mystery mammal

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A family in a remote northwestern part of Canada thought they had rescued a puppy a week ago, but officials later informed them the animal was of a far wilder nature.

The pup was found abandoned near Marsh Lake outside of Whitehorse in the northwestern Canadian territory of Yukon over the Easter weekend. The animal is just over a week old.

The family thought it was a young dog, but officials who helped find it a surrogate mother disagree.

"Originally they thought it was a dog, but it wasn't a dog. Then they thought it might be an otter or a marten or a wolverine possibly," said conservation officer Dave Bakica.

Eventually wildlife officials determined the animal was probably a fox.

They say the animal has a white tip on its tails which young foxes also have. Since it has been spending time with humans it will not be released into the wild.

Instead it will go to a wildlife sanctuary.

Move over Puppy Bowl, here come the kitties

Perhaps someone at the Hallmark Channel noted the proliferation of cat videos on the Internet, or possibly someone just thought felines should have equal time when it comes to faux sporting events.

For whatever reason, the 2014 Superbowl will now have a new foe fighting for eyeballs -- the Kitten Bowl.

The three hour special will air beginning at noon, Eastern Time, February 2, 2014 on the Hallmark Channel.

It will, in the network's words, feature the "world’s most adorable – and adoptable – kittens in the mother lode of cat agility competition."

It goes on to say "the special, which will be presented annually, is supported by the network’s animal welfare partner, American Humane Association, and is just one of many high-profile commitments the company has made to its evergreen Pet Project initiative. With American Humane Association, Hallmark Channel’s in-house production team will scour rescue associations and shelters searching for kitty competitors whose enduring prize will be a loving, forever home."

“Creating another programming event to reinforce Hallmark Channel’s Pet Project, our corporate pet adoption and safety initiative, enhances the profile of the plight of shelter animals in our country while providing fun, family-oriented entertainment to our viewers. We are very proud of our association with American Humane Association and their support of our work in this area,” said Bill Abbott, President & CEO, Crown Media Family Networks, home of Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movie Channel.

The network added: "The agility competition will consist of a basic obstacle course of hurdles of varying heights, A-frame Alpine Scratchers, tunnels, hoop jumps, and weave poles. Lures, like laser pointers, and toys on a string will be used to get the kittens through the course, but food will not allowed. Cat agility competitions, which are modeled after the equestrian sport of show jumping, normally include rules which state that cats must complete a course in under 270 seconds, completing each obstacle in a prescribed manner. In a typical feline agility contest, a cat would complete between six and fourteen obstacles, with winning cats completing the course in ten seconds or less. In 'Kitten Bowl,' however, the competitors are kittens and any form of cuteness is the key to the game."

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