L.A. Unleashed

All things animal in Southern
California and beyond

Category: Four-Legged Friends

Your morning adorable: Piglet and dog play together

Color us impressed by Cleo the pot-bellied pig, whose doglike play interaction with Ginger the dog we find to be as hypnotic as watching guinea pigs fight over a cucumber. We could watch all day!

Beyond rolling and playing like a dog, Cleo's talents include sitting on command (owner shewulfe notes that she learned the trick in just 15 minutes) and playing soccer (albeit probably not in accordance with soccer governance organization FIFA's official rules).

"I had heard [pigs] are very smart," shewulfe writes on her YouTube page, "but I didn't have any idea how smart they really are." (Smart is right -- a recent study showed that domestic pigs were able to learn how mirrors work and use the reflected images they saw in them to investigate their surroundings and find food.)

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Your morning adorable: Lamb plays soccer

-- Lindsay Barnett

Video: shewulfe via YouTube

Reader photo of the day: Dog is cat's mobile couch

Dog couch

We can't decide which we find more endearing: The look of sheer relaxation on Zipper the cat's face, or the expression of resignation on the face of her canine "couch." Submitter DrDoLittleAsPossible (bonus points for that chuckle-inducing name) shares this photo that, we suspect, speaks volumes about the relationship between these two pets. (This dog might even rival a certain duckling babysitter in the patience department.)

If you think your animal photo should be our reader photo of the day, show us! Just head to the Pets & Animals category of Your Scene, The Times' photo-sharing site, and select the appropriate album (for instance, we found DrDoLittleAsPossible's photo in the Four-Legged Friends album). Once you've chosen your album, just click the "submit" link at the top of the page, pick your photo (.jpg format) and include a caption that tells us a little about your subject matter. It's as simple as that!

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: DrDoLittleAsPossible/ Your Scene

Your morning adorable: Patient dog meets duckling

We can't begin to express how impressed we are by the gentleness of this dog, who could clearly make a midday snack of this duckling if he were so inclined.  He even allows his nose to be nibbled without protest!

Perhaps there's more to this story -- a duck-and-dog friendship phenomenon, if you will.  After all, it was just a few months ago that we showed you another odd couple, an inseparable puppy-and-duckling pair that lives with a family in China.  Ducks and dogs: the Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon of the new millennium?

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-- Lindsay Barnett

Video: johnnyb0y187 via YouTube

Your morning adorable: Dog adopts lion cub in Hungarian zoo

Zimba, a male lion cub, right, and Bogi, a male Puli dog, are seen at Gyoengyoes zoo

Zimba, a 3-month-old lion cub, is one of the most popular residents at Hungary's Gyoengyoes Zoo, according to the Sun.  Since the cub's arrival (the zoo received him as a gift from a private Italian donor), he's had an unusual companion in the form of Bogi, a 3-year-old male puli.  (We know what you're thinking: Where are Bogi's cords?  While many puli owners -- and owners of a related breed, the komondor -- choose to let their dogs' fur grow naturally into cords, others keep their coats brushed instead. While they look less like a Beck album cover that way, we bet they're easier to dry after a bath!)

Bogi has taken on the role of foster parent for Zimba, who came to the zoo without his mother. Fortunately for Zimba, he has a doting little herding dog to pick up the slack!  See another photo of these two after the jump.

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Your morning adorable: Dog adopts orphaned macaque monkey in Thailand

MonkeyDog

Monks at the Tung Luang Buddhist temple in Thailand's Chiang Mai province recently began caring for a 3-month-old macaque monkey whose mother was killed by a hunter. 

Helping them with the task of raising the young monkey is Tan, a resident "temple dog" who, Metro U.K. reports, has not only taken the monkey under his wing but even voluntarily shares his food with it!

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-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: European Pressphoto Agency

Your morning adorable: Lilly the Labrador and Gizmo the cat, the best of friends

Four-legged friends

If there's one thing that never fails to make us utter an audible "awww," it is odd-couple animal pairs who, despite their differences, are the best of friends.  Submitter bbw7777777 shares this great photo of one such pair, Lilly the Labrador and Gizmo the cat, who have clearly risen above any typical dog-versus-cat animosity and emerged on a higher plane entirely.  

When we finally get that coveted appointment to the Norwegian Nobel Committee, we're definitely nominating Lilly and Gizmo for the Nobel Peace Prize.  What nation on the world stage can't learn something from their example?

For more photos of harmony in the animal kingdom (or to share your own), be sure to check out the Four-Legged Friends album at The Times' photo-sharing site, Your Scene.

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: bbw7777777 / Your Scene

Your morning adorable: Puppy and duckling are the best of friends

In China, an unlikely duo -- a puppy and a duckling -- have formed a unique bond.

A man adopted the puppy, a stray found roaming the streets, around the same time that he brought home the duckling as a pet for his young daughter.  Who knew the two would be a perfect match?  Only the puppy, the duckling and the fine folks at U-Zoo!

-- Lindsay Barnett

Video: uzoouk via YouTube

Your morning adorable: Wild foxes jump on trampoline

We're big fans of the fox in general -- something about that fluffy tail is hard to deny, as long as it's on the animal and not worn by a human.  But we think these two might be our favorite foxes of all time (tied, perhaps, with the fictional Tod in "The Fox and the Hound"). 

Fortunately for us, YouTube user Samron had a video camera on hand when these fellows discovered the joys of trampoline-jumping.  We're so thankful she did, and we can't stop watching!

-- Lindsay Barnett

Video: Samron / YouTube

Agoura Hills dog adopts baby squirrel

A Shih Tzu mother of three puppies has taken one extra baby -- a squirrel -- under her paw and is raising it as her own, our colleagues at KTLA report.

Princess, the admirable surrogate mother, belongs to Doug and Corinne Thomas of Agoura Hills.  A neighbor found the tiny infant squirrel, a female, after she was apparently abandoned by her mother.  But the neighbor had no luck convincing the baby to eat and worried about her chances for survival.  A plan was hatched: Give the tiny creature to Princess, who had recently given birth to her own litter.

In short order, Princess was caring for the squirrel as if it were her own offspring, and the Thomases say that both squirrel and puppies are thriving. 

"If humans could be more like Princess and the squirrel and the little pups, we would all get along a lot better," Corinne Thomas told KTLA.  "It doesn't matter what you have on the outside, it's on the inside."

When she's not busy with parenting duties, Princess is a therapy dog, working with autistic children.  When the puppies are old enough, the Thomases hope they'll receive new homes where they can follow in their mother's footsteps -- with families raising autistic kids. 

As for the squirrel -- whom they've given the (let's face it) rather uninspired name "Squirl" -- the Thomases plan to keep her, since she can't be rereleased into the wild.  They hope she also will join her adoptive mother and work with autistic kids in the future.

-- Lindsay Barnett

Video: KTLA

Your morning adorable: Nap time for Sugar and Oliver

Heart cats

Submitter Erin shares this fantastic photo of cats Sugar and Oliver, who -- we're just going to go out on a limb here -- seem to get along pretty well. (We only wish our own dogs would take a cue from them.) 

We can't decide which affectionate cat pair we like the best, Sugar and Oliver or Vinnie and Stanzi, who showed us their yin-yang pose last year. We suppose we'll just have to call it a tie. 

For more photos of harmony in the animal kingdom (or to share your own), be sure to check out the Four-Legged Friends album at The Times' photo-sharing site, Your Scene.

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Erin / Your Scene

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