L.A. Unleashed

All things animal in Southern
California and beyond

Category: Sports

Video goodness: Hey, that's no midfielder! Terrier crashes soccer game, tries to catch the ball

We know dogs -- particularly terriers like this one -- like to chase things. Chasing a soccer ball seems like a natural activity, but chasing a soccer ball when human players are barreling down on you with no intention of stopping? That seems like a bad idea to us.

Bad idea or not, though, this terrier seems to have had a great time running his little heart out on the soccer pitch -- right up until he gets unceremoniously picked up by the scruff of his neck, that is. (He doesn't appear to enjoy that part one bit.)

Apparently this dog isn't the first of his kind to think it would be fun to crash a soccer game; another dog crashed a World Cup game in 1977 (but he was ejected much more quickly than this guy was).

If you, like us, were wondering about this sport with a somewhat mysterious style of play, commenter SteveC at the Arbroath blog gives a bit of background. According to SteveC, this is International Rules Football, which combines elements of Gaelic football and Australian rules football for matches between Ireland and Australia. "I saw this match on telly as it happened," SteveC writes. "It was brilliant. Everyone was rooting for the dog."

(Hat tips to the fine sites the Daily Wh.at and Arbroath for alerting us to this amazing video, which we could happily watch for hours on end. In fact, that's probably what we'll be doing this weekend.)

Your morning adorable: Parakeet plays soccer
Photos: Surfing dogs catch a wave, and they're sittin' on top of the world

-- Lindsay Barnett

Video: Jezza46 via YouTube

Michael Vick says he wants to have another dog

Football star and former dogfighter Michael Vick's statements that he would like to own a dog as a pet have incited intense debate among animal lovers, football fans and water-cooler gossipers.

Vick told TheGrio.com that he "would love to get another dog in the future. I think it would be a big step for me in the rehabilitation process."

That comment didn't surprise us much, since Vick said pretty much the same thing -- that he wished he could have a dog again "more than anything in the world" -- at one of his anti-dogfighting speaking engagements more than a year ago. What did surprise us was the wording of a comment he made later in the same interview with TheGrio:

"I think just to have a pet in my household and to show people that I genuinely care, and my love and my passion for animals; I think it would be outstanding. If I ever have the opportunity again I will never take it for granted. I miss having a dog right now. I wish I could. My daughters miss having one, and that's the hardest thing: telling them that we can’t have one because of my actions."

Wait, what? Did Vick really refer to himself as having "love and ... passion for animals"? We're pretty sure we weren't dreaming. He explains the comment in the video above -- saying he's a big fan of animals including birds and, ahem, dogs -- and mentions that his experience getting caught for dogfighting has helped him grow, both as a regular-old person and as a football player.

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Michael Vick tells high schoolers 'I think I'm being used by God'

Michael Vick speaking to the Wilbur Cross High School

The Michael Vick partnership with the Humane Society's "End Dogfighting" campaign made stops at two high schools in Connecticut on Tuesday to encourage America's youth to be kind to animals.

The Philadelphia Eagles star quarterback says that kids are more likely to listen to what he says about animal cruelty because they've seen where he has come from -- namely 18 months in prison -- due to his activity with Bad Newz Kennels.

Before his arrest for racketeering Vick said he was blind to animal rights, but he now sees the light. "I didn’t really care what people felt about animals," Vick told the students about his lack of emotion while involved in dogfighting with pit bulls. "I didn’t care about the welfare of animals."

But that ignorance has been turned into a blessing from on high, the NFL star said, which includes a tightening of legal restrictions across the country once the spotlight turned to lax laws surrounding dogfighting and minimal fines. "I think I’m being used by God," Vick said, "because all the laws have changed since my incident."

"In my opinion he means what he says and this is a healing process for him" Caleb Levy told News 8 in New Haven, Conn., after Vick spoke to Wilbur Cross High School.

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Michael Vick's Monday night performance didn't impress everyone

While many were marveling at Michael Vick's Monday Night Football heroics, some were wincing at it all while never forgetting about the victims.

One of those who was wincing was L.A. Times sports columnist Bill Plaschke, who wrote an emotional column that has quickly become one of his most popular screeds. An excerpt:

If he continues playing this well, he could end up as the league's most valuable player. In six games, he has thrown for 11 touchdowns, run for four more touchdowns, committed zero turnovers and produced nearly 300 total yards per game. Heck, at this rate, with his Eagles inspired by his touch, he could even win a Super Bowl, one of the greatest achievements by an American sportsman.

And yet a large percentage of the population will still think Michael Vick is a sociopath. Many people will never get over Vick's own admissions of unthinkable cruelty to his pit bulls -- the strangling, the drowning, the electrocutions, the removal of all the teeth of female dogs who would fight back during mating.

Some believe that because Vick served his time in prison, he should be beyond reproach for his former actions. Many others believe that cruelty to animals isn't something somebody does, it's something somebody is.

"Dog owner can't forgive Michael Vick" has been viewed by hundreds of thousands of people, shared over 51,000 times on Facebook, and has received over 500 comments. A small sampling of those comments can be seen after the jump.

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Michael Vick gets jersey in Hall of Fame after game; his receiver then compares Eagles to caged pit bulls


Michael Vick has gone from the doghouse to the big house to the Hall of Fame in an extremely short period of time.

The troubled quarterback's criminal past and subsequent jail time seem to be well behind him as he has rehabilitated, re-energized, and is now back as a starting quarterback for the Eagles, leading his team to one victory after another.

Last night's awe-inspiring 59-28 drubbing of the Washington Redskins on Monday Night Football was so impressive that the NFL Hall of Fame requested Vick's jersey for display in the museum. The strong armed quarterback threw for 333 yards with four touchdowns, which would have been a great day for any other field general. Vick's real weapon is his speed. He rushed for 80 yards and found himself in the end zone twice, earning himself the NFC's Player of the Week for the second week in a row.

Because Vick became the first player in NFL history to throw for more than 300 yards, rush for more than 50 yards, throw four touchdown passes and rush for two touchdowns in one game, the Hall of Fame wants to hold him in high honor.

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R.I.P. Paul the octopus: Tentacled World Cup prognosticator passes away in German aquarium

PulpoPaulPaul, the octopus whose correct predictions of the outcomes of eight World Cup 2010 games fueled his meteoric rise to stardom, has died at the ripe old age of 2 1/2.

"He appears to passed away peacefully during the night, of natural causes, and we are consoled by the knowledge that he enjoyed a good life here and that the care provided him by our dedicated displays team could not have been bettered," Stefan Porwoll, manager of the Sea Life aquarium in Oberhausen, Germany, said in a statement.

Paul, who was born in the U.K. but spent most of his life at the German aquarium, made his famous predictions by selecting a mussel from one of two clear plastic boxes, each marked with the flag of one of the teams playing in a World Cup match.

His knack for picking the winning team earned him the adoration of legions of soccer fans, but he became especially popular in Spain after he picked the country's national team to beat Germany in a semifinal matchup. Later, he chose Spain as the winner of the final game against the Netherlands.

The Madrid Zoo even attempted to convince the Oberhausen aquarium to let Paul move to Spain, either temporarily or permanently, but the request was denied. The Sea Life aquarium also turned down a number of offers of further publicity for Paul, such as opportunities to expand his prognosticating career into other realms. "He won't give any more oracle predictions -- either in football, nor in politics, lifestyle or economy," Sea Life spokesperson Tanja Munzig told the Associated Press after the World Cup. "Paul will get back to his former job, namely making children laugh."

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University of Georgia set to debut new bulldog mascot, Uga VIII, after the death of Uga VII

Uga VII, the University of Georgia's new mascot

ATHENS, Ga. — After playing its first six games with an interim mascot, Georgia will introduce Uga VIII before Saturday's homecoming game against Vanderbilt.

Georgia has had "Russ" as the interim mascot since Uga VII's death last year.

Uga VIII's registered name is "Big Bad Bruce" in honor of Dr. Bruce Hollett of the university's school of veterinary medicine. Hollett has helped in the care and treatment of the line of white English bulldog mascots owned by members of Savannah-based Sonny Seiler's family.

University of Georgia President Michael Adams and new athletic director Greg McGarity will participate in the pregame ceremony as the collar is passed from Russ to Uga VIII.

"Uga is one of the most storied mascots in the history of college athletics," McGarity said. "He is the rallying point for the Bulldog Nation. As our mascot he represents everything we want our student-athletes and fans to be ... proud, loyal, tenacious and relentless.

"We look forward to his long and successful reign and appreciate all the Seiler family has contributed to our mascot program for more than half a century."

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Your morning adorable: Parakeet plays soccer

Color us impressed by Phil, a bright little parakeet with a talent for soccer.

It occurs to us that Phil should really form a team with Momo the English Angora rabbit, Chief the American paint horse, Annie the Shetland lamb and Patch the miniature horse foal. Though their skill levels vary widely, these animals would be sure to delight spectators. (Phil and Momo would have to be sure to steer clear of the larger animals' hooves, though.)

Paul the soccer-prognosticating octopus could predict the outcomes of their games. And we know a bunch of animals -- from elephants to roosters and lions to lobsters -- who could join their ranks.

Photos: Surfing dogs catch a wave, and they're sittin' on top of the world
Your morning adorable: Young giant panda is terrible at soccer (in a cute way)

-- Lindsay Barnett

Video: hutch1081 via YouTube

Your morning adorable: Cat punches the air while watching boxing on TV

Gizmo the cat is a boxing enthusiast, clearly -- as evidenced by the fact that he mimics the boxers by "punching" with his paws every time he sees a boxing match on television.

Or, translated into LOLcat terms, "Boxing cat is in ur ringz, punchin ur pugilists."

YouTube user ottheman62, Gizmo's owner, swears that there is no dangling string -- nor any other form of trickery -- employed to induce Gizmo to perform this strange-but-adorable behavior.

We are not-so-secretly hoping that someone will add the song "Eye of the Tiger" as the soundtrack to the video above.

On second thought, make that ... "Eye of the Tabby."

Your morning adorable: Kitten thinks his reflection is another kitten (and doesn't like it one bit)
Your morning adorable: Cat answers phone (but his follow-through leaves something to be desired)

-- Lindsay Barnett

Video credit: ottheman62

Photos: Surfing dogs catch a wave, and they're sittin' on top of the world

Surfing dogs at Huntington Beach

Two words: Surf dogs. Two additional words: Huntington Beach.

Yup, it was that time again this weekend -- time for athletic dogs with a charitable bent to hop on their surfboards to raise money for animal-related organizations.

The second annual Surf City Surf Dog competition was held Sunday at the Huntington Dog Beach in Orange County, and charities including Chase Away K9 Cancer, Coastal German Shepherd Rescue and the Orange County Humane Society received a portion of entry fees.

Participating dogs were divided into groups according to their weight and experience level, and humans were on hand to help them along and ensure their safety. The event also featured a costume contest and a fundraising walk, and it raised about $5,000 for its charity partners, organizers told ESPN2. About 1,000 spectators turned out to see the surf dogs in action.

Surf City Surf Dog caught the attention of media outlets from all over the world, but our favorite headline so far has to be Asylum.com's "Surfing Dog Competition Ruins Non-Surfing Dogs Forever." See more photos and video from the event after the jump!

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