Cat That Went Missing In Portland, Oregon Shows Up in Santa Fe, New Mexico—Five Years Later

Oleksandr Shchus/iStock via Getty Images
Oleksandr Shchus/iStock via Getty Images

A few weeks ago, 31-year-old medical student Viktor Usov answered a call from the Santa Fe Animal Shelter claiming to have found his cat, Sasha, who had wandered off five years ago—and 1300 miles away from New Mexico.

Usov, who lives in Portland, Oregon, first thought it was surely a different cat. But his name was listed on the microchip, and the shelter workers described a black, long-haired, friendly feline that sounded exactly like Sasha.

According to OregonLive.com, after Usov adopted the cat from the Oregon Humane Society six years ago, his tender loving care (and his mother’s acupuncture treatments) helped cure Sasha’s distended stomach and chronically runny nose. Sasha soon became affable and spirited, even forming a friendship with Usov’s labradoodle puppy, Tara.

A year later, when Sasha disappeared during a walk, Usov assumed the worst.

“We waited a week or so, but when we didn’t get a call from the Humane Society and no one returned him, we figured a coyote got him,” Usov told OregonLive.com. “We were upset but we moved on.”

Not only did Sasha evade every coyote from Portland to Santa Fe, he also somehow managed to stay well-fed and healthy during his epic journey south.

“How [he] managed to survive to get here is the million-dollar question,” Santa Fe Animal Shelter spokesperson Murad Kirdar told the Santa Fe Reporter. “I can tell you [he] hasn’t missed a meal.”

While Kirdar thinks Sasha might have hitched rides on U-Hauls, trains, and/or cars, Usov imagines that his beloved pet embarked on a spectacular sightseeing tour of the West.

“He went on a grand American adventure,” he told KGW. “He stopped by the Grand Canyon, Crater Lake; he saw the monuments, all the national parks, definitely Redwood Forest.”

Sasha might be more adventurous than most house cats, but he’s far from the only one who has turned up years later and miles away—find out the incredible lost-and-found stories of Alfie, Crockett, and seven other cats here.

[h/t OregonLive.com]

Therapy Puppy Provides Comfort to Grieving Families at North Carolina Funeral Home

AllenSphoto, iStock via Getty Images
AllenSphoto, iStock via Getty Images

Emotional support animals have become common sights at places like airports, and now the funeral industry is embracing their therapeutic benefits. As WGAL reports, Macon Funeral Home in North Carolina now has a Bernese mountain dog puppy to provide comfort to grieving clients.

Nine-week-old Mochi isn't a fully trained therapy dog yet, but she's already winning over visitors. Tori McKay, Macon's funeral office administrator, had dreamed of bringing a grief-support dog into the business for a decade. Shortly after her 30th birthday on January 4, she and her husband "decided that Mochi would make a wonderful addition to our family and this decade of our lives," she wrote on the funeral home's website.

McKay chose a Bernese mountain dog for the breed's affectionate personality, relaxed disposition, and successful history as an emotional support animal. Between ages 6 months to 1 year, Mochi will receive therapy dog training in Asheville. The plan is to eventually make her available to families upon request and bring her to nursing homes to meet with residents. Until then, the puppy is meeting guests in a more casual setting as she gets used to socializing with strangers.

"Stop by and meet her, she loves making new friends!" a post on the funeral home's Facebook page reads.

[h/t WGAL]

One of the World’s Most Dangerous Spiders Could Invade Homes after Australia's Recent Rainfall

Ian Waldie, Getty Images
Ian Waldie, Getty Images

While recent rainfall has been a welcome change in Australia after destructive bushfires caused a widespread crisis, it hasn’t come without an asterisk. According to the Australian Reptile Park, the wet and warm conditions have made Sydney funnel web spiders highly active—and the funnel web spider happens to be one of the most venomous arachnids on the planet.

In a video the park shared on Facebook, officials warn that the weather might cause a marked increase in the spiders' activity, as males cover territory in search of a mate. They might be found in shoes, in laundry, or in yards. Fortunately, Atrax robustus is easy to identify, with its shiny body providing a helpful visual cue to immediately begin walking in the other direction.

Male funnel webs are thought to have venom up to six times more dangerous than females and also tend to move around more, making human encounters with them more likely. Because they can’t climb smooth surfaces, funnel webs are also prone to burrowing in piled-up clothing or other hiding spaces, providing an unwelcome surprise for anyone looking to retrieve their discarded shirt or socks.

The funnel web is also aggressive, quick to attack when provoked, and packs a powerful enough bite to pierce shoes. After being bitten, pain, muscle spasms, and pulmonary edema follow. Victims should use a compression bandage and limb immobilization to compress surface tissue until they receive medical attention.

Though the species is believed to have caused 13 human deaths, there haven’t been any fatalities attributable to a funnel web bite since 1981. That’s due in large part to antivenom made from milked spiders, an advancement that saved the life of a 10-year-old boy, Matthew Mitchell, bitten by the spider in 2017. The spider was loitering in his shoe and bit him on the finger. After 12 vials of antivenom, Mitchell made a complete recovery.

The Australian Reptile Park is actually encouraging citizens to trap the spiders and bring them in to drop-off sites to aid in the antivenom production effort. They advise nudging the spider into a plastic or glass container with a spoon. Extreme caution should be exercised, but you knew that.

[h/t CNET]

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