Pet owners had high hopes for the Pets On Trains bill currently before Congress. Miranda Green explains why even that non-controversial legislation can’t gain passage
It may be a long wait at the station for animal lovers hoping to hop a train with their favorite pet.
Amtrak won’t permit pets to board the way commercial airlines do. Congress wanted to change that with the Pets on Trains Act, introduced in May. The bill, which would require Amtrak to allow domesticated cats and dogs aboard trains for a fee, has few critics and the support of pet owners everywhere, as well as significant pet lobbies, including the Humane Society.
Still, the legislation has little chance of passage within the next year. “In a normal setting, something like this that doesn’t have a strong variant opposition, you could just put in [the transportation reauthorization bill], and it’s going to pass because it’s a reauthorization and it just sails through and everything is fine,” says California Republican Rep. John Campbell, the bill’s co-sponsor.
The zoo favorite was famous for his obsessive swimming. People called him neurotic. His shrink called it boredom. Gus never said anything. People loved him anyway. By Malcolm Jones.
Dead polar bears tell no tales. Gus, the 27-year-old, 897-pound male polar bear who died Tuesday at the Central Park Zoo, took his secrets to the grave.
A memorial for Gus. (Michael Daly/The Daily Beast)
So we will never know what made this ursine man of mystery do the things he did. But we will never stop wondering.
Like a lot of New Yorkers, Gus was originally from someplace else. He moved to the city when he was 3, from his hometown of Toledo, Ohio, where he had lived with his mother. He had a nice place in New York, on the Upper East Side, where he lived with a couple of lady friends. But there were signs that he never made the transition successfully.
Don’t believe everything you hear. A publicist for Downton Abbey’s real-life castle insisted on Tuesday that the show has not banned dogs, despite a report that cast members’ dogs had run amok on the set and at the historic Highclere Castle. The initial report said that Isis, the Crawley family dog, was welcome on set after dogs have caused mischief. Ed Speelers, who plays footman Jimmy Kent, admitted his border collie “ran off and up to the part of the house you’re not allowed to go,” and even ran into Hugh Bonneville’s (who plays family patriarch Earl of Grantham) dressing room. Still, the earl and countess of Carnarvon, who own Highclere Castle, insisted “there is no ban from us.”
You think being petted by Michelle Obama and lounging in the Oval Office is enough to make a dog happy? Think again—Bo was probably lonely. Veterinarian Patty Khuly on how Sunny was chosen.
While being the president’s dog might sound like the best pet gig ever, Bo’s life probably isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Even lounging on Lincoln’s bed or lapping up leftovers off presidential porcelain can’t make up for living la vida sola, bereft of any conspecific companions.
The Obama family dogs (from left), Bo and Sunny, sit on the South Lawn of the White House on August 19, 2013. (Pete Souza/The White House)
That’s likely what the Obamas were thinking when they made the well-considered decision to add a second dog to the first family lineup: “Poor Bo shouldn’t have to go through life all alone. He needs a friend.”
The move makes a lot of sense. After all, it’s hard to imagine that a family life as travel intensive and demanding as the Obamas’ could be ideal for anyone, much less an animal whose natural social structure looks a whole lot more like the canine version of a raucous kindergarten class than the White House’s insulated existence. Dogs just aren’t meant to live in a bubble.
With the Obamas adopting another puppy, there are two dogs in the White House. But don’t forget there were two dogs in the previous White House, and they starred in a surprisingly large collection of ridiculous short films.
From George Washington’s coonhound named Drunkard to Andrew Jackson’s fighting cocks, presidential pets have always been a fixture of American politics, or at least American political media. With the country atwitter over the Obamas’ new puppy, Sunny, we couldn’t help but reminisce about the other pooches that have pawed around the White House.
Enter George W. Bush, Barney, and Miss Beazley. There’s no use beating around the you-know-what: the videos that Bush 43 made with his dogs might be the most ridiculous pieces of filmmaking ever. Whereas the latest White House release is a short, tasteful, glossy production of Sunny playing with Bo, the FFDOTUS (First First Dog of the United States), the Bush holiday videos—there are at least 10 of them, with names like Barney Reloaded and A Very Beazley Christmas—are low-budget, über-cheesy, almost vaudevillian mini movies featuring a star-studded cast of characters.
Remember those janky home videos you made in middle school? That’s what these are, times a thousand and featuring the most powerful man in the world. Some highlights include: President Bush chastising Barney for wanting to be part of his cabinet; Barney playing cards with Press Secretary Ari Fleischer; senior adviser Karl Rove randomly pelted by Christmas tree ornaments. The one notable absence? Dick Cheney, of course.
A fluffy, black, 1-year-old puppy with a powerful last name won the Internet on Monday. See every little thing we know about Sunny so far—and how Bo is feeling right now.
Bo has a sister! The Obamas brought in a new puppy on Monday to keep the first dog company, another Portuguese Water Dog named Sunny. The first family picked the name for the pup’s energetic and affectionate demeanor, according to the White House, which released a video introducing the dog. Bo and Sunny are already getting along famously, cavorting around the South Lawn side by side. In Sunny’s honor, the Obamas made a donation to the Washington Humane Society.
Women's leagues similar to wrestling.
The claws are out. Klaw Mark Kittens in Lansing, Michigan, and Wildcatz in Nottingham, England, are performing different kinds of semi-sophisticated and choreographed "catfighting," involving kitten costumes and loads of eye scratching. "We call it vintage burlesque wrestling," troupe leader of Klaw Mark Kitttens Autumn Luciano said. Though she said, "It's mostly theater," Luciano didn't sugarcoat it. "When showtime comes, the girls will kick each other's butts."
Man films gruesome moment.
Yes, there's a video. After a "copperhead" snake had been killed and its head was severed, the reptile began to attack its own body out of instinct—and it was all documented. Sam Billiter of Alabama quickly uploaded the footage to YouTube with the caption, "After decapitation this snake bit it's own butt!" Billiter described the scene on camera as being "pretty wild" and "crazy," while also laughing in the background. It's not uncommon for a snake's reflexives to remain in tact after it dies, but nothing quite like this has ever been reported.
China zoo reportedly covered up animal's identity.
A zoo in china is facing major criticism for reportedly trying to disguise a Tibetan mastiff as an exotic cat. The animal was put in a large cage with a sign saying "African lion," according to AFP. And this isn't the first time the zoo has been guilty of such a crime. The zoo held large rats in its snake cage and fox-like animals in its leopard cage, like no one would notice. "The zoo is absolutely cheating us," said one visitor who paid the $2.45 admission fee and felt duped.
It's an honest mistake. It swears.
That can't taste good. Men in Scandinavia have been told to keep their swim trunks on because the pacu, a fish native to South America, is swimming around biting testicles. But apparently the "ball cutter" or "nutcracker fish" isn't as mean as it looks. Though its teeth are large and frightening, they aren't as sharp as those of their cousin piranha—though still certainly sharp enough to rip through skin. The problem is that the pacu, a vegetarian fish, has been mistaking testicles for its favorite treat, nuts. Could be worse, right? OK, maybe not.
Welcome to BeastBeast! Feed this, pet that.
These animals can help you out. Do: copy this adorable dog's 'feel better' eyes. Don't: whine like this irritated frog.
Baxter is a chihuahua who likes to sing-along to a Vampire Weekend song. And it's totally adorable.