TIME animals

This Husky Is Totally Cool With Getting Buried in the Snow

Chillest. Dog. Ever.

If you’re finding yourself hating winter and being all angry about the snow, you should try to be more like Atlas. Atlas is a husky who is so chill and so go-with-the-flow that he’s totally fine with having snow tossed in his general direction and then getting buried in a snowbank.

If you want more Atlas, because of course you do, check him out playing with a garden hose and getting stuck in a frisbee.

(h/t Daily Dot)

TIME animals

Watch the Coast Guard Rescue a Dog Struggling to Stay Afloat in Icy Waters

The story has a happy ending

Members of the U.S. Coast Guard station in Frankfort, Mich., rescued a labrador Tuesday morning that had wandered into a waterway between Betsie Lake and Lake Michigan, MLive.com reports.

The two rescuers struggled to wade through the ice chunks, but were able to rescue the animal, which was having trouble staying above water, in about twenty minutes.

Petty officer Tim Putnam told ABC News the dog was “shook up and shivering” when they took it to the Benzie County Animal Shelter. The owner later showed up to claim the dog, who is named Bailey.

TIME animals

Couple Who Brought Kangaroo to McDonald’s Don’t Understand the Fuss

They were kicked out after a customer complained

A couple who brought their pet kangaroo to a McDonald’s in Beaver Dam, Wis. had to leave after a customer called the police and complained, 12 News reports.

“Jimmy” is one of five kangaroos that Larry Moyer and his wife Diana own, and Larry told 12 News that Diana uses the exotic animal as a “therapy pet” as she battles cancer. He says they take the animal out in public all of the time and admits it does attract attention.

“It’s just kind of a friend for her, basically, a companion,” he told 12 News. “We have a little car seat and a stroller.”

In a statement to the news station, McDonald’s said, “Our policy is to make our restaurants accessible to all customers, including those with disabilities and special needs.”

TIME animals

See the Moment When a Groundhog Bit a Mayor’s Ear

He is really not interested in predicting your weather

On a nippy Groundhog Day in Sun Prairie, Wis., a groundhog nipped the city’s mayor on the ear.

Per tradition, Jimmy the Groundhog had “whispered” his prognostication of an early spring into Mayor Jonathan Freund’s ear and “leaned into the Mayor’s ear to make sure the Mayor heard him correctly,” according to a statement. WISC-TV News 3 posted video of the incident.

“Let’s just say that Jimmy will always have my ear,” Freund wrote on Facebook.

No word on whether, after the incident, he will experience six more weeks of pain.

 

TIME weather

The Original Groundhog Day Involved Eating the Groundhog

Groundhog Day In Illinois
Tim Boyle—Getty Images Cloudy, one of the groundhogs at Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield, IL., on Groundhog Day 2002.

Feb. 2, 1887: Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, holds its first Groundhog Day celebration

The first Groundhog Day celebration wasn’t such a picnic for Punxsutawney Phil’s progenitors. When Punxsutawneyans gathered on a hilltop known as Gobbler’s Knob on this day, Feb. 2, in 1887, they did so not just to celebrate the weather-forecasting wizardry of the groundhog — the rodent was also on the menu.

Predicting the length of winter based upon whether or not an animal saw its shadow was nothing new to the German immigrants who settled Pennsylvania, although in the old country they relied more often on badgers and bears. Europeans had long marked winter’s midpoint on Feb. 2 by celebrating Candlemas Day, a festival of lights that also included a formula for predicting the arrival of spring. As explained in an English folk song:

If Candlemas be fair and bright,

Come, winter, have another flight;

If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,

Go winter, and come not again.

While the same principle applied to Groundhog Day, Punxsutawney inserted the notoriously grumpy, burrow-dwelling rodent into the formula as a kind of meteorological middleman. It also became a regional delicacy, with a flavor described by locals as “a cross between pork and chicken,” according to Pennsylvania historian Christopher R. Davis.

In the 1880s, per Davis, groundhog was the cuisine of choice at the Punxsutawney Elks Lodge. Devotees later formed the Groundhog Club, which hosted both the annual Groundhog Day ceremony and a summertime groundhog hunt followed by a picnic featuring a variety of groundhog dishes and a “groundhog punch” that sounds equally appetizing — a combination of vodka, milk, eggs, orange juice “and other ingredients,” Davis writes.

As tastes changed and Punxsutawney Phil’s status rose, the Groundhog Club stopped hunting his brethren and began catering to him instead. Groundhog is no longer on the menu at the annual Groundhog Picnic, and “groundhog punch” has morphed into an “elixir of life” that reportedly keeps Phil young and explains why the same groundhog has been predicting spring in Pennsylvania for over a century.

Members of today’s Groundhog Club claim that Phil — whom they call “Seer of Seers” — is an infallible prognosticator, with a 100% accuracy rate.

Mathematically, that’s not exactly true. As of last year, Phil’s accuracy rate was in fact 39% — less than half that of New York City’s go-to groundhog, Staten Island Chuck, whose predictions have been correct 82% of the time. Although not quite the celebrity Phil has become, Chuck is arguably America’s most reliable shadow-seer.

“You can’t argue with a good product,” the Staten Island groundhog’s handler once told TIME. “You want accurate readings, you go to Chuck.”

Read more about Chuck, here on Time.com: Q&A with Groundhog Handler Doug Schwartz

Read next: 6 Things to Know About Groundhog Day

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME animals

6 Things to Know About Groundhog Day

Ron Ploucha
Gene J. Puskar—AP Groundhog Club handler Ron Ploucha, center, holds Punxsutawney Phil, the weather prognosticating groundhog, during the 129th celebration of Groundhog Day on Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pa., Feb. 2, 2015.

Punxsutawney Phil says six more weeks of winter are coming

Weather forecasters once again ceded the stage Monday morning to a furrier expert: a groundhog named Phil.

That’s because Feb. 2 is the 129th official Groundhog Day. This time Punxsutawney Phil left his cozy burrow in Pennsylvania’s Gobbler’s Knob near Pittsburgh, saw his shadow, and broke the news that we’re doomed to another six weeks of winter rather than treated to an early spring. Every Bill Murray fan knows the basics—if Phil sees his shadow, six more weeks of winter are in store—but here are 6 facts you might know about Groundhog Day.

1. Legend has it that Punxsutawney Phil communicates his yearly forecast in the language “grondhogese” to the head of what’s known as the Groundhog Club’s Inner Circle, who just so happens to be fluent in the ancient, animal tongue. The Inner Circle members actually decide ahead of time.

2. Phil has a sassy side. During prohibition, the groundhog threatened 60 more weeks of winter unless Punxsutawney finally let him have a drink.

3. Groundhog Day is a formal affair. Beginning in the 1960’s, Inner Circle President Sam Light decreed that officiants needed to dress in top hats and tuxedos to show appropriate deference to the beloved marmot.

4. The tradition has ancient roots. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says Groundhogs Day’s origins are linked to “ancient European weather lore,” in which a badger or sacred bear made the prediction.

5. Even though groundhogs tend to live between six and eight years, Punxsutawney Phil is depicted as immortal. A version of him has made predictions since the first trek to Gobbler’s Hill in 1887—by drinking the “elixir of life” every summer, as groundhog lore tells it.

6. While Stormfax says Phil has only been right 39% of the time, the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club says he has 100% accuracy.

Read next: The Original Groundhog Day Involved Eating the Groundhog

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME animals

Puppy Surprises Soldier Mom at Airport and They Can’t Stop Crying Tears of Joy

Soldiers know, the only thing that could make coming home from a long deployment better is coming home to your dog.

This soldier was surprised to be greeted by her own dog while waiting to leave the airport. Then her pup surprises her again with uncontrollable crying.

This article originally appeared on People.com

TIME Football

Behind the Scenes of the Puppy Bowl

Puppies tussle with a plush football at the "Puppy Bowl" in Phoenix
Daniel Wallis—Reuters Puppies tussle with a plush football at the "Puppy Bowl" in Phoenix, Jan. 29, 2015.

The Puppy Bowl is the second-highest rated broadcast on the day of the Super Bowl

There are many reasons to become a sports journalist. Maybe you want to expose corruption, or do the kind of deep statistical analysis you can’t find anywhere. Or maybe, like me, you just want to go to The Puppy Bowl.

If you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, The Puppy Bowl is Animal Planet’s solution to every television network’s problem of what to broadcast against the nation’s top-viewed program of the year. Now in its 10th year, The Puppy Bowl is the second-highest rated broadcast on the day of the Super Bowl.

The old adage in showbiz says never to work with animals or children, so the logistics of working with animals who are also children can be tricky. The 3-yard by 10-yard field is manned not only by the referee you see on television, but also animal handlers for each animal, numerous producers, and about 10 cameras to catch all the action. Also numerous? Big jars of peanut butter, which producers put on the camera lenses to get the puppies to lick them. This year’s halftime performers will be Nigerian dwarf goats, who sources tell me “like to stand on boxes.”

This year’s roster is composed of 84 puppies from 37 shelters and private homes from around the country. These puppies are vetted (pun intended) by Animal Planet’s casting directors, who have the enviable job of looking at puppy audition tapes in the weeks leading up to filming. Marcia Mansell and Kathy Jung of the Nevada SPCA told us that these audition tapes consist of “five minutes of them playing.” The puppies were held in a large room adjacent to the studio in pens divided for different sizes of dogs. If you think this sounds like heaven, well, you’re right.

Many of these tapes are blind submissions from pet owners looking for a chance at the spotlight, but other puppies were actually scouted by Animal Planet. A puppy named Lorelai from Iowa was one such dog. “Someone from Animal Planet found us on Pet Finder and reached out to us,” said Amy Heinz of Iowa’s Heinz 57 Pet Rescue, who has brought puppies to the last three Puppy Bowls. “We brought a lot of dogs, so we rented a big SUV and drove about eighteen hours to get here. We have crates for half of them and a playpen for the rest.”

Some of the puppies provided by shelters have already been placed in new homes, but others haven’t. When I asked Heinz if she saw any boost in adoption rates after the broadcast, she said, “An enormous boost. We doubled our adoption rates after our first year appearing on the Puppy Bowl.”

Just like the Super Bowl, the Puppy Bowl is filled with Cinderella Stories. Many of the puppies that come from shelters have risen out of abusive or neglectful situations to compete on the largest stage in Puppy Football (and also the only stage in Puppy Football).

Bronte, a pitbull from Healing Species shelter in South Carolina, was one such case. “We rescued his mother and a litter of puppies,” said Healing Species president and founder Cheri Brown. “We’re a shelter that specializes in abuse and cruelty, and this was one of the worst cases we’ve ever seen. The mother was dying, but she’s fine now. Bronte was covered in fleas and had intestinal parasites known as Coccidia. If we had found him a day later, I don’t think he would have made it.” Another puppy, Kino (a strong candidate for this year’s MVP), showed up to the Nevada SPCA in a cardboard box.

Has the Puppy Bowl convinced you to adopt a dog? Great! Amy Heinz, who does home visits for every dog before adopting them out, told me the three things you should consider before taking a furry friend home with you:

— Do you have the time? Puppies are a LOT of work, way more than you think. An older dog requires less time, but is still a commitment. If you don’t have time but still want to get in on that puppy action, consider volunteering at a shelter.

— How willing are you to train the dog? If you don’t know how to do it and don’t want to learn, consider an older dog or obedience school.

— The right size dog for the right space. If you live in a New York City studio apartment, maybe the St. Bernard you’ve had your eyes on is a bad fit. And if you live on an expansive ranch, an English Bulldog with breathing troubles might not be able to keep up with you.

After an eventful day of playing football (kind of), the puppies were all tuckered out and headed home for the day. I won’t spoil the results for you, but I think we can agree that the real winner here is all of us. We all win.

This article originally appeared on SI.com.

TIME animals

50% of Pennsylvanians Would Rather Be Represented by a Groundhog in Congress

Fur real

Punxsutawney Phil Makes Annual Forecast On Groundhog Day
Jeff Swensen—Getty ImagesReady to lead?

Just in time for Groundhog Day on Feb. 2, Public Policy Polling (PPP) revealed 50% of Pennsylvanians think the groundhog Punxsutawney Phil “would do a better job than most current members of Congress.” Twenty-nine percent said he would not, and 21% were “not sure.”

Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling, said in a statement, “Americans have so little faith in Congress these days they’d rather be represented by a groundhog.”

The data suggests the rodent should get a new job, considering only 8% thought the animal seeing his shadow was a reliable indicator of how long winter would last.

The pollsters surveyed 1,042 registered voters in Pennsylvania between Jan.15 and 18. The margin of error for this poll is ± 3%.

Past entertaining PPP polls have showed Americans favor Ronald McDonald for president over Burger King, and that Republicans prefer olives as a pizza topping twice as much as Democrats.

Read Next: What’s the Point of Goofy Polls?

TIME animals

These Red Pandas Had the Best Snow Day Ever

You'll bearly be able to contain your excitement

It is winter, which means ’tis the season for adorable photos and videos of zoo animals paling around in white stuff.

After a winter storm swept through the Northeast, video footage captured red panda Hope and her seven-month-old cubs Faith and MowMow frolicking in the snow. Their playground is the Trevor Zoo, where students at the Millbrook School care for the animals in Millbrook, N.Y.

While the weather was a bear for many, it looks like these animals are having a blast.

 

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