Motherhood Is for the Dogs

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Don't have a cow, mom.

A dog desperate to share its motherly love in Maryville, Tenn., has adopted a Black Angus calf that had been abandoned by its mother, according to local WBIR News.

"Dogs and cattle don't usually mix, except in this case," longtime cattle farmer Earl Best told WBIR.

Best headed out to feed his cattle last Sunday and found Maggie the calf all alone in the middle of the field — abandoned by her mother after she was born.

That's when it became interspecies mommy time for Vegas, a Boxer mix.

"A soon as I brought her in, that dog went crazy wanting to be with the calf," Best told WBIR.

WBIR posted photos and video of the canine mommy licking, cuddling and canoodling with her new bovine babe.

Vegas never had a litter of her own and has been spayed — so she's clearly decided to adopt, Best said.

"If the calf is laying down, a lot of time [the dog will] stand right over it, or she will lay down on it like she's protecting it or keeping it warm," he told WBIR.

While the calf will soon weigh up to 1,400 pounds, both canine momma and bovine baby weigh in at around 70 pounds. Maggie had been headed for slaughter, but the cow cuteness has led the Bests to want to adopt her.

"I guess everything has to have some affection. The dog gives affection," Best told WBIR.

— Thanks to Out There reader Angie B.

Hippo + Tortoise = Kenya's Odd Couple

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A baby hippo and a 130-year-old tortoise are still the same unlikely couple, a year after the hippo was separated from its family by the Indian Ocean tsunami.

The relationship between Owen, the 2-year-old hippopotamus, and Mzee, the giant tortoise, surprised conservation workers and made international headlines.

Owen was living with his family on the Sabaki River when massive waves from the Indian Ocean tsunami reached the East African coast. He was washed into the ocean and stranded on a reef.

Residents of Malindi, a small coastal town, used fishing nets to catch him. He was then taken to the Haller Park sanctuary, where he met Mzee and adopted him as a surrogate parent. Owen may have been attracted by Mzee's round shape and gray color, which are somewhat similar to that of an adult hippopotamus.

The tortoise at first resisted. But the persistent Owen kept following him around the park and into the pool, and trying to sleep next to him.

Mzee relented after several days. As the bond grew, the tortoise even returned signs of affection. They are now inseparable.

Conservation workers plan to introduce Owen to a 13-year-old female hippo named Cleo early next year, hoping to see the two develop a strong relationship. The female hippo has also lived without companionship from her species — for more than a decade.

The delicate process will begin with having the two animals meet and get used to each other's smell before moving them into a larger enclosure together with the tortoise.

— Click in the photo box above to see a pic of forbidden Kenyan love.

Meow! That's What You Get for Not Changing My Litter

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Locking yourself out of your car is bad enough, but Jeanna Stewart was even more embarrassed when the culprit was not her, but her cat.

The Morgantown resident said she was getting a spare house key out of her car's trunk on Monday when her cat Mork, one of three in the car, stepped on the automatic door lock. She couldn't unlock the door because she had left her car keys on the driver's seat.

"He wouldn't unlock the door for me," Stewart said Tuesday. "He was standing there, saying, 'Why aren't you opening the door? I want to go inside.'"

Stewart went into her house and called the fire department for help.

"They rescued my three little kitties," Stewart said. "I didn't need a rescue for me, just for them."

— Thanks to Out There reader Greg M.

Jusht Put Me in Prithon, Occifer

CRESCENT CITY, Fla. (AP) — Take me to jail. That's what one man asked Putnam County deputies to do.

According to the sheriff's office, 72-year-old John Watson was stopped for driving over the speed limit on U.S. 17 and told the deputy that he was drunk and to take him to jail.

He apparently hadn't done too well on the sobriety tests, which include a one-leg stand and the "finger to nose" test.

When asked if he wanted to try the tests again, deputies say Watson told them "No," and to just take him to jail.

Watson is charged with driving under the influence and was being held at the Crescent City Police Department. There, breath tests placed his blood-alcohol level well over the Florida limit of .08 — his was at .199 and .198.

— Thanks to Out There readers Beth M. and Greg M.

Hmmmm, What Was the Dorm Project Again?

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — When college freshman Janet Lee packed her bags for a Christmas trip home two years ago, her luggage contained three condoms filled with flour — a stress-relief contraption that she and some friends made as part of a dorm project.

Philadelphia International Airport screeners found the condoms, and their initial tests showed they contained drugs. The Bryn Mawr College student was arrested on drug trafficking charges and jailed. Three weeks later, she was released after a lab test backed her story.

Lee filed a federal lawsuit last week against city police, seeking damages for pain and suffering, financial loss, and emotional distress. Her arrest occurred Dec. 21, 2003, and she was held on $500,000 bail. She faced up to 20 years in prison if she were to be convicted of the drug charges.

"I haven't let myself be angry about what happened, because it would tear me apart," Lee said. "I'm not sure I can bear to face it. I'm amazed at how naive I was."

When airport screeners found the condoms filled with white powder in Lee's checked luggage shortly before she was to board an L.A.-bound plane to visit her family, she said she told city police they were filled with flour and were stress-relievers, not drug packages.

Police told her a field test showed that the powder contained opium and cocaine, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. A lab test later proved the substance was flour — and prosecutors dropped the charges, the newspaper reported Thursday.

Lee's lawyers, former prosecutors David Oh and Jeremy Ibrahim, say that either the field test was faulty or someone fixed the results.

Ibrahim said lawsuit was filed near the end of the two-year statute of limitations because Lee, now a junior, was emotionally devastated.

"She lost significant face with this event," Ibrahim said.

Police department spokesman Capt. Benjamin Naish and district attorney's office spokeswoman Cathie Abookire declined to comment.

This Turkey Oil Plant Stinks!

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A foul-smelling plant that turns turkey byproducts into fuel oil was ordered closed by the governor Wednesday until the company finds a way to clear the air.

Renewable Environmental Solutions Inc. in the southwest Missouri community of Carthage had agreed in May to improve its odor-control systems after state and city officials sued, alleging the smell posed a public nuisance.

The company also was cited six times by state environmental officials this year, Gov. Matt Blunt said, but the smell continued.

"The people of Carthage have endured terrible odors from the plant for too long," Blunt said.

The facility produces 100 to 200 barrels of fuel oil a day using byproducts from a nearby ConAgra Foods turkey-processing facility.

The governor wants the Department of Natural Resources to review the plant's operations and give the company an opportunity to stop the smell.

The factory was still operating late Wednesday afternoon.

"We have been in contact with the company, and they are aware that this is coming," department spokeswoman Connie Patterson said.

Company officials were "shocked and disappointed" by the governor's order, according to a statement. They said a process was already in place for the city and the department to work together on the problem. The two parties were scheduled to meet next week.

Authorities had hoped cooler weather and plant improvements would reduce odors. But that has not happened and "additional measures are needed before spring, when experts believe the nuisance will grow more acute due to warmer weather," the governor said.

According to the company's Web site, the plant uses extreme heat and pressure to break down agricultural waste and reform it, mimicking the way fossil fuels are created in nature, but in hours rather than millions of years.

Compiled by's Andrew Hard.

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