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Hvaldimir The Beluga Whale Captures the World’s Attention

Mackenzie Freeman

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A few months ago, videos of a beluga whale emerged online on various social media channels. These videos of a playful and curious whale caught the world’s attention. While videos of encounter with wild whales are not uncommon, this video was different because it showed the beluga playing fetch with a rugby ball with a team of researchers out in the frigid waters of Norway. The adorable video has had more than 20 million views thus far, promoting people around the world to ponder why this assumed wild whale so was comfortable with human interaction and why he knew what to do with a ball thrown in the water.

Today, it is believed that the whale, which has been given the name Hvaldimir, was at some point trained and cared for by Russian scientists. Previously, a beluga whale has been seen wearing a GoPro harness with the words “Equipment St. Petersburg” on it. It is now believed that Hvaldimir is that same whale, though the harness has since been removed. While this idea explains the whale’s familiarity with humans and his willingness to play games with them and seek out interactions with them, it is not as happy and feel-good a story at it seems at first. The sad truth is that this whale will likely die as he is a trained and human-dependent whale and the fear is he will be unable to survive in the wild without human intervention. At the very least, Hvaldimir needs to find a pod or family or whales to join so he does not have to continue living in the expansive ocean all alone.

The whale also has a team of advocates, animal rights supporters, and scientists who are working to protect him. The Advocates for Hvaldimir, made up of members from Norway and the United States, have been working to relocate him to another area of ocean. The hope is that in a more suitable habitat, seeing as the oceans of Norway is not an ideal place for a beluga, Hvaldimir can join a pod and relearn how to be a wild whale. In nature, belugas live in pods that can number up to 100 whales. Pods are important because the many whales living in the group help protect the whales from predators, make them more effective hunters, and also offer necessary social interactions for the family-focused whales. Belugas are very sociable, just like humans, and isolation is a very depressing and dangerous situation for these whales; that is what advocates are worried about for Hvaldimir.

Advocates argue that this friendly whale will likely never have a good chance at survival, let alone a normal life, without the natural support and structure of a pod. Advocates for Hvaldimir are working on a documentary and have been talking to Good News Network about the focus and goals of their work and how they are overcoming the opposition they are receiving from some people. It has long been believed that a previously captive animal, especially intelligent social animals like whales, cannot adapt and join a wild family unit or learn how to be self-sufficient. Hvaldimir appears to be doing ok on his own, but it is not fully known how long he has been on his own or what his overall health is like at this time.

Advocates for the whale say that Hvaldimir deserves a chance to be reintroduced to the wild and given the opportunity to join a pod and live life free and in the wild. The fear is that his current location oput him at risk for fishing boats and encounters with fishermen. The team fighting for the while say he should be relocated and monitored to see if he can adapt and learn to live without human guidance and interventions. They have created a GoFundMe page with specific details about Hvaldimir and his story and are avid that they want this to be an attempt to let the whale remain free and they are not looking at returning him to captivity somewhere.

To learn more about Hvaldimir, his advocates, and the newest updates on the progress, check out the GoFundMe page and contact the advocates themselves!

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Animals

Snapchat’s Cartoon Face Feature Is Driving Dog Owner’s Wild

Lea Lomas

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A lot of people have fun with the myriad of features that the Snapchat applications provide. Filters are the most commonly used features on the platform. Pet owners are now starting to use filters to give their dogs a Disney-ish appearance. Snapchatters of all ages and ethnicities are spending hours of their time applying various filters to their furry friend and posting them for other users to enjoy. Even some users who didn’t know how to maneuver Snapchat before are using it now just to get their Disney fix. I must admit that I was never a Snapchat user until I heard about the feature. I thought it would be fun for me to try it out on my dog. We were just sitting around down nothing during the quarantine, so I figured,” Why not? It might be fun.” I was surprised at how easy it was for me to navigate the application and use the feature to make my dog look like a Disney character. If you own a dog, you might want to try it out because it’s currently the latest new trend. You’ll get a few laughs out of it at the very least.

About the Filter

The name of the filter that people are using is called “Cartoon Face.” It wasn’t necessarily designed for dogs, but a random dog owner used it one day and somehow turned it into an overnight sensation. The person’s picture ended up getting tens of thousands of views and likes. It only takes one person’s picture getting attention for that picture to turn into a brand new trend. Now, people like me, a middle-aged dog owner, are starting to use the feature more frequently. Snapchat’s user base has probably risen drastically since this new feature has been available. I use Snapchat all the time now, and you might end up becoming a frequent user, as well. 

How the Filter Works

It’s very easy for you to use the filter. I’m not a tech-savvy person at all, and I found it to be quite user-friendly. All you need to do is to activate the lens and choose the embellishments before you snap the picture of your dog. The two features that most people are using are the “big eye” feature and the brow-changing feature. These features are making their dogs look like they came from movies such as “Lady and the Tramp.” My pooch immediately looked like she was straight from the movie. My friends and family members loved the pictures, and they started using Snapchat and its features the same day I did. We all communicate with the app all the time now. 

Other users have stated that the application features have been very easy to use. They’ve also stated that they had an easier time applying the features to dogs who were lighter in color than they did with dogs who were darker colors. 

The Bottom Line

If you’re someone who likes to play with application features that change appearances, then you will probably get a kick out of the “Cartoon Face” feature on Snapchat. It might very well be a feature that causes more people from the older generations to download the application and participate with its toys and such. 

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Animals

Shelter Comes Up With Magical Photoshoot To Help Pregnant Dogs Get Adopted!

Leslie Tander

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Did you know that there are more than 6.5 million companion pets stuck in shelters around the United States? This annual number does not even take into account more than 1.5 million shelter animals that are tragically euthanized every single year due to a lack of attention from prospective owners. With so many people opting to adopt from private owners and puppy mills, it can be hard for shelters to get attention from potential puppy-parents. In order to bring some attention to their pregnant and lovable pups, this shelter in Virginia decided to do something a little different. Keep on reading to find out how one animal shelter in Virginia changed the game by giving their dogs a fair chance at being adopted!

Homeward Trails Animal Rescue is based out of Fairfax Station, VA. Like any other animal shelter, Homeward Trails Animal Rescue has continued to struggle when it comes to adopting out their older, pregnant, and physically handicapped animals. While most people fall in love with puppies when they go to the shelter, these older dogs require love and attention, too! In order to get as much attention as possible for their pregnant doggos, Homeward Trails decided to have an incredible, hilarious, and touching photoshoot!

When Homeward Trails decided to launch their photoshoot, they knew that they had to bring a bunch of fun themes into the equation. For Shelley, an older pregnant dog, the shelter decided to go with a glamorous look, as you can see here. With an adorable flower bow on her head and a pink shawl, Shelley managed to steal the attention of everyone scrolling through their Facebook feed. 

The team at Homeward Trails elected to perform a maternity photoshoot for Shelly to bring in extra clicks while they had the attention of social media. The hilarious photos that were released would quickly go viral, causing Shelley to become something of a buzzworthy pup on social media! As the mainstream media began reporting on the story, Homeward Trails received even more attention for their pregnant, old, and otherwise incapacitated dogs in need of new forever homes.

Following the maternity photoshoot that we referenced above, Shelley would give birth to ten beautiful puppies as reported by Good Morning America andPeople. The beautiful litter coupled with the stunning viral photographs would net Shelley her first and final forever home. According to workers at Homeward Trails Animal Rescue, this was one of the few times that a mama-dog got adopted before any of her puppies.  In addition to the success that Homeward Trails had with Shelley, the shelter also found a home for an older pregnant pup named Fiona, pictured here as an adorable angel.

With millions of wonderful and loving animals being sent to shelters every single year, now is the perfect time to save a life. Consider checking out your local animal shelter when it comes time to adopt your next furry friend.

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Animals

Unforgettable Papillon Dogs That Look Like They Have Wings

Leslie Tander

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Lots of people are familiar with corgi dogs. In fact, corgi dogs are very popular. These dogs have a very distinctive appearance, and they’ve appeared in a lot of television shows and movies. While papillon dogs also have a very unique look to them, some papillon owners say that a lot of people don’t yet know about these dogs. 

Of course, papillon dogs have a very striking appearance, so a lot of people will still ask questions about these dogs when they see them. However, people will not always know that the dogs come from a famous breed of their own. Some people just think that papillon dogs are interesting mixed breeds. However, plenty of successful show dogs have been papillons. 

This breed actually has a few names, which is one of the reasons why they’re not as famous as they might be in the future. Some people refer to these dogs as ‘dwarf spaniels.’ They’re also sometimes identified as ‘continental toy spaniels.’ When they’re in dog shows, they’ll usually be part of the ‘toy’ category of dogs. 

Papillons are very small dogs, and their broad, fluffy ears are very recognizable. These petite dogs were actually named after the original French word for ‘butterfly.’ Anyone who has ever seen a papillon dog will immediately know why this was the case. From the front, the full and long fur at their ears looks a lot like butterfly wings. 

The dogs have small heads and relatively broad ears, which only makes their ears that much more obvious. Their fur in general is very long and smooth. The dogs might almost look as if they’re wearing silk shirts. 

Some papillon dogs have a slightly different look to them, because their ears are not as raised, comparatively speaking. Many people in Europe call these dogs ‘moths’ or ‘phalene’ dogs. While some people might assume that these sorts of dogs are part of a very different dog breed at this point, they’re still papillon dogs. Even dog breeds can be much more varied than a lot of people think. Still, once people learn about papillon dogs, it’s very easy to identify them. 

Many people now own papillon dogs. However, at one point in history, it was only aristocrats who had them. These dogs were there to provide companionship. Plenty of modern pet dogs come from breeds that were once used for hunting and working, but this is not the case with papillon dogs. They were more or less always supposed to be pets, which shouldn’t be especially surprising. 

They aren’t big enough to be guard dogs or hunting dogs. Their very long and soft fur is great for a companion dog, but it would be a liability to any working dog. However, these dogs are perfect as pet dogs, since they’re very gentle and smart. They can get along well with most people, so social dog owners shouldn’t run into any issues when they have papillon dogs. 

Papillon dogs are related to spaniels. It’s possible to see a lot of early papillon dogs in the paintings of aristocrats and merchants throughout early modern Europe. The famous Marie Antoinette may have had one, although she did have a lot of dogs, and historians aren’t sure about all of the exact dog breeds she kept.  

Many historians think that papillon dogs originally came from Italy or Spain. This breed has certainly been around for a long time by this point in history, and they should only become more popular in the future. Plenty of people are seeing them online today, and they’re a difficult breed to forget. 

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