A black Labrador that burrowed through smoking debris after 9/11 and flooded rubble after Hurricane Katrina in search of survivors has died after developing cancer.
Owner Mary Flood had 12-year-old Jake put to sleep on Wednesday after a last stroll through the fields and a dip in the creek near their home in Oakley, Utah.
Flood said Jake had been in pain, shaking with a 105-degree fever as he lay on the lawn.
No one can say whether the dog would have gotten sick if he hadn't been exposed to the toxic air at the World Trade Center, and cancer in dogs Jake's age is common.
Some owners of rescue dogs who worked at ground Zero claim their animals have died because of their work there.
But scientists who've studied the health of 9/11 search-and-rescue dogs have found no sign of major illness in the animals.
Many human Ground Zero workers have complained of health problems they attribute to their time at the site: the largest study conducted of about 20,000 workers reported last year that 70 percent of patients suffer respiratory disease years after the clean-up.
The results of an autopsy on Jake's body will be part of a medical study on the 9/11 dogs started by the University of Pennsylvania more than 5 years ago.
Flood adopted Jake as a 10-month-old puppy. He had been abandoned on a street with a broken leg and a dislocated hip.
"But against all odds he became a world-class rescue dog," said Flood, a member of Utah Task Force 1, a federal search-and-rescue team that looked for human remains at Ground Zero.
On the evening of the team's arrival in New York, Jake walked into a fancy Manhattan restaurant wearing his search-and-rescue vest and was treated to a free steak dinner under a table.
Flood eventually trained Jake to become one of fewer than 200 U.S. government-certified rescue dogs - an animal on 24-hour call to tackle disasters such as building collapses, earthquakes, hurricanes and avalanches.
After Katrina, Flood and Jake drove from Utah to Mississippi, where they searched for survivors in flooded homes.
In recent years, Jake helped train younger dogs across the country and he also did therapy work with children at a Utah camp for burn victims and at senior homes and hospitals.
"He was a great morale booster wherever he went," Flood said. "He was always ready to work, eager to play - and a master at helping himself to any unattended food items."
She said Jake's ashes would be scattered "in places that were important to him," such as his Utah training grounds and he rivers and hills near his home where he swam and roamed.
Our house has four bedrooms and one of them has always been a sort of junk room which the occasional guest has stayed in.
Well, KB has been living in the top bedroom for about 14 months now but she's had it with the fricking Poles couple of doors down who moved in just before she did. Trust us to get white trash Poles as neighbours when there's thousands of them (whom I've met personally) who actually know to behave!
Her bedroom window faced the garden hence Pole noise day and night. There's like a million of them and all they do all day is sit in their garden and drink. And have millions of even noisier friends over. Nice.
They've even erected a sort of rain proof marquee (below) so they can sit outside whatever the weather. Unfortunately when they drink the volume button goes missing ("This one goes to 11")so I can understand KB doesn't want to listen to that anymore. I had enough of their drunken bollocks today during the afternoon.
So she asked the main man of the house Mr S a while back if we could convert the junk room (which sits quite a way back from the garden round the corner) into her room and move the junk/quest room upstairs.
The answer was yes so that's what we've doing since Wednesday, slowly shifting the gear (all of our bedrooms were like a "stuff bomb" had exloded for a few days as we had to spread the things around!) and painting.
This what the room looked like before. I asked Mr S if his son, whose room it used to be, had chosen the colours when he was young and he said: "Well I don't think any sane adult woul've chosen these colours..."
KB started with the ceiling.
I started with the window frame this morning at half past eight.
We finished the painting about midday and then it was time to put the new bed together.
Had to get Mr S in a couple of times with his "man" strength to do all the allan key bits.
Finally here we have KB enjoying the fruits of her labour.
And after all that I am as good as dead so goodnight!
Oscar the cat seems to have an uncanny knack for predicting when nursing home patients are going to die, by curling up next to them during their final hours.
His accuracy, observed in 25 cases, has led the staff to call family members once he has chosen someone. It usually means they have less than four hours to live.
"He doesn't make too many mistakes. He seems to understand when patients are about to die," said Dr. David Dosa. He describes the phenomenon in a poignant essay in Thursday's issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
"Many family members take some solace from it. They appreciate the companionship that the cat provides for their dying loved one," said Dosa, a geriatrician and assistant professor of medicine at Brown University.
The facility treats people with Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease and other illnesses.
After about six months, the staff noticed Oscar would make his own rounds, just like the doctors and nurses. He'd sniff and observe patients, then sit beside people who would wind up dying in a few hours.
Dosa said Oscar seems to take his work seriously and is generally aloof.
"This is not a cat that's friendly to people," he said.Oscar is better at predicting death than the people who work there, said Dr. Joan Teno of Brown University, who treats patients at the nursing home and is an expert on care for the terminally ill.
She was convinced of Oscar's talent when he made his 13th correct call. Doctors say most of the people who get a visit from the sweet-faced, grey-and-white cat are so ill they probably don't know he's there, so patients aren't aware he's a harbinger of death.
No one's certain if Oscar's behavior is scientifically significant or points to a cause. Teno wonders if the cat notices telltale scents or reads something into the behavior of the nurses who raised him.
Nursing home staffers aren't concerned with explaining Oscar, as long as he gives families a better chance at saying goodbye to the dying.
Oscar recently received a wall plaque publicly commending his "compassionate hospice care."
A North Sea fisherman has netted a gruesome catch: a piece of skull belonging to his missing friend.
Roseann Allison with pictures of her two sons Brian Allison and Robert Temple.
Barry Hunter picked the skull fragment out of his net in December while trawling near the mouth of the River Tyne, about 280 miles (450 kilometers) north of London, Northumbria police said in a statement.
Hunter turned the bone over to authorities, and forensic tests confirmed that it belonged to Brian Allison, one of two fellow fishermen who disappeared when their trawler sank (below) during rough weather in the area on Nov. 17, 2004.
Police said Hunter and Allison were friends, but did not elaborate.
Allison and his brother Robert Temple were the only two occupants of the boat when it sank. The wreckage was later discovered, but Temple's body has never been found.
A seagull has turned shoplifter by wandering into a shop and helping itself to crisps.
The bird walks into the RS McColl newsagents in Aberdeen when the door is open and makes off with cheese Doritos.
The seagull, nicknamed Sam, has now become so popular that locals have started paying for his crisps.
Shop assistant Sriaram Nagarajan said: "Everyone is amazed by the seagull. For some reason he only takes that one particular kind of crisps."
The bird first swooped in Aberdeen's Castlegate earlier this month and made off with the 55p crisps, and is now a regular. Once outside, the crisps are ripped open and the seagull is joined by other birds.
Mr Nagarajan said: "He's got it down to a fine art. He waits until there are no customers around and I'm standing behind the till, then he raids the place. He's becoming a bit of a celebrity. Seagulls are usually not that popular but Sam is a star because he's so funny."
It's not very often that I return a book I've read once. Apart from the odd Bill Bryson I don't think I've ever read anything twice.
I'd put some unwanted books into a plastic bag in the hallway ready to take to charity shop but last week I was looking for something to read so I rescued Michael Palin's Around The World In 80 Days and thought sod it, I'll give it another go.
I'm glad I did! It's even better and funnier than the first time. I've seen the TV series of the trip probably 3-4 times as well but the book is brilliant.
I love his writing style, typically dry English sarcastic humour that makes you chuckle.