1. According to the yearly roundup of popular pet names in the database of Veterinary Pet Insurance, the 10 most popular dog names for 2012 were Bella, Bailey, Max, Lucy, Molly, Buddy, Daisy, Maggie, Charlie, and Sophie. It was the third straight year Bella came in at number 1, after unseating Max in 2009. A company spokesman thought the ascendancy of Bella might have had to do with “the name of the heroine in a certain vampire book/film series that’s pretty popular these days.”

    In medieval times, dogs had names like Blawnche, Nosewise, Smylfeste, Bragge, Holdfast, Zaphyro, Zalbot, Mopsus and Mopsulus.

    Dog-naming trends through the ages

     

  2. A piglet known as Chris P. Bacon examines his new wheelchair on the office floor of veterinarian and owner Len Lucero in Clermont, Fla. The little animal’s hind legs are deformed and Lucero had fashioned a wheelchair out of K’nex toys to help it walk. Chris outgrew the wheelchair, and will soon grow into his new, sturdier model. (PHOTO: REUTERS/Scott Audette)

    12 of this week’s best photos

     

  3. 12 behind-the-scenes photos from the 137th annual Westminster Kennel Club dog show

    Photos: REUTERS/Mike Segar and Keith Bedford

     

  4. "I’ve always wanted to be a PlayBo Bunny… " — Submitted by Bobbie Liegus via Facebook.

    Check out all of this week’s caption contest winners

    Photo: CC BY: The White House

    (Source: theweek.com)

     

  5. Caption this!

    (Photo: CC BY: The White House)

     

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  7. Study: Babies who live with dogs are healthier 

    The authors of the study tracked the health of 400 babies, and sent the families weekly questionnaires from the time the kids were 9 weeks old until they turned 1.

    Here’s what they found: A child under the age of 1 who regularly plays with an outdoor dog — that is, a pup who spends just six hours of its time inside each day — will build a stronger, healthier immune system in the long run. Kids living in homes with such dogs were illness-free 73 percent of the time, whereas children living in homes without pets were healthy only about 65 percent of the time. Overall, dog-friendly babies “had fewer ear infections, and they needed less antibiotics,” says lead author Eija Bergroth.

    One explanation: "Pets that spent more time outdoors brought more dirt into their homes, giving babies more opportunities to encounter it." The thinking goes that this strengthens a child’s immune system and causes natural defenses to mature faster than they normally would. 

    Keep reading

     

  8. When Patch the Jack Russell Terrier boarded a train to Dublin without his owner Deirdre Anglin, Irish Rail workers, upon discovering the dog was on board alone, sent a tweet that said, “Lost dog!” with a photo of Patch attached. The message was retweeted more than 500 times, finding its way to Anglin in less than 32 minutes.

    "That’s my dog!" she responded using her own Twitter account. After the two were reunited, a Twitter account was created for Patch, and it will reportedly be dedicated to finding other lost dogs.

    7 heartwarming reunions made possible by Twitter