The holidays can be a crazy time of year.
There's the last-minute shopping, the traveling, not the mention the traffic...
But if you need some respite, here are six animal stories to help you de-stress during the holidays. Because what's better than puppies and bear cubs, right?
Tucsonans mobilize to support Gil, dog gravely injured in shooting
It’s been months since a black Lab puppy was found bloodied, his feet and knees nearly raw, in an Arizona desert.
The victim of a buckshot lodged in his spine — he was also hit near his thigh — Gil lost all feeling in his hind legs.
Though the recovery process is long for the dog, thought to be no older than 2, it took nearly no time at all for Tucsonans to mobilize in support of Gil.
It all happened sometime between March and July in Gila County, about 150 miles north of downtown Tucson. Gil went missing from his family and never made it home.
When he was found, his paws and knees were bloody and near raw from dragging himself up a mountain during the monsoon. A family heard Gil crying, wrapped him in a blanket and contacted a veterinary clinic.
Beyond his paralysis, Gil was near starvation, had tick fever, burned skin, possibly from the tire of a car, and a cattle wart on his face. He was so dirty that it took four baths to get him clean.
When Gil arrived at the clinic, the veterinarian recognized him from having vaccinated him earlier in the year. He was also still wearing a collar.
The staff called Gil’s family, but because of the cost of his treatments, in addition to the care he would need, his family wasn’t able to care for him.
The clinic didn’t think there were any rescue options for Gil due to the extent of his injuries and planned to euthanize him. But Nancy Young Wright, from Tucson, didn’t let that happen.
Young Wright is a volunteer with Cody’s Friends, an organization that helps shelters, rescues and people in need with pets. On July 21, Young Wright donated food to the clinic where Gil was being treated.
The veterinarian hadn’t planned to show Gil during Young Wright’s visit. But Young Wright was accompanied by a new volunteer and wanted to give her a tour of the clinic.
That’s when they met Gil — just two days before his planned euthanasia.
“It was his spark. He had a will to live and I really felt he deserved a chance,” Young Wright says, adding that she knew she had to help him. “I didn’t know what happened to him, but I felt that it wasn’t fair — that this young dog would have to be put to sleep for no fault of his own.”
She posted Gil’s photo on Facebook, seeking fosters. Three people volunteered, two of whom now care for him. Two days later, on July 23, the day of his planned euthanasia, Gil was taken to his new fosters in Tucson.
With the help of two foster families and loads of community support, Gil is now happier than ever. He has a wheelchair, wears diapers, and while he still has some scars, he’s just as playful as any other puppy.
Read the full story here.
Local rescue takes in dog with rare joint condition
When 4-year-old pit bull mix Addie was rescued a year ago, she couldn't walk.
Addie has immune-mediated polyarthritis, which resulted in the erosion of the joints in her front legs. She was in so much pain that all she could do was crawl.
Save-A-Bull Rescue, based in Tucson, took in Addie as a stray. And despite the pain she was in, Addie has always been a ray of light, Emily D'Amore, director of the rescue says.
"Due to the severity of her condition, she was deemed a non-surgical candidate," D'Amore says. "Getting her braces was her only shot at living a happy and mobile life."
So, with the help of Rescue Bank, a program with GreaterGood.org, Addie was able to get custom leg braces — and she's now able to walk and run, almost pain-free.
"It's incredible to see her move around, especially seeing where she started," D'Amore says.
Read the full story here.
Scooter brings joy, love to seniors at Tucson assisted living residence
Scooter is a hit — stealing hearts and bringing smiles — to residents and staff at Foothills Place Senior Living.
The 6-month-old, tan and white terrier mix is a rescue dog that is now the facility’s mascot, said Catherine Linta-Moschini, a spokeswoman for the assisted living community in the Santa Catalina Foothills at 3701 N. Swan Road.
Scooter was abused, and her injuries resulted in her inability to use her back legs. She suffered hip and nerve damage, and wears a diaper.
Linta-Moschini, an animal advocate, met Scooter last month and took her in from Lil Bit of Love, a Tucson animal rescue organization that is operated by volunteers. Scooter fits in nicely with Linta-Moschini’s two other rescued dogs and a parrot.
She works with Scooter, exercising her hind legs, and helping her do stretches to strengthen her spine. Scooter was fitted for a wheelchair and is now walking in the halls of the senior facility greeting residents and guests.
“They see this little girl and they light up,” said Linta-Moschini.
Read the full story here.
Watch: 9 ducklings get a new home after being rescued from Tucson pool
A mallard and her nine ducklings were relocated to a safe home thanks to a 30-year animal expert in the Tucson area.
Marc Hammond of Animal Experts Inc., relocated the ducks from a pool that might've killed them, to the Sweetwater Wetlands Park on Tucson's west side.
"A lot of times they don't live because of the chlorine in the water," Hammond said.
He and his team receive calls every year due to the mallards relocating to pools in the Tucson community. The animals usually relocate from large bodies of water to find safer places to lay their eggs.
When they show up, its the Animal Experts who are called out. The company's work was recently featured on National Geographic.
The releasing of the ducks is just one of the many experiences for Hammond across three decades.
"Everyday it's something new, Hammond said. "Whether its badgers, coyotes, coatimundis, everyday is something new."
Watch: Bear cub grows up with its mom, wanders around Southern Arizona mountains
This is a video you'll definitely want to watch.
Through cameras set up over the course of 15 months, Russ McSpadden of the Center for Biological Diversity caught a black bear cub growing up with its mom — and it is so cute.
The video catches a cub, named Monsoon, roaming around the Chiricahua Mountains at the age of only two months, up until Monsoon is able to be on its own.
Other video clips show Monsoon up close and personal, inspecting the center's cameras.
The video also features many other critters, including javelinas, roadrunners, deer, and pumas.
Watch the video, by McSpadden of the Center for Biological Diversity, below.
You can follow Tucson's most adorable deputy on Instagram
If you need an extra dose of cuteness today, look no further than the Pima County Sheriff's Department's therapy dog, Leo.
Or to be specific, the pup's Instagram account.
Leo, a 7-month-old yellow Labrador retriever, was deputized as the sheriff department's first therapy dog last year.
He is on the Mental Health Support Team unit with Detective Shawn Degan, where he is being trained as a therapy animal first, and then will learn how to be a first responder to crime scenes.