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  • Officials say they’re confident 99 percent of construction on the new dog park coming to Melas Park in Mount Prospect will be complete in time for a June 21 grand opening. The park is a joint project between the Arlington Heights and Mount Prospect park districts.

    Excitement high over Canine Commons dog parkJun 11, 2014 12:00 AM
    Canine Commons, the dog park being built at Melas Park in Mount Prospect, will have its grand opening on June 21. Interest in the new doggie area is high, as evidenced by the fact that the 500 memberships offered sold out in weeks. The project is a joint effort between the Arlington Heights and Mount Prospect park districts.

  • Deputies discovered this 13-inch alligator when they enforced an eviction order Wednesday morning on the South Side of Chicago.

    Sheriff’s deputies find alligator during evictionJun 11, 2014 12:00 AM
    The Cook County sheriff’s office reported finding an alligator in a Chicago apartment while enforcing an eviction order Wednesday morning on the South Side.

  • Pet contest at Libertyville Days:Jun 9, 2014 12:00 AM
    The annual pet contest held during the Libertyville Days festival is set for Sunday, June 15.

  • Dogs can navigate an agility/obstacle course Sunday, June 8, during Medinah Park District’s Dog Day of Summer event.

    Medinah festival helps dogs welcome the summerJun 6, 2014 12:00 AM
    Thorndale Park once again will go to the dogs this weekend when Medinah Park District hosts its annual Dog Day of Summer event. The dog festival is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, June 8, at the park, 22W130 Thorndale Ave., Medinah. “There’s so many people who walk the parks with their pets that we wanted to have an event for them,” organizer Carol Healy said. “This is a way for people to kick off the summer with their pets.”

  • Dog owner Arturo Gonzalez shows his late dog, Chico Blue, at his home in Pico Rivera, Calif. Chico Blue was fatally shot by sheriff’s deputies 18 months ago when the deputies came to ask Gonzalez about a shooting that wounded his brother. The deputies say the dog foamed at the mouth while walking down the driveway. Feeling threatened by the dog, the deputies eventually shot him twice with a handgun.

    Videos look to help police curb dog shootingsJun 6, 2014 12:00 AM
    The majority of shootings in most U.S. police departments involve animals, usually dogs, and experts say a new series of videos can help change often quick-trigger decisions fueled by fear. “There will be times when police need to defend themselves because they are being attacked by a dog and don’t have a choice, but that is the minority of cases,” said Brian Kilcommons, a Southbury, Connecticut, dog behaviorist and trainer. He is featured in the five-part series that teaches officers to detect the warning signs of an aggressive dog and how to avoid using lethal force.

  • Glory is 2-year-old female.

    Older kittens have just as much spunk as their smaller counterpartsJun 5, 2014 12:00 AM
    Who can resist the charm, antics and cuddliness of a kitten that is between 2- and 3-months old? Even people that do not share their lives with a companion animal cannot deny the irresistibility of a tiny kitten.

  • “Big Air Dog” voting:Jun 5, 2014 12:00 AM
    Online Facebook registration and voting continues for five local dogs to compete in Libertyville’s “Big Air Dog” local jumping competition.”

  • The Doggie Ride Mini Dog Bike Trailer had two cabin leashes to secure Hammy and nice mesh windows so he could feel the breeze through his ears.

    Biking with Fido shouldn’t be a dragJun 4, 2014 12:00 AM
    Several days before a long bike ride last year, a friend of mine suggested that we get a bike trailer for my beagle, Hamilton. Forget it, I said. Concerned about anxiety (Hammy’s) and burning quads (mine), I refused to entertain the idea. This spring, we tested out a few dog-specific models on trails, boardwalks and pavement.

  • Hedgehog breeder and trainer Jennifer Crespo, of Gardner, Mass., holds “Circus,” a one-year-old pet hedgehog. Hedgehogs are steadily growing in popularity across the United States, despite laws in at least six states banning or restricting them as pets.

    What you need to know about pet hedgehogsJun 3, 2014 12:00 AM
    A growing number of American homes are keeping African pygmy hedgehogs as pets. Here are some questions and answers about the small animals whose backs and sides are covered with about 6,000 quills that are considerably shorter, but harder and sharper, than those of a porcupine.

  • Take in a baseball game with your pooch at the Kane County Cougars’ “Bark in the Park” event, set for Wednesday, June 4, in Geneva.

    Kane County Cougars to hold ‘Bark in the Park’ theme nightMay 31, 2014 12:00 AM
    Baseball fans and dog owners can bring their canine companions to the Kane County Cougars game Wednesday, June 4, for "Bark in the Park" theme night with the purchase of a ticket to the game. Dogs can walk in a parade, participate in contests and watch the game with their owners.

  • A beloved family pet was memorialized with this statue at the Los Angeles Pet Cemetery in Calabasas, Calif.

    Pet burials range from bottom of sea to sky aboveMay 31, 2014 12:00 AM
    People saying goodbye to a beloved cat or dog can do it in style, sending their pet’s remains to the bottom of the sea or letting them fly high into the sky. If backyard burial isn’t special enough, Fido or Fluffy can always be close if you turn their ashes into a gemstone. Here are some of the many ways to bid adieu to your furry friend.

  • About seven gray wolves have been spotted in Illinois since 2000.

    Lawmakers OK adding animals to protected listMay 31, 2014 12:00 AM
    An environmental group says Illinois lawmakers have passed a “commonsense” plan to protect three more animal species slowly returning to the state. The Senate voted unanimously on Friday to add black bears, gray wolves and mountain lions to the protected species list.

  •  Zebra and a calf are seen at a watering hole in northern Botswana. Thousands of zebra were monitored during a 300 mile roundtrip journey, a newly discovered trek that wildlife experts say reaches farther than any other known land migration in Africa.

    Zebras make longest trek in Africa, research saysMay 30, 2014 12:00 AM
    “It goes to show us that nature still has some surprises,” said Robin Naidoo, senior conservation scientist at the Washington-based World Wildlife Fund that led the two-year study on the migration. He said the main reason that the migration was not detected earlier was because it was impossible to know where the animals were going without GPS tracking technology, which has become more available and affordable in the last two decades.

  • Mario Contreras said he loves his job as the head horse trainer at Medieval Times in Hoffman Estates. He has a special love for the Andalusian stallions that he trains for the shows.

    Moving picture: Elgin man trains ‘Medieval’ stallionsMay 30, 2014 12:00 AM
    Mario Contreras is a classic type “A” personality. The Elgin man is head horse trainer at Medieval Times in Hoffman Estates, and he operates his own training facility at Indian Hills Farm in Gilberts, where he trains horses and riders for competition and exhibition. “I really like what I do, and I always try to pass it along to the people who work for me," he said.

  • A mother duck decided to lay her eggs in a pallet of paver block sand bags at the Home Depot in Gurnee. Employees have put up a sign to protect her and are feeding her until her ducklings hatch.

    Mother duck picks Gurnee home improvement store to start familyMay 29, 2014 12:00 AM
    A duck has laid its eggs in a pallet at Gurnee's Home Depot. Workers there are doing what they can to keep the duck and future ducklings safe in the garden center area. The plan is to transfer the babies to a nearby pond. The employees estimate it will be another two weeks before the ducklings hatch.

  • A doe crosses Route 31 in Elgin. Female deer are on the move this time of year, experts say.

    Deer that hit van may have been startled off overpassMay 29, 2014 12:00 AM
    Spring means deer -- both mature females and offspring -- are on the move and pose a hazard to drivers, an Elgin-based wildlife biologist says. A West Dundee mom and her four children avoided serious harm when a doe lept off an overpass and landed on their minivan this week, just one of thousands of collisions across the state each year.

  • Baby Cakes, a 6-year-old, female Chihuahua, weighs in at 11 pounds.

    A scratching dog may mean an infestation of fleasMay 29, 2014 12:00 AM
    It's flea season. Make sure to treat your pet if he is scratching in order to keep him healthy.

  • This Sept, 13, 2007 photo provided by pet photographer Rachael Hale McKenna shows one of her ‘clients,’ Kizzie a 6-year-old boxer-Dalmatian mix, in a commissioned portrait taken in New Zealand.

    Families turn to pros to capture canine memoriesMay 26, 2014 12:00 AM
    Twenty years ago, most people didn’t think to put their pet in a family photo or on the annual Christmas card. Today, family portraits and cards are likely to be built around a beloved animal. And the older a pet gets, the more owners will think about professional photographs.

  • Lucky

    Discarded cat Lucky gets new lease on lifeMay 22, 2014 12:00 AM
    The Buddy Foundation rescues countless homeless animals that find themselves in perilous situations. As often as it happens, I have to wonder if people understand the consequences of putting an animal out — to fend for itself. There is no water, food or shelter.

  •  Barbara Bush holds Miss Beazley, while accompanying her mother on a visit to the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington.

    Miss Beazley, former White House Scottie, diesMay 17, 2014 12:00 AM
    Miss Beazley was born in October 2004. The pooch was later presented to Laura Bush as a birthday present from her husband. The family pet was featured in a December 2005 video, “A Very Beazley Christmas” — a look at White House holiday life presented from the a dog’s point of view.

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