An adorable ball of fluff — also known as Flynn, a 5-year-old bichon frise — was named Best in Show Tuesday night at the 142nd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
His handler, Bill McFadden, has been showing the breed at the show since 1991, and he told The New York Times he thought this would be Flynn's last year competing. "It feels a little unreal," he said. "I came in expecting nothing and just hoping for a good performance and I think I got it." Other finalists included Lucy, a borzoi; a pug named Biggie; Slick the Border collie; the giant schnauzer Ty; Bean the Sussex spaniel; and Winston, a Norfolk terrier. Betty-Anne Stenmark, a longtime judge who has bred Saint Bernards, Salukis, and Dandie Dinmont terriers, had the jealousy-inducing job of choosing the winner.
Before the show, McFadden and his wife, Taffe, described what it takes to get Flynn ready: He gets a bath, and after being dried and trimmed, he's retrimmed several more times. They use shampoo, conditioner, and hairspray, plus a powder called Fairy Frost that "dries the drool on their face," Taffe McFadden told the Times. "You use a little bit of everything. It's a beauty show." Catherine Garcia
Two thousand lottery winners in Japan hit the jackpot this week, when they got to be the first people to see Xiang Xiang, a panda cub at Tokyo's Ueno Zoo.
Tens of thousands of people entered the lottery to get a glimpse of the 6-month-old, NHK reports, and on Dec. 19, the lucky winners gathered at the zoo to see the adorable panda and her mother, Shin Shin, play in their enclosure. The zoo plans on limiting Xiang Xiang's exposure to just two-and-a-half hours a day.
When the public was invited to suggest names for the cub, more than 300,000 people sent in their ideas, with Xiang Xiang proposed 5,161 times; Xiang Xiang can mean "fragrance" or "popular." She is the first panda born at the zoo in nearly 20 years. Catherine Garcia
The 142nd Kentucky Derby is this weekend, and some of the most adorable puppies ever went on The Tonight Show to predict which contender will win the race. This segment is really just about watching these sweet puppies as they make their way to a trough of kibble, but if you're the betting type, put some money down on the predicted winner — if you're right, you can keep the fact that you took gambling advice from a dog to yourself. Catherine Garcia
Fact No. 1: The best part of the Super Bowl is watching the commercials. Fact No. 2: Any ad is made better with the addition of dogs. Knowing this, Heinz unleashed dozens of dachshunds dressed like hot dogs for its "Wiener Stampede" Game Day commercial. If these delightful doxies can't convince you to buy ketchup, I don't know what will. Catherine Garcia
Biologists are hopeful that two tiny mountain lion kittens born in the Santa Monica Mountains will be able to shed light on how the animals are able to survive in the sprawling Los Angeles area.
— Santa Monica Mtns (@SantaMonicaMtns) August 4, 2015
The kittens were born to two different mothers in remote areas, the Los Angeles Times reports, and given the unoriginal names of P-43 and P-44. One is three weeks old, the other is four weeks old, and both have had their health checked, with biologists taking blood and tissue samples and measurements and tagging their ears.
Researchers first began to track mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains in 2002, and since it's Hollywood, P-43 is believed to be the daughter of two famous parents: P-23, who was photographed on top of a deer on Mullholland Drive, and P-12, a male who somehow was able to cross the eight lanes of the 101 freeway in 2009. Catherine Garcia
The quadruplet clouded leopard cubs born one week ago at a zoo in Tacoma, Washington, are as adorable as they are rare.
The tiny cubs are so small they fit in the palm of a hand, tipping the scales at a whopping 10 to 12 ounces each. They were born to mother Chai Li and father Nah Fun at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, but once Chai Li demonstrated she would not care for them, experienced zookeepers stepped in, and the cubs are being fed and attended to around the clock. They won't be on display at the zoo until later this year, but viewers can bask in their cuteness by watching the video below. —Catherine Garcia
The Berlin Zoo's newest star is Rieke, an adorable baby orangutan who made her debut on Friday.
— SBS News (@SBSNews) February 7, 2015
Rieke was born Jan. 12, and has been taken care of by zookeepers after her mother, Djasinga, rejected her at birth. Rieke will soon make a big move to England, where she will live at the Monkey World Rescue Center; officials at the Berlin Zoo say she will thrive in this environment with skilled nurses and a playmate who also doesn't have a mother. Watch Rieke in action in the video below, and don't worry if you can't understand the German narration — Rieke's cuteness speaks for itself. —Catherine Garcia
Playing in the snow for the first time is a magical experience for humans and pandas alike.
Bao Bao, a giant panda at Washington D.C.'s Smithsonian National Zoo, celebrated her first snowfall on Tuesday. The 16-month-old rolled through the snow and played in the flurries with her mother, Mei Xiang.
Check out Bao Bao enjoying the snow in the zoo's video below. --Meghan DeMaria