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Arts and Entertainment

12 Really Great Los Angeles Animal Stories From 2014

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We had some good times with some great animals this year in L.A., and we'd like to remember the fuzzy and feathered friends who made us laugh, cry and melt. Consider this your adorable, end-of-year palate cleanser.

Tara the Hero CatIn May, a housecat became a hero when she rescued her young human from an angry stray dog. The event was caught by surveillance cameras, catapulting Tara to instant Internet fame. The video showed a little boy playing on a bike in his driveway when a dog from a neighboring house got loose, came up behind him and yanked him off the bike and onto the concrete. Tara leaped out of nowhere and attacked the dog, chasing him away as the boy's mother rushes to his aid.

The Dog That Grounded A Plane"About an hour into the flight, I started smelling this terrible smell," Steve McCall, a passenger on a flight from LAX to Philly said. The terrible smell came from a dog who couldn't stop pooping in the aisle. The plane had to make an emergency landing in Kansas City after the smell made passengers sick and the crew ran out of paper towels.

Special Agent MajorWhile Angelenos reeled in shock from the massive arson that incinerated two-thirds of a controversial development in downtown Los Angeles, one brave dog gave us hope. Major the accelerant sniffing dog arrived with members of the ATF and LAFD to investigate the cause of the blaze. Though the culprit is still unknown, investigators have ruled the fire to be an arson.

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Griffith Park's Majestic Mountain Lion ReturnsGriffith Park's resident mountain—dubbed P-22—got sick in March after ingesting rat poison. He was looking pretty 'scraggly' and 'scrawny,' according to Seth Riley, a researcher with the National Park Service. In June, he was spotted on the road to recovery, and in December, he was seen looking majestic again.

Pink The Pelican Makes A Full RecoveryIn April, a California Brown Pelican was mutilated by some monster of a human with a knife. Pink was not able to eat and was found thin and weak. International Bird Rescue stepped in to nurse Pink back to health, noting he had a "50-50" chance of making a full recovery. In June, Pink made that recovery. He was released back into the wild by L.A. City Councilman Joe Buscaino. He's been banded with a blue band that reads 'V70,' and the public is encouraged to report sightings of a happy and healthy Pink here.

A Pool Party For Dachshunds

Susanna Zachary of SysterLi, a company that sells handcrafted products for dogs, decided to have a pool party in the Hollywood Hills for Dachshund owners only. Why? Because weenie dogs swimming are cute. The pool party happened on October 19, and Zachary reported it was a success. She sent us the video above of the doggie swimming races.

The Cheetah Cub Whose Best Friend Was A PuppyYoung cheetah cubs can be abandoned by their mothers if they're the only one, as the mother instinctually believes that will not survive in the wild alone. This happened to little Ruxxa. The lonely cheetah cub was paired with Raina in June, a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy. When young cheetahs makes friends with puppies, they not only bond, but the cheetah takes cues about human beings from its domesticated pal. In September, Raina went to visit Ruxxa when he had an operation on an abnormality in his legs.

The Cats of DisneylandAn Instagram account began documenting the cats of Disneyland. The longstanding rumor was that Disney intentionally released the cats to combat rodents, but the true story is that the cats were already there. Walt Disney discovered them when they entered the building that is now the Sleeping Beauty Castle attraction. Since the cats were causing no harm to anyone and are natural hunters, it was decided they could stay. They are cared for, spayed and neutered by Disney. Their current population is about 200.

The Pop-Up Cat CafeWhile the proposed Cat Cafe is not yet open (nor the proposed Dog Cafe), we did get a small sample of what one would be like at the pop-up Catfe in Chinatown. The Catfe offered guests the option of cuddling and playing with several cat and kittens. For those guests who bonded with a kitty, they could apply to take their new best friend home.

A Cobra's Suburban Reign Of TerrorAn albino monocled cobra terrorized Thousand Oaks when it got loose and bit a whippet named Kiko. It is believed that the snake was from a nearby business that specializes in renting out exotic animals for photo shoots. When the snake was finally caught, they found that she was not actually an albino as she had blue eyes instead of red, but instead had a condition called leucism that resulted in reduced pigmentation. They also learned that she had her venom glands in tact and that Kiko was likely injured trying to get away from the snake, not by the snake. She's been moved to the San Diego Zoo and is reported to be healthy.

Tyga's Illegal TigerThe rapper Tyga thought it would only be fitting for him to have a pet tiger. He instagrammed himself with the cub many times, only to be tipped off that you can't actually have a pet tiger in Los Angeles. Once he realized what he'd done, he turned the tiger over to a private animal shelter. California Department of Fish and Wildlife later relocated the tiger to a permanent animal shelter. They said Tyga had taken good care of his exotic pet while they were together.

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So Many Baby Animals

We had a pair of Cheetah cubs at the San Diego Zoo, four cuddly monkeys at the Santa Ana zoo, three otters and a giraffe at the L.A. Zoo. L.A. Zoo also saw the birth of triplet Chacoan peccaries, and a Fennec Fox kit at the San Diego Zoo stole our heart.