Watercooler Stories

Cat gets bionic paws

SAINT HELIER, Jersey, June 26 (UPI) -- Oscar, a black cat from the island bailiwick of Jersey who lots his hind paws in a farm machinery accident, has become the first bionic feline, his owners say.


Oscar was injured when struck by a combine harvester while laying in a cornfield. Alerted by a passer-by, co-owner Mike Nolan rushed Oscar to a veterinarian, Peter Haworth, who stabilized the cat and then suggested the possibility of implants.

The ground-breaking operation was performed weeks later by Noel Fitzpatrick, a veterinary neuro-orthopedic surgeon in Surrey, England, the BBC reported Friday.

Oscar's custom-made paws are bioengineered to mimic the way deer antler bone grows through the skin, the British network said.

"Without this surgery he wouldn't be here, it's as simple as that," said Kate Allan, another of Oscar's owners.

Allan describes Oscar as a "very laid back," 2 1/2-year-old cat, which "made him an ideal patient for this surgery." But the fact it had never been done before caused a lot of concern for his owners.

"It was the uncertainty, nobody knew what the outcome would be because it had never been done before, we were in the hands of the surgeons," Allan said.


Oscar's still recovering in England but Nolan the reports they are getting are positive.

"As he is at the moment we're told he is running around, he has taken to his new feet really well," Nolan said. "He is jumping about, walking as a cat should, eating, sleeping -- it's phenomenal really."

6-year-old girl on 'no fly' list

WESTLAKE, Ohio, June 26 (UPI) -- The name of a 6-year-old Ohio girl wound up on the U.S. Homeland Security Department's "no fly" list, her parents say.

Alyssa Thomas of Westlake found herself in that unwanted company when the family took a trip from Cleveland to Minneapolis recently, Cleveland's WJW-TV reported Friday.

"We were, like, puzzled," said her father, Dr. Santhosh Thomas. "I'm like, well, she's kinda 6 years old and this is not something that should be typical.

"She may have threatened her sister, but I don't think that constitutes Homeland Security triggers."

Despite the snafu, the family was allowed to complete its trip and the Thomases later contacted Homeland Security to clear up the matter.

The TV station says Alyssa got a letter from the government, notifying her there really was no problem because the watch list only started applying to domestic flights this month. A Transportation Security Administration representative wouldn't comment on the specifics of her case but noted "the watch lists are an important layer of security to prevent individuals with known or suspected ties to terrorism from flying."


Dog rescued by soldier makes it to U.S.

CLINTON, Conn., June 25 (UPI) -- A dog rescued by a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan is adjusting to his new Connecticut home after the Army ordered the soldier to get rid of the mutt.

Brian Wakefield of Clinton said his brother, Adam, rescued 6-month-old mutt Mo in Afghanistan and raised $3,500 in less than 24 hours via a Web site, Operation SentMoHome, to get Mo through the quarantine and vaccination process required to ship him back to the United States, The Hartford (Conn.) Courant reported Friday.

Brian Wakefield said Mo arrived Tuesday at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.

"The Customs guy was giving me a hard time, He was wondering why I spent so much money on the dog," Wakefield said. "Coming from Afghanistan, he was wondering if I was a breeder or something like that. No, he's a mutt."

He said Mo and Adam, whose tour is scheduled to end in December, will be reunited in August when the soldier is scheduled for leave to attend his brother's wedding.

Carry-on rejected, woman injures officer

LOS ANGELES, June 25 (UPI) -- Police at Los Angeles International Airport said an officer received minor injuries while removing a woman who was angry about her carry-on bag.


Los Angeles World Airports Police Sgt. Belinda Nettles said the Frontier Airlines passenger, whose name was not released, was asked to check her carry-on bag into the plane's luggage compartment at about 3:30 p.m. Thursday because it was over the size limit, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.

"She became irate," Nettles said.

"When we arrived she was already sitting in her seat and refused to exit the aircraft," Nettles said. "Airport Police removed her and in doing so the officer suffered minor injuries."

Nettles said the woman was arrested on suspicion of battery on a peace officer. The officer was treated at a hospital for scratches to his neck and face.

The sergeant said police are rarely called for incidents involving oversized carry-on bags.

"They may fuss about it but people are usually very cooperative," Nettles said.

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