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Oct. 9, 2012 at 6:00 AM
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Pet spa gets OK for pool enclosure

JERSEY CITY, N.J., Oct. 8 (UPI) -- A New Jersey planning board has given approval to the owner of a pet spa to build an enclosure so he can keep his dog pool open year-round.

Mike Stigliano, owner of Jersey City Unleashed, said the pool at his facility, which opened about two months ago, has been a hit with dogs and the Jersey City Planning Board voted to approve his request to build an enclosure so the canines can swim during the cold months, The Jersey Journal, Jersey City, reported Monday.

"It's just another avenue to exercise," Stigliano said. "And it's great exercise, too!"

Stigliano said permits must still be approved before construction can begin.

Aquarium sells paintings done by 2 otters

DULUTH, Minn., Oct. 8 (UPI) -- Paintings made by two artistic otters have been selling for about $35 each in a Minnesota aquarium's gift shop, said Cathie Dickey, who works there.

Dickey, an employee at the Great Lakes Aquarium in Duluth, said paintings created by otters Zhoosh and Anang have been selling "wonderfully" since otter keeper Tara Lieberg introduced the animals to paint about a year ago, the Duluth News Tribune reported Monday.

"There was a guy who came to the counter last week and said it was one of the best things he'd seen. It was something so different. He felt like he was bringing home part of the otters," Dickey said.

Lieberg said the otters were initially wary of the blobs of paint on printer paper she gave them, but they soon became expert painters when she switched them to card stock and children's paint.

"I've also tried canvases," she said. "They aren't a fan of canvases."

She said each painting takes about 15 minutes to complete and she then decides which works are worthy of framing and selling in the gift shop.

"I like how they look like they're watercolor paintings," Lieberg said.

Dickey said she can sell 10 to 20 of the paintings during weekends in the summer.

"You can't go to a museum and buy something like that," she said.

70 turn up to move mattresses for charity

BALTIMORE, Oct. 8 (UPI) -- The director of the Ronald McDonald House charity in Baltimore said a call for help brought in 70 "McMiracles" in the form of volunteers.

Sandy Pagnotti, executive director of the facility, said she sent on an email saying the charity needed "bodies," and she ended up with "70 men on the doorstep at 8 a.m.," The Baltimore Sun reported Monday.

"I call them McMiracles," Pagnotti said of the volunteers.

She said the men were put to work swapping out beds at the 36-room house, which provides shelter to families with children undergoing medical treatment at five area hospitals, for nearly 100 mattresses donated by Tempur-Pedics.

Pagnotti said firefighters spearheaded an assembly line for the project.

"Instead of a bucket brigade up the steps, we had a chain of mattresses," Pagnotti said.

She said the old mattresses will be donated to area homeless shelters.

Finns win wife-carrying contest in Maine

NEWRY, Maine, Oct. 8 (UPI) -- A couple from Finland edged out 49 other teams to claim a fourth title at the 2012 North American Wife Carrying Championship in Maine.

Participants in the event had to complete a course Saturday at the Sunday River ski area in Newry that included an uphill run, a log hurdle, a hairpin turn, a muddy pond trudge and a march through a sand pile while carrying their teammate -- or "wife" -- reported Monday.

Taisto Miettinen and Kristiina Haapanen of Helsinki, Finland, where wife-carrying competition originated, took their fourth title Saturday. A team of Maine residents Jesse Wall and Christine Arsenault came in second.

"Not falling in the water is the hardest part," Wall said.

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