Each week, we bring you the top 5 amazing, ridiculous or just plain awesome pet and animal stories from around the web. We call them, the Furry Five:

5. The Latest Art Trend? Dog Paintings

You can throw that Rothko in the ashcan, turns out the art market is hot for dogs these days. Sadly, that velvet painting of dogs playing poker is still probably worthless, but at the Westminster Dog Show’s annual “dogs only” art show, sales records we’re broken when Henry Trood’s “Hounds in Kennel” sold for $212,500. There are galleries and auctions devoted exclusively to canine-inspired art. There’s even a museum.

So which doggie breed sells best? Art Art auctioneer Alan Fausel tells the Seattle Times, “ Today, it’s Labrador and golden retrievers. Historically, the Cavalier King Charles spaniel is the most popular dog ever painted.”


4. Newt Gingrich Wants Your Pet to Vote for Him

Trying to distinguish himself from Mitt “I put my dog on the roof of my car” Romney, Republican presidential hopeful and historical-fantasy author Newt Gingrich has touted his pet-loving bona fides on the campaign trail. Gingrich told the Chicago Tribune, “When I was speaker, we changed the rules to allow people in public housing to have a pet. For a long time, there was a bias against that. People live longer, they’re happier (with a pet), and live much more satisfactory lives.” Among his other accomplishments? “I helped to save the tiger when I was speaker”, Gingrich claims.

Why haven’t you heard about this sooner? Perhaps he did it while Al Gore was off inventing the Internet.


3. This Pooping Hippo Is Disgusting

No seriously. It’s disgusting.

2. Bad News: Bears are Now Using Tools

Stephen Colbert should probably pack it in now. As if bears weren’t terrifying enough already, they’ve now learned hot to use tools, according to a new scientific study from esteemed scientific journal Animal Cognition. This is not a joke. Scientists observed the bears using rocks to rub their fur and concluded that “the bear exhibited considerable motor skills when manipulating the rocks, which clearly shows that these animals possess the advanced motor learning necessary for tool-use.”

Translation: Bears with machine guns.

1.  Hank the Cat Beating Tim Kaine in Virginia Senate Race

Despite a thin (read: nonexistent) political resume, ineligibility and a hairball problem, Virginia senatorial candidate and beloved pet, Hank the Cat is beating his opponent Tim Kaine in at least one arena: Facebook likes. With a Twitter feed, campaign website and commercials,   Hank has received national attention from The Washington Post and now, this blog.

We’re tempted to make some comment about the sad state of affairs of American politics, but if you really think about it, wouldn’t you rather have a cat than a politician in Congress, too? Yeah, we thought so.

What’s your favorite story of the week? What did we miss?  Let us know in the comments!

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