Katie’s Pet Depot in La Verne, Calif., is one of the few grooming salons in the country for rats, according to an October Associated Press report. A special $10 treatment includes lustrous-coat shampooing, claw-clipping and flea and mite treatment, and employee Karri Garrison said the claw-clipping is the hardest: “They have very small feet.”
THOSE AMAZING KIDS
Ms. Sierra Stiles, age 8, was credited with the first bear kill in Maryland in the limited October hunting season, downing a 211-pounder from 50 yards away with her .243-caliber rifle. (She had won one of the lottery-awarded permits and then aced the safety test.) And according to a Seattle Post-Intelligencer profile in January, Aidan Gold, age 8, of Bothell, Wash., recently climbed a 20,300-foot peak on Mount Everest in the Himalayas with his dad, adding to his previous climbs in the Cascades and the Alps. Aidan said the last part of the Everest climb (a 45-degree stretch of rock and ice) was “the (hardest) 3,000 feet I’ve ever done.”
OPPORTUNITIES IN TOILET PAPER
Rev. Rick Oliver of the First Church of God in Pendleton, Ore., decided last fall that the church’s new fund-raising campaign would involve sales of toilet paper, specifically the upscale brand Angel Soft. And the Portuguese paper producer Renova introduced black toilet paper in France last fall (and expect to introduce it in the U.S. soon). A Renova statement called the tissue “elegant, rebellious, alternative and eternally fashionable.”
ANIMALS WITH ISSUES
China’s Xinhua news agency reported in October that Ai Ai, the veteran chimp at the safari park in Shaanxi province, who is 27 years old and who started smoking cigarette butts at age 11 when her first mate died, has finally kicked her nicotine habit. Zoo officials attributed her success to distractions such as exercise, music (via a Walkman “borrowed” from a keeper), and better food, such as fried dishes and dumplings.
LEAST COMPETENT CRIMINALS
Selina Valdez, 28, was arrested in January and her suspected partner, Daniel Marquez, 41, was sought by police, on counterfeiting charges in Pueblo, Colo., after police walked into their foul-smelling home. No hoarded animals were present, but according to police, about a week before the arrest, officers had called on the couple, which had then hurriedly flushed the bogus bills down the toilet. After questioning them, police left, but the toilet clogged, and since then, the couple have been relieving themselves into plastic bags that police found strewn about the home.
IT’S THE CHEESE
Jessica Sandy Booth, 18, was arrested in December in Memphis, Tenn., and charged with hiring a hit man to help her kill four people so she could steal a brick of what turned out to be queso fresco cheese. According to police, Booth had seen the large block of crumbly, white, Mexican-cuisine cheese on a table at an acquaintance’s home, thought it was a big pile of cocaine, and devised an elaborate plot to return later, steal it, and kill anyone in the house old enough to testify against her. MTW