bockers

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In vitro fertilization (IVF) has been used successfully in many animals — including, notably, humans — for decades. But despite numerous attempts, scientists had never been able to figure out IVF for dogs. 

This year, for the first time, seven puppies (five beagles and two “bockers,” or beagle-cocker spaniel mixes) were born through IVF. That’s cool. And cute. And also very exciting for the people trying to save other canine species that are in decline because of habitat destrcution:

ISLAND FOX, Urocyon littoralis (Southern California)
~4000 left
They live on only six of the eight Channel Islands (less than 400 square miles).

ETHIOPIAN WOLF, Canis simensis (Ethiopian Highlands)
360 - 440 adults left
The Ethiopian wolf sometimes team up with monkeys to hunt alpine rodents.

AFRICAN WILD DOGLycaon pictus (from Algeria to South Africa)
~5,000 left
They hunt antelope by chasing them to exhaustion. 

RED WOLF, Canis Rufus (North Carolina)
~150 left

Their population once fell to just 14 individuals.

MANED WOLFChrysocyon brachyurus (central South America)
~17,000 left
Maned wolves need wide uninterrupted territory to survive.

DHOLECuon alpinus (China, India, Southeast Asia)
4,500-10,500 left
These pack hunters use “whistles” to communicate with one another while hunting much larger prey. 

DARWIN’S FOXLycalopex fulvipes (Chile)
less than 250 left
So-called because Darwin collected a specimen in 1834. 200 of the remaining population live on on Chiloé Island.

MEXICAN GRAY WOLFCanis lupus baileyi (Mexico, the southeastern US)
~360 left
All the Mexican gray wolves alive today are all descendants of five wolves captured in 1973.

Currently, efforts to increase these species rely on natural breeding programs. The Smithsonian’s maned wolf breeding program ships males from South America to their facility in Front Royal, Virginia. It would be great if they could just ship sperm. And using samples collected from multiple individuals could greatly increase the genetic diversity of a population, instead of relying on a few captive mating pairs. Exciting!

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Seven tussling puppies could bring a smile to anyone’s face. But one litter has a team of scientists beaming more than usual.

The puppies — five beagles and two “bockers,” or beagle-cocker spaniel mixes — are the first ever born through in vitro fertilization.

IVF has been used successfully in other animals — including, notably, humans — for decades. But despite numerous attempts, scientists had never succeeded in using IVF in dogs.

But this year, researchers at Cornell transferred 19 embryos into a female host dog. In July, after a scheduled cesarean section, they welcomed seven new puppies into the world.

7 Bundles Of Scientific Joy: ‘Test Tube Puppies’ Prove IVF Can Work In Dogs

Photos: Mike Carroll/Cornell University and Jeffrey MacMillan/Cornell University

Okay, but just imagine that Luke has to leave to go on tour, so you wake before him and make him breakfast and don’t tell him. Then you go back to your shared bedroom to snuggle in bed with him, just trying to make these last two and a half hours count. You don’t wanna wake him, though, because he needs his beauty sleep, so instead you just look at him while he’s sleeping and take in all of his features- the way his lips are almost pursed in his state of sleep and the way his hair is all over the place and not maintained in its usual quiff and how he’s only wearing boxers because it’s too hot to wear anything else so you just look at his pale stomach and bask in all of his sleepiness. Then you accidentally say “I love you” out loud and it wakes him up and in his groggy morning voice he tells you that he loves you too and then envelopes you in his strong arms and kisses your forehead and lets you snuggle against him. You stay like that for a little over five minutes and then tell him that he has to get ready to go, so he groans as you get up and leave him, because he doesn’t wanna leave you (and he doesn’t wanna wake up) and then he tells you that he won’t get out of my bed and he pouts and crosses his arms, so you just giggle and pry his arms apart and grab his hands to pull him up. He’s too big, so you tell him that you guys can make out later if he just gets off his lazy butt and then he immediately gets up. And although you two have been together for almost three years, he’s still super nervous around you and gets butterflies and even though he knows that you won’t judge him, he still gets insecure about his stomach (it isn’t like you haven’t seen his adorable little tummy before or anything, though), so he puts his shirt on and it almost breaks your heart, but then he opens the door to leave your room and you discover that he isn’t putting on any pants and that he doesn’t have his shirt all the way buttoned up and you smile, because you know that that means that he’s becoming more comfortable with you. He goes into the kitchen and instantly turns around with an excited expression on his face and hugs you, and then kisses the top of your head and you laugh at his sudden excitement which makes him chuckle and when you ask him why he’s excited he tells you that he can smell the food you made. With a straight face, though, you look him in the eyes and say, “I’m sorry, babe, but I didn’t make you any food; I woke earlier and was hungry, so I made my own food” and then you fake sympathy and his eyes instantly droop, but he tells you that it’s okay and that he can just grab some cereal (because you both know darn well that he can’t cook for the life of him). Then as he starts walking toward the cabinet, you start giggling uncontrollably and he looks at you with an adorable, confused expression and then you grab the plate of food out of the microwave, where you put it so that it might keep a wee bit of its heat, and you set the plate down at the table and grab a fork and knife to put on the plate, and all the while Luke is just staring at you dumbfounded. And then a smirk plays on his face, but you barely register it, and then he tells you that he doesn’t wanna eat it because he doesn’t know if he can trust you because you just lied to him, so you just shrug, sit down in the chair that he was supposed to sit at, and start digging in, then with a mouthful you say, “I guess I’ll just have to finish it for you then” and he laughs slightly and pulls you up and grabs you by the waist and starts to kiss you before you push him away and say, “No making out until you finish the food I made you. Got it?” He pouts but that pout quickly turns into a smile when he takes a seat in the chair that you were just sitting at and starts devouring the toast. With his hair all messy and his sideburns showing and his shirt not buttoned up all the way and the enjoyment he has because of the food… It makes you happy, so you take a picture right after you sit down. Then you put your small hand over his huge hand and start playing with his ring, teasing him for falling asleep with it on, along with his bracelet. And then when he’s done eating, he grabs a napkin, wipes his mouth, and actually cleans his dishes for once. Then he looks over at you and you’re confused until he walks over to you and starts kissing you and ends up pushing you against the fridge and yet again, you push him away. He says, “You’re a clock-bocker, you know that, right?” and then you burst laughing, then you control yourself and say, “First of all, it’s a *cock-blocker- you must be really tired. And second of all, you have less than two hours until you have to leave. You have to pack everything and get ready.” He gives you his best puppy dog eyes and a wee little pout and when you still won’t give in (it takes all of your willpower not to), he simply states that “packing can wait. Right now, I need you” and then he starts kissing you again, picks you up from under your legs, squeezes your bum, and then walks to your bedroom, all whilst holding you, and then you two break apart as he sets you on the bed as delicately as he can, and then he goes back to making out with you.