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This image released by NBC shows David Frei, left, and host John O'Hurley posing with a havanese dog at The National Dog Show in Philadelphia. The annual parade of pooches has become one of the highest-rated shows of Thanksgiving. (Bill McCay / NBC via AP)

Television traditions on Thanksgiving have usually involved the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and then hours of football, but in recent years, another has emerged: The National Dog Show.

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In this Monday, Nov. 11, 2019 photo, University of Washington School of Medicine researcher Daniel Promislow, the principal investigator of the Dog Aging Project grant, rubs the head of his elderly dog Frisbee at their home in Seattle. (AP Photo / Elaine Thompson)

Can old dogs teach us new tricks? Scientists are looking for 10,000 pets for the largest-ever study of aging in canines. They hope to shed light on human longevity too.

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The latest member of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office isn’t a human. She’s a dog. We meet the new Labrador retriever, Hatty.

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Catcade co-founder Chris Gutierrez shows off one of the rescue shelter’s free arcade games. (Evan Garcia / WTTW News)

In Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, there’s an animal shelter with a twist. We visit an arcade-themed cat rescue and lounge that’s helping foster feline friendships.

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In this Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019 photo, Cook County State’s Attorney’s first facility dog Hatty is sworn in by Cook County State’s Attorney Kimberly Foxx at the George N. Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood. (Camille Fine / Chicago Tribune via AP)

It was a real dog of a ceremony this week during a swearing-in at the state’s attorney’s office in Chicago.

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Joe Adkins of Wheaton, Illinois prepares to weigh a giant pumpkin he grew. At 1,258 pounds, the gourd took first place in a contest on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019. (Evan Garcia / WTTW News)

Inside a barn about 60 miles southwest of Chicago, six giant pumpkins are hoisted by forklift onto an industrial scale and weighed, one by one, so their growers can claim cash prizes for the heaviest – and bragging rights.

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Harms Woods (Courtesy North Branch Restoration Project)

The state has recognized a 169-acre section of Harms Woods, which is home to 400 different plant species, as an official state nature preserve, the highest level of protection for land in the state.

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Chicago Animal Care and Control staff prepare a dog for surgery inside the shelter’s renovated medical unit. (Courtesy Chicago Animal Care and Control)

Chicago Animal Care and Control says its renovated facility and new medical equipment will allow staff to evaluate animals more quickly and carry out surgical procedures that will ultimately lead to more adoptions.

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Sahar, Lincoln Park Zoo's 9-year-old male lion, died Sept. 27 while living temporarily at a zoo in Kansas. (Courtesy Lincoln Park Zoo)

Sahar, a 9-year-old African lion, arrived in Chicago in 2012 and became a favorite among staff and visitors. He died unexpectedly last month while living at a zoo in Kansas. 

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With winter right around the corner, home gardeners should harvest whatever fruit and vegetables that remain in their garden as soon as possible. Organic gardener Jeanne Nolan shares tips to get your garden ready for the cold season. 

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Lion populations have plummeted in Africa since 1950 as a result of habitat loss and poaching. (Courtesy Susan McConnell)

Colleen and Keith Begg founded an organization that helps maintain the wildlife in the Niassa National Reserve in Mozambique, one of the last remaining strongholds for lions in Africa. 

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A healthy monarch butterfly spotted in downtown Chicago in 2007. (Greg Robbins / Flickr)

This week, a number of dead monarch butterflies were found along the lakefront. The sight alarmed some members of the public who spotted the insects. But one local expert says it’s par for the course as the butterflies retreat south for the winter.

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A piping plover (Lorraine Minns / Audubon Photography Awards)

Hundreds of bird species in North America are at risk of extinction from climate change, according to an alarming new report from the National Audubon Society.

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Peak fall foliage is expected during the last week of October at the Garden of the Gods, located in the Shawnee National Forest in Herod, Illinois. (Courtesy of the Illinois Office of Tourism)

Autumn is upon us, and soon Illinois will be awash in fall foliage. Here’s your guide to when – and where – you can spot those red, orange, yellow and purple leaves during their peak throughout the Land of Lincoln.

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Since 2014, PAWS Chicago has operated a door-to-door outreach program aimed at reaching areas of the city with the highest rates of homeless pets. (Courtesy PAWS Chicago)

The no-kill animal shelter will expand services that have reached 13,000 pets and 6,600 families in Englewood since 2014 as it strives to be an “animal welfare anchor in a community where there are no other pet resources.”

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Siku, a male polar bear at Lincoln Park Zoo, pictured in 2016. (Julia Fuller / Lincoln Park Zoo)

Zoo staff had been working with Siku, a 9-year-old male polar bear, for about a year to train him on behaviors that helped staff collect his blood. 

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