Zoo Operates on Giraffe

* A giraffe at the National Zoo had surgery yesterday to remove a grapefruit-sized tumor on the top of his head. A few hours after the 45-minute operation, Jafari the giraffe was back on his feet.

The tumor was the first reported case of skin cancer in a giraffe. Nearly 30 people were involved in the delicate operation. However, the zoo's chief vet, Suzan Murray, could not say if doctors got all of the cancerous mass.

Jafari, one of two male Rothschild's giraffes at the zoo, will be 3 in December.

Making Cents

* Thomas Jefferson, face the front, please!

No, that's not a teacher talking. It's the U.S. Mint, which for the first time is issuing a coin showing a president facing forward.

The new Jefferson nickel, the fifth and final design in the Westward Journey Nickel Series, will be out early next year. The design, one of 147 submitted, is based on an 1800 painting of the third president by Rembrandt Peale.

(Impress your teacher: The first presidential image to appear on a widely used coin was that of Abraham Lincoln, on a 1909 penny.)

Go, Dog, Go

* Imagine you're a dog that likes car rides. (That's not hard -- what dog doesn't?) What kind of car would you design for yourself?

Japanese automakers have given this some thought. Honda's new WOW minivan can fit a dachshund or poodle in its glovebox. For bigger dogs, the backseat area has a pop-up crate, restraining belts, storage for toys and pooper scoopers . . . and a sunroof!

"We've created this vehicle from the point of view of a dog," a Honda designer said.

Parents will like that the floors can be taken out and washed. Kids will like that the tires have pawprints in the tread.

Now the bad news: This is just a test vehicle, for now. But if customers (and dogs) really like it, someday the WOW could be wowing you for real.

Correction: The outlines of a horse's hoof and a boy's handprint in KidsPost yesterday were not those of Todd DeGasperi and his horse, Ace. They were those of a child Todd's age and a Percheron draft horse.

This Honda concept vehicle has a special area for a canine passenger.