Making a marriage proposal can be a risky step. Doing it in front of thousands of people is really taking a big chance that could go sideways. As it turned out, that’s exactly what a runner’s guide did at the 2021 Tokyo Paralympics, giving his partner the biggest award of her life.
Keula Nidreia has been a top notch runner most of her life. She’s also visually impaired. Competing in the 200-meter women’s event has been a top goal of hers, especially in reaching the ParaOlympics representing her country, Cape Verde. Ideally, what she wanted to win by preparing for, practicing and developing her strategy for the big race, was to win the gold metal. She was not expecting to win something else instead.
Being visually impaired, Keula has long needed a guide to help her during the training, development, sporting events and similar. The guide’s role is to help make up for the contestant’s limitations during the unfamiliar portions of an event, helping the athlete find and learn exactly where things are to be able to compete effectively as well as run on the track. Manuel Antonio Vaz da Vega has been Keula’s guide for years, and he has been with her during most of the runner’s primary athletic development. However, while everyone’s focus on the race has been Keula’s ability to compete, no one was expecting what Manuel had up his sleeve.
When Keula finished her race, however, a Paralympics gold medal was not in the cards. She finished in the hardest spot possible, fourth. However, as the deflation of the moment battled with Keula catching her breath and realizing the results, Manuel walked up to her with a close crowd nearby and the entire audience watching. Then, he knelt down on one knee, and he asked Keula to marry him, holding her hand with a ring box. Within a fraction of a second, Keula’s disappointment in the race disappeared as she realized she had won something much, much bigger in life. Crying sudden tears, Keula embraced Manuel and said yes. They hugged and the entire stadium applauded along with the other athletes present.
Life imitated life. During the race and training all those years, Keula had been tied by tether to Manuel to know how to race and where to be on the track. Now she would be tied in marriage to him. They switched from the track of the Paralympics to the track of life as many in the audience noted. The Paralympics soon tweeted similar in the official coverage of the race and related events. All the other racers immediately reacted as their guides explained what had just occurred with Keula. No surprise, she became the biggest winner of the 200-meter event.
The Library Cat of Port Austin
Library regulars expect to see books, computers, magazines, posters, notices, bulletin boards and even seminars at the local library building or community center adjacent to such facilities. However, they typically don’t expect to see a dedicated house cat and standard equipment. However, for Port Austin, a feline accompaniment is exactly what’s on order for book lovers and library fans in the local town.
Named Booker, which oddly seems to be similar to books, the orange feline wasn’t a planned acquisition for the library. Instead, the cat decided to make the place home all on its own. It helped that once the cat became a regular, the patrons and staff made a point of taking care of the cat as well. Good things happen when you’re regularly fed at the same location daily.
This September 2022 will be a solid three years since the cat showed up, and Booker isn’t making any bones about leaving. Mary Jaworski was the original discoverer of Booker. She originally found the cat had somehow snuck into her garage at home, half-blind, and unable to eat on its own. Jaworski tried to find someone to take in the cat, but nobody was volunteering or available. As the library director for Port Austin, Jaworski ended up watching and caring for the orange feline both at home and at work. It helped that the library board was also fond of cats as well. So, as it turned out, Booker was charmed; the cat not only had a home to roam around, it had multiple fans to take care of the cat as well throughout the day.
As it turned out, the patrons liked the idea of a home cat lounging around and roaming the Port Austin library on a regular basis. It made the library homey and comfortable. That helped Booker’s transition inside the library as well, after the cat was up to date on all his shots and safe around all of the patrons, including kids.
Booker wasn’t lacking anything inside the library, and there was no worry he was going to start exercising his claws on the book inventory. Instead, the cat has its own cat tree, carpet for claws, appropriate amenities for personal business, and plenty of cat toys and areas to escape when it gets busy and the cat just wants to be left alone. Booker actually became so popular, he started to develop a collection of donated toys and cat food from the locals. And if he happened to be out of sight longer than normal, everybody would start asking where he was and if everything was alright with the animal.
Celebrity status probably wasn’t in the cat’s original plans, but Booker seems to have adapted quite fine to all the attention he gets on a regular basis. The kids play with the cat when he wants activity, and, in turn, Booker has been an attraction to bring more kids to the facility and into reading in general. And Booker is quite good at hamming it up for the crowd. He loves the petting, getting held, sitting next to patrons on the furniture and is not easily spooked by the human activity going on daily. In fact, Booker is probably one of the best behaved cats most people will meet.
Finally, Jaworski notes, Booker has a habit of wanting to sound out any new arrivals he hasn’t seen or smelled before. If there are bags or belongings, he’s all over the stuff before the patron realizes what’s going on. That said, Booker isn’t about to have a team under his leadership. One cat seems to be more than enough for the library and its customers for now. Ironically, Jaworski herself is allergic to cats, but she tolerates Booker. Ultimately, the cat earns his keep attracting more than the normal flow of patrons to the Port Austin library, easily justifying the operations and helping the library grow.
Heartfelt letters from Virginia students help Locate Homes for Pups
Nothing moves the heart as quickly as when a child makes a genuine plea. This is even more so if the child’s plea is related to something that could impact lives. That’s exactly what happened when several second graders realized that some unwanted pups were in desperate need of homes. The genuine innocent pleas for help reached many homes and sparked quick responses.
Shelter animals in need of a new home are being promoted by a team of primary school kids.
In Richmond, Virginia, students in second grade at St. Michael’s Episcopal School have produced artwork as well as accompanying letters written from the viewpoints of cats and dogs to possible “parents.”
“Hello! Potato Chip is my name. One such anecdote began, “I’m a Pitbull!” If you don’t mind my kissing you a million times a day, I promise not to injure you.” Slurp! Animal shelters are great, but I’d rather live with you!!
Christie Peters, the Richmond Animal Care & Control (RACC), Director, told the media that she and her son’s teacher, Kensey Jones, collaborated on the initiative.
Peters said that Jones was the “inspiration” behind the lovely letters.
According to Peters, “the students were concentrating on persuasive writing and they produced pieces as though they were advocating in favor of the shelter dog that is seeking to get adopted”. So, “That’s the coolest idea… we should do it.” “I said,”
Students at St. Michael’s were given a cat or dog from RACC, according to a school spokesman.
As a result, they were “briefed” on the animals’ history and disposition.
To encourage people to adopt an animal, these stories and images were tacked on the exterior of kennels and placed in the hands of passersby.
Jones, who is also a volunteer at the RACC, noted in a press release that this classroom project partnership allows her to combine her two greatest passions: children’s reading and aiding animals in need.”
As one teacher put it, “I am very proud of my pupils for rising to the challenge and writing excellent persuasive essays from the perspective of a RACC dog.”
“All dogs, particularly Snow [the puppy ambassador], deserve a happy home.” Danielle Petroski, a second-grader at St. Michael’s Catholic School, expressed her joy at being able to help rescued animals find new homes.
According to Peters, there were around 24 stories concerning dogs and one about a cat.
Students were instructed by Peters and Jones to focus on RACC’s oldest residents, as well as those who had lived there the longest, as well as creatures in need of “a little additional attention.”
Once their narrative was written and then read, eight animals were swiftly adopted, according to Jones.
This is such an innovative way of bringing exposure to this school, and I hope it’s something other shelters throughout the nation do to promote their shelter animals, Jones added.
Big Retirement for an Agriculture Control Dog
Four years might seem like a short period of time, but for a dog it can be a lifetime of service. Service dogs don’t stop; they are on 24/7 and in their short amount of time on Earth they are able to do a lot of amazing things. So, when it came time for Podder to retire, his career was due for some heavy acknowledgement before his last day of service.
Animals Partnering With Humans to Protect Communities
Podder worked as a detector dog for the San Diego County Agriculture, Weights & Measurements Department. In that role, his canine nose was a key instrument in searching for and finding problems, particularly with products or materials that needed to be stopped before they entered California, or those that represented a risk that could damage a market in the state. For example, an illegal chicken-fighting risk in the 2000s just about wiped out the chicken industry in California and the west when an outbreak of Newcastle Disease started spreading stateside. Animals like Podder work as a frontline defense in stopping such risks.
Get Ready to Party
The retirement party for Podder was a big affair, even if it seemed small in human terms. Congregating at the Waterfront, San Diego County employees and management along with a canine partner in the same program, Venus, attended to honor Podder’s service, acknowledge the important work of the dog and give him a big send off in dog terms. Not to mention, Podder got to munch on a ton of dog treats as well as a thank you, which probably meant more to him than all the speeches and clapping. Forgetting the whole affair by that evening, Podder was probably wondering where he could get more of the same treats that night.
Shifting to Easier Pastures
Podder received a specific service award for his four years of dedicated work for the County, and there was also a certificate for the dog’s program manager as well. As a mix between a beagle and a Labrador breed, Podder had an excellent mix for the work he was applied to, stopping agricultural goods from skipping quarantine controls as well as blocking goods that would have otherwise created serious problems for California agriculture.
At age six now, Podder is in his official senior phase per work requirements, and he has developed a medical condition as well that hampers his abilities. So, the dog will spend the rest of his days just being a normal canine in an adopted home. However, everyone suspects Podder will have his nose in every grocery bag that comes in the house door, including anything snuck in a backpack. So, those characters looking to sneak a Twinkie package or two to skip dinner probably need to think twice. Podder, as far as the dog is concerned, will probably still be on patrol regardless of his official send-off ceremony.
The Letters for the ‘The Best Dog’ Ever
People love their pets and practically support an entire industry of manufacturers who produce everything from specialized pet food to holiday sweaters for people to buy. However, it’s not often one comes across a person who is so infatuated with their dog that they want the whole world to know about it. That person is Roman Duncan.
The story starts with a puppy named Maggie. Picked up by the North shore Animal League American, or NSALA, the young dog was put up for foster care because it needed time before it could reach the right age for adoption. In the meantime, the hope was that a foster family would help the young dog adjust and grow, specifically becoming used to being around people at a young age to make it more adoptable. Maggie was a pit bull mix, so proper rearing would make a huge difference quickly in her adoptability. As it turned out, Roman Duncan’s family won the opportunity to be that foster family for Maggie.
A Puppy That Was Never Meant To Be Permanent
Roman was not under a mistaken impression that eventually the dog would be his; the boy always knew from day one that Maggie would only stay with them for a short while and then be adopted out. However, that didn’t stop him from bonding with the puppy very quickly. And, ultimately, Maggie did end up being relocated to the organization’s shelter in Port Washington to improve her odds of being adopted.
Roman figured, probably correctly, that he was not going to see Maggie again once she shipped off. So, in a creative way of helping himself deal with his feelings of loss for the puppy, the boy decided he was going to write a series of letters to Maggie’s new family to tell them how wonderful the dog was. He packed the letters full of compliments for Maggie as well as instructions for the new family on how to get the best behavior from the dog. Cuddles and hugs were in big abundance in Roman’s details.
A Surprise in the Paperwork
Finally, the day came for Maggie to go to her new shelter and prepare for her eventual adoption. Roman found the opportunity to tuck his letters into Maggie’s regular paperwork so it would be missed. The letters were found as the rescue program personnel were processing the dog and logging it into their New York records, Maggie’s new destination. Roman’s details about Maggie’s manners, personality and just being gosh darn cute melted everyone’s hearts who read them. In fact, the NSALA team was so inspired by Roman’s letters, they decided to use them to help market other foster puppies and convince families to help the program grow with additional foster homes.
Near Centurion Delivers Mail Attired in Official Royal Mail Uniform at His Care Home
Royal Mail has outfitted a 98-year-old man, who’s resident at a care home, with a postman’s uniform so that he can look the part when delivering mail to his facility. The almost-centurion is now an unofficial employee among the 158,592 persons employed by the Royal Mail.
As soon as Ray Stanley moved into the 68-resident Upton Bay Care Home situated in Poole, he tasked himself with delivering the mail to all of the residences. It was a challenging duty, given that the care facility has three levels and received over a hundred letters in a single week over the Christmas season. Of course, this is no mean fete for even someone younger, but it’s a task that the elderly “postman” finds fulfilling.
The care facility contemplated purchasing a uniform for Mr. Stanley in recognition of his dedication, but sought to locate for him an outfit with more authenticity. In response to a request from the Delivery Depot on Hill Street in Poole, the Royal Mail sent an embroidered shirt, cap, and signature red bag to Mr. Stanley so he could wear them while making his rounds.
Melvin Sohorye, the executive director of Upton Bay Care Home, said, “We are appreciative of Royal Mail Poole’s present to Ray. The fulfillment of a resident’s specific wish is wearing the uniform. Ray ensures the completion of his daily delivery stretch before 2 pm, aided by Karen Grant Court who is the facility’s Activity Lead. This allows me to meet other folks that I wouldn’t otherwise get to see daily,” he remarked.
It was in 1516 that the Royal Mail Group plc was first created in 1516 as a government bureau and is now a British international courier and postal and courier business. Parcelforce Worldwide(only parcels), as well as Royal Mail (focused on parcels and letters), are operated by Royal Mail Group Limited, a division of the business (parcels). International logistics company GLS Group is a Royal Mail Group wholly-owned subsidiary. The band briefly went by the moniker Consignia at the start of the 21st century.
Services include mail collecting and delivery in the UK. Post or parcel boxes are used to deposit letters and parcels, or they are picked up by businesses and taken to Royal Mail sorting offices in bulk. Royal Mail is responsible for the country’s iconic red pillar boxes, which were first installed in the UK in 1852 and feature a variety of royal initials. Each day, excluding bank holidays and Sundays, deliveries occur at the same rate to all UK destinations. In most cases, Royal Mail strives to deliver first-class mail the following business day across the country.
For the vast majority of its existence, the Royal Mail was a corporation that was public or a department of government, providing a public service. Once the 2011 Postal Services Act was passed, the London Stock Exchange began listing the larger portion of Royal Mail’s shares in 2013. After a year short of five centuries under state control, in 2015 the United Kingdom sold its last 30 percent holding in Royal Mail. The FTSE 100 Index has this stock included.
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