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For Those Military Families Who Cannot Make it Home, There is a Ray of Hope

Kelly Taylor

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The holidays are supposed to be a time on families and friends can come together, hang out, catch up, and make new memories that are going to last forever. Sadly, not everyone is able to do this around the holidays. Regardless of whether or not someone celebrates Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, it can be challenging for families who have members who are stationed overseas. Even though there are songs about families coming together for the holidays, many members of the military are not able to join in this tradition.

On the other hand, when the members of the military are stationed overseas, they can still celebrate with each other. Often, they come together, share presents, and put on a festival where they make gingerbread houses and share many of the traditions that make the holidays a great time of year. Even though many members of the military do you get to go home during the holidays, this is not possible for everyone. Fortunately, one of the biggest companies in the world has stepped up to help members of the military during this time of year.

Google, the company known for its iconic search engine, stepped up and delivered google nest hubs to military families so that they can stay in touch with the people who matter most in their lives during the holidays. One of the executives who works for Google stated that the members of the military worked tirelessly to make our country a safer place. Therefore, the company decided to step up and help them out. For those who may not know, google nest hubs are a great way for families and friends to stay in touch. These devices are seizing on some of the latest developments in the world of technology, including cloud computing, to increase the ability of people to stay connected over vast distances. Therefore, this technology is perfect for members of the military who would like to keep in touch with members of the family.

A partnership with established between Google and the USO, which is a nonprofit organization that has been put together to help members of the military. This partnership is great for ensuring family members can be connected with loved ones who are still stationed overseas. The organization offers Wi-Fi in 230 locations throughout the world. These Wi-Fi connections allow military members to stay together to the family using some fantastic inventions, including her one last. For military families, this development transforms each house into a helpful home that helps loved ones stay connected with just a touch of a button.

This is only the latest example of a company stepping up to help the members of our military who put their life on the line every day to help us stay safe. Fortunately, Google is not the only company that is stepping up to help members of the military. Everyone is able to step up and help members in the military feel like they are a little bit more at home during the holiday season. It is important for everyone to pause for a second and take a minute to thank members of the military for their service. Even the small gesture can mean a lot, particularly during the holidays.

It was nice to see Google stepping up to provide nest hubs to military families are in the holiday season. Every year, another company steps up to help those in need. It will be exciting to see what happens next year. Every member of our military deserves our thanks and appreciation.

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Handicapped Puppy Befriends Flightless Pigeon

Renee Yates

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In Rochester, NY, Sue Rogers runs a non-profit called the Mia Foundation. The rescue organization rescues and rehabilitates animals who have birth defects or deformities and tries to find them a loving home. About a year ago, a pigeon was found unable to move in the parking lot of a car dealership. The pigeon was huddled and cowering on the ground. When a local wildlife rescue was called, they said the bird had neurological damage that caused him not to be able to fly. They thought that euthanization would be the best option for him.

Sue was having none of that. She stepped in and took the bird, who she named Herman, under her wing, so to speak. She made space for him in her shelter and kept him close where she could keep an eye on him. He liked to sit on a furry dog pillow and watch her work.

A couple months ago, a tiny Chihuahua was brought to the Mia Foundation. He was an infant, maybe a few months old, when his South Carolina breeders sent him to Sue. He’s a teacup sized Chihuahua they named Little Lundy and he was born with spinal cord damage. Sue also determined that he was suffering from swimmers syndrome. Swimmers syndrome is a developmental deformity that causes the front and hind legs to be splayed out. This makes it almost impossible for Little Lundy to walk.

Although swimmers syndrome is thought to be untreatable, according to a few studies and an article in a veterinary journal, it can be treatable. With some physical therapy and at-home treatment, Little Lundy could live a long and happy life, which is exactly what Sue plans for him.

When Little Lundy arrived at the Mia Foundation he decided to get acquainted with his new surroundings and the other animals at the shelter. One particular encounter, created a friendship that has gone viral. Herman and Little Lundy, a puppy and a pigeon, are the unlikeliest of friends, but they have a lot in common. They both have trouble walking, or flying in Hermans case, and they were living in the same place. You could say, they were in the right place at the right time to become instant friends. 

In the six weeks they have been together, Herman and Little Lundy have become inseparable. They do everything together, which is a lot of sleeping and snuggling. Mostly, with Herman sitting on top of Little Lundy, which doesn’t bother him in the slightest. This friendship was so out of the ordinary that Sue had to document it. The viral sensation of the puppy and pigeon has brought attention to the Mia Foundation that was much needed. The rescue organization runs solely on donations to help cover the costs of taking care of the animals and for needed surgeries. So far, about $6000 was donated because of this unlikely friendship and over 100 adoption inquiries. Hopefully when they are adopted, they are able to stay together.  

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Yorkie Goes Missing for 14 Years and is Found 250 Miles Away

Shannon Jackson

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Have you ever had a dog or cat for a pet? Or any pet, for that matter? You love them and they love you back, unconditionally. How would you feel if your beloved pet disappeared one day? You’d probably feel heartbroken and begin to search for them everywhere. Maybe you’ll put up flyers, post on social media or in the local newspaper, or call the local animal shelter to see if anyone had found them. What would you do if they had been gone for years? Would you give up hope?

This is what happened to the Webster family. About 14 years ago in Houston, Texas, Aaron Webster surprised his wife with a puppy for her birthdy. They named the 5 lb. Yorkshire Terrier, Rami, and they instantly fell in love with his personality. He was a rambunctious little Yorkie, and one day while going out for his routine bathroom break, he somehow got out of the fenced in yard. Their first thought, and worst fear, was that a hawk grabbed him. They were devastated, but still had hope that he somehow got out and was just wandering the neighborhood. 

The Webster’s posted flyers and asked anyone they met if they saw little Rami. No one had. After a year of looking, they began to lose hope. They didn’t completely stop looking, but they began to think he was gone to them forever. 

Fast forward to January of 2020, when a resident of Fort Worth, Texas, noticed a stray dog on the side of the road. He looked like he had been through a lot. His hair was matted, some of it was even missing. He also had no teeth, some open wounds on his face, and he was blind. The resident called animal control who picked him up and brought him to McKenzie Smith at Saving Hope Animal Rescue. This is when the story finds its happy ending. At Saving Hope Animal Rescue, they take dogs who have been neglected and try to find them loving homes. What they soon realized with their newest rescue, was that he had come from a loving home. While scanning his microchip, they were able to locate his owners, the Websters in Houston, almost 250 miles away. 

When the three were reunited, it was one of the happiest moments of their lives. A dog they had thought gone to them forever, found them again. Rami, now 14 years old, is getting used to his new home. Aaron says that he is healthy and happy and getting used to his surroundings and new family, three human siblings and two furry ones. Rami was on his own for many years, and no one will know the adventures he had,  but he is now going to live the rest of his days without worry and with his family who has loved him his whole life. 

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Culture

Man’s Best Friend, Except When It’s Time for the Weather

Shannon Jackson

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Working from home these days comes with a number of new challenges and risks that most never expected to deal with in their careers. But when the computer camera or conference video is placed in one’s private accommodations, all sorts of issues can pop up that folks normally don’t deal with in the office setting. Everything from what kind of photos, art or prints one has in the background to their furniture in a personal room to everything else the home is shared with becomes potentially exposed. And in the case of a particular weatherman trying to provide his meteorologist work online, man’s best friend can be a notable interruption.

Paul Dellegato regularly works as meteorologist for Fox 13 based in Florida. However, like many others, Paul had to figure out in short notice how to relocate his work and his broadcast to his home to maintain social distance and health safety. While the access to his work networks and computer setups wasn’t too hard, the readjustment to a home office and presentation place for his work took a bit of additional thinking. He had to pick a place in the house that would be free of distractions, walk-in surprises, problematic backgrounds, and not be invasive to his own home as well. What Paul didn’t count on was that his own extended family might end up being the real disruption to Paul’s broadcast.

In the clip provided, Paul is working as usual on his life TV broadcast and covering the weather for the day and the next few days’ expectation. As he’s going through the details and the changes in high and low pressures as well as the temperature predictions, someone doesn’t want to let the weatherman continue. Paul’s golden retriever, Brody, has decided to be a gate crasher and literally jump up in Paul’s face and personal space. No matter how much Paul tries, his dog just keeps being persistent for his master’s attention. Chances are the dog is probably hungry for dinner and is making a point about it. Doing so, however, Paul’s dog is not only making a presence on the screen, the canine is goofing up the weather graphics on the nearby computer, making a ton of noise, and showing how useless it is for Paul to try to and stop the chaos. The audience loves it and Brody, and Paul’s dog became the new digital mascot for Fox 13.

The weatherman’s crisis resonates with all of us. We’re all going through a big disruption, trying to reconstruct our professional work lives from home all over the country. So, to find a bit of humor in Paul’s online dilemma with Brody provides a cathartic effect, helping us all find some humor and a bit of lightness in watching. Once you watch the show clip, you’ll understand why Paul’s situation went viral so fast.  

Things didn’t turn out bad for Paul. He earned big commendations for how patient he was able to stay under duress from Brody and the dog’s insistent interruptions of his weather show. And it was clear Paul loves his furry buddy. So, the feeling now is the heck with the weather maps. How Brody behaves on camera will indicate if tomorrow will be a good weather day or otherwise.  

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Xbox Tears Marriage Apart After Family Dog Runs Away

Shannon Jackson

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When welcoming a new member into your family, whether a dog or a child, both parents should discuss and agree upon how to teach their children. Families who aren’t on the same page are sure to endure much stress and many challenges. As a warning to others, a Facebook user recently shared the experience that tore her family apart. 

While pregnant with their second child, their son begged for a puppy. With the advent of a child approaching, she was concerned about adding more to the household, but her husband reasoned that it would teach their son responsibility. After many fights, she relented and they adopted a puppy, Scrupples.

As a busy nurse and caring partner, she trusted her husband to take care of their son and dog while she was gone. However, she was accosted with the obvious difference in parenting styles one day. 

Their son approached her husband after accidentally leaving the back door open, allowing Scrupples to run out of the house. Without taking his eyes off the Xbox he was playing, he told their son to look for Scrupples himself.

After five days of no luck finding Scrupples, the mother found her son weeping on the couch. He told her what happened to Scrupples and how his dad wouldn’t help find the dog. 

Recalling the many fights over not wanting to get a puppy, she stormed into the basement. He brushed off the situation, not concerned for either his son or the dog as he continued to play his Xbox. In a fit of rage from his abrasive and heartless response, she pulled the Xbox out of the wall and threw it into the TV screen. 

Walking out of the basement, she took their son outside to look for Scrupples. They posted signs up around town and knocked on doors to see if any of their neighbors had seen their dog. 

After a few days of searching, they came back home empty handed. The woman’s husband wasn’t home, his car gone in the driveway and his suitcase missing from their closet. There was no note and no indication as to where he had gone. 

Then, the phone rang. A woman talked to the mother and told her she had found Scrupples a few days ago, digging up the dirt in her garden, and had been taking care of the dog since. She thanked the woman repeatedly and rushed over to get the dog a few neighborhoods away. 

A few weeks later the woman shared an update on Facebook.

The father had not returned and she had not heard from him since he left. She had been struggling through her days, calling on family and friends to help take care of her family while she worked. However, with one hand holding her son and the other petting Scrupples, she knew she had all she needed right there and that she would make it through. 

Parenting is hard enough. When two people aren’t in agreement as how to share care and take care of a child or pet, life can get a whole lot tougher, but things always have a way of working themselves out.

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Culture

Jordan’s Black Cat Story

Shannon Jackson

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Black cats are evil! Do not let one cross your path!

Fortunately, 22-year-old Jordan ignores this silly and superstitious advice. Jordan, whose last name we’re withholding, has autism. As a result, she’s not very verbal…most of the time. But that’s where her black cats come into the story.

Gracie’s Tale

Jordan’s experience with black cats started with Gracie, a feline friend Jordan had when she was younger. While at Mychal’s Learning Place, a non-profit organization that supports those with learning disabilities, Jordan would draw pictures of black cats and call them Gracie.

That inspired the organization’s Culver City, California chapter to put Jordan in touch with the local Adopt and Shop.

Adopt and Shop is a pet rescue and adoption center, as well as a retail store for pet food and supplies. Jordan became a volunteer at Adopt and Shop, spending much of her time with cats-especially the black ones.

The Ideal Pet

Cats can be the ideal pet for many individuals with autism. Dogs tend to be loud and excitable, barking suddenly and moving noisily. That much volume can be a sensory overload to many on the spectrum. Cats, on the other hand, move quietly and are usually calmer than dogs. And a meow isn’t nearly as disruptive as loud barking or yapping.

Cats and other pets can play a major role in calming and comforting those with autism, helping them open up more emotionally and socially.

That’s been Jordan’s experience. Those working with her at Mychal’s Learning Place say that the young woman rarely talked except to possibly repeat the last thing she heard someone else say. But while working with the cats at Adopt and Shop, they say that she’s much more verbal. The animals seem to bring out Jordan’s communications skills.

Jordan loves all of the cats at Adopt and Shop. She cuddles with them, stroking their fur and talking with them for hours just as she would communicate with another person. But she can’t hide her special affection for black cats.

The Black Cat Curse

When people like Jordan go out of their way to show kindness to black cats, it helps offset the superstitions that negatively impact these animals even to this day. The fear and dislike of black cats might go back to the Middle Ages in Europe. Legends arose that these cats were actually witches in disguise. This belief even associated witches with black cats as recently as the Salem Witch Trials in America in the late 17th century.  

The color is also associated with death. Think of the Grim Reaper. In that regard, black cats were considered to be as unsettling as crows and ravens of the same shade. In time, many saw the animals as being bad luck charms. (Interestingly, Japanese lore said that ownership of a black cat could bring a young woman a mate, and British sailors of old considered black cats to bring good luck.)  

While most people today don’t take the black cat curse seriously, they tend to show up, unwanted, more frequently at some animal shelters. Some rescues are hesitant to release the animals for adoption around Halloween because of stories, whether true or not, of people who want to sacrifice black cats on this “demonic” holiday.

The Culver City Adopt and Shop also sees its share of black cats rescued as strays or put up for adoption. That’s why they so appreciate the volunteer involvement of someone who goes out of their way to offer love and comfort to this misunderstood segment of the feline population.  

So kudos to Jordan for her compassion and love for all cats-but the blacker the better.     

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