There are lots of different ways to grow up; however, there is a theory that those who grow up more in touch with nature are more likely to be happy as adults. While the reasoning behind this hypothesis was unclear at first, it is now obvious that being close to nature is better for the soul. The night sky is darker, making it easier for people to sleep. The air is cleaner since there isn’t as much pollution out in the green areas. Finally, there is something that is claiming about watching the harmony of nature at work. Even though some people might be a bit hesitant to move this far away from civilization, there is now research showing that this kind of environment simply makes people happier.
Of course, people are always going to have their own personal preferences but the results of a recently published research paper are still intriguing. In a research paper that was completed in Denmark, a team of professionals followed close to 1 million people over the course of their childhoods. These were all children that were matched with appropriate controls for the completion of this study. The results of the study showed that the farther away from green children were, the more likely they were to develop a mental illness. Specifically, children who grow up exposed to the lowest levels of green were more than 50 percent more likely to develop mental health issues later in their life. This information was provided by databases kept by the Danish government.
To complete the study, researchers took a look at satellite images of the various parts of Denmark. They used these images to figure out how much green was located around the areas in which these children grew up. Green was used to indicate how much nature was nearby. Specifically, the participants did not have to grow up near a forest to be exposed to a ton of green and be free from mental illness. Simply being close to public parks and green spaces, which might include forests, would be enough.
One interesting finding was that people who were located in a higher socioeconomic class, despite living closer to the city, were still exposed to plenty of parks. This means that they have the ability to protect their children from being exposed to a risk factor of mental health issues, despite living in the city. It should come as no surprise that those who have access to more resources are less likely to develop mental health issues.
On the other hand, even controlling for this important factor, the researchers still showed that more green means a healthier mind and a happier life. The greater the percentage of someone’s childhood spent near green spaces, the less likely they are to develop mental health issues as an adult. The researchers suggest that access to green spaces should be increased to allow people to spend more time near nature.
The professionals also say that more research is needed. Even though they found a strong correlation in the study, they also say that correlation does not necessarily increase causation. The results are still strong. People should make every effort to spend more time outdoors near green spaces. The air is cleaner. The mood is calmer. It is healthier for the mind. With these factors considered, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that research is now showing that people need to spend more time disconnected from their devices communing with nature. Without a doubt, more parks are needed.
Too Shallow for Swimming With Sharks
University of Florida student Stefani Luke loved the ocean. She lived to be on the water. She was given a surfboard when she was in high school, but growing up in Ft. Lauderdale didn’t offer her much opportunity to ride any exciting waves. Going to college in Gainesville, Florida would provide her with a chance to take weekend trips to the popular beach town, St. Augustine to check out some waves.
One stormy Tuesday, Stefani and some friends heard the news about coastal swells reaching up to five feet. They loaded up their boards and began a caravan. There were 11 kids but only 8 surfboards. She was excited to finally have the chance to use her board on some real waves, but she was also very aware of sharks. She was a biology major, recently working as an intern at the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Most of her work there was done in a lab or in area rivers. The biggest risk at her job had been alligators.
Stefani’s love of the ocean and interest in fisheries compelled her to stay abreast of shark activity along the east coast. She knew that in 2019, reports of shark attacks, either provoked or unprovoked, reached nearly 150.
The kids arrived at the beach, ready for some refreshing water and salty air. Today was a day to enjoy a day out of school. They unloaded the boards from their roof racks. Stefani waxed her beloved board alongside her good friends. Since there were more kids there than boards, Stefani offered her board up to a friend to try first. She figured she’d just do a little body surfing to warm up her muscles before fully engaging on her board.
The waves were slightly disappointing. The stories they’d heard about giant waves were exaggerated, topping out at maybe three feet. She swam into the surf and waited. She thought she was a good distance from the surfers with boards. The water was a little colder than expected, and she hadn’t brought her wet suit. She swam parallel to the shore for a bit, to warm up. She ended up swimming close to her friend who’d borrowed her board. She waited in the line up, just beyond the breaking point of the waves. She was ready to body surf and catch some waves.
The waves were coming in sets of four. She took the first in a set. It picked her up and she swam with it. As she glided in toward the shore she saw the dark shadow of what she knew was a shark. Everyone knows that you don’t panic when you see a shark. You don’t thrash around in the water. You don’t show signs of distress that signal to a shark that you’re easy prey. She forgot all that. All Stefani could think was “I don’t want to get eaten by a shark today!” She swam for her life. She swam fast, and probably a little crazy.
The realization of her frenzy made her calm down slightly. She dropped the panicky swimming. She stopped swimming to realize that she was only in about a foot of water! She felt very silly, probably looking like a fool to anyone who might’ve seen this spectacle.
She stood in the water to see her friend that had borrowed her board. Her friend asked with excitement, “Did you see that shark?!” Stefani acknowledged that she had in fact seen it. Her friend offered her the board back. Stefani declined, “No thanks. I like my legs. I like walking”. It was at that moment that Stefani gave her board away. She was done surfing and never tried it again.
Feisty Chihuahua: The Perfect Hunting Dog?
Kris Burget made a video in September 2011 where he explained the basics of how he prepared for hunting. Kris is a normal sized guy, but he goes out and hunts elk. Even a small elk is at least 500 pounds, but Kris is easygoing and confident as he explains how he gets ready.
The first thing he explains is that you should always have extra clothes, and he points out that even as he was speaking it looked as though there was a rain storm headed his way. If he became too wet and uncomfortable, he would have to cut his trip short, so he wanted to be able to change into rain gear if necessary.
The next thing he talked about was his cow calling gear. The gear was in his pocket and Kris squeezed it so listeners could hear the odd noise it made. Cow calling gear is available at sporting goods stores and hunters can use it to get the attention of the elk they are looking for. There are tutorials online so hunters can learn the best techniques and methods for using the gear.
Kris also carries an extra gun, as could be expected, and he has jerky within easy reach. Beef jerky is a convenient snack that doesn’t need to be refrigerated and that can be eaten without silverware, so hunters can conveniently carry it for when they need a snack while they are spending several hours in the outdoors. Hunters have to learn to be patient and do without nice things while on the hunt.
Finally, Kris pointed out that one of the most important things to bring on a hunting trip was a really good companion. For Kris, the perfect companion is his hunting dog.
Anyone watching up to that point would be wondering where his dog was. Most people assume a hunting dog is going to be large, especially if the dog hunts elk. However, this is where Kris surprised everyone.
At that point, with a sly smile, Kris opened his camouflage backpack so he could introduce his hunting dog Coco. At first, you can’t see Coco because she is so small, but then she scrambles into view.
Kris is explaining how great Coco is at hunting, and how she is all business when it comes down to it. While he is talking, Coco seems to understand, because she lifts her tiny head higher and barks like crazy.
Kris warns everyone not to let Coco’s size fool them. Even though she looks small compared to other Chihuahuas, Coco obviously believes she is fierce and frightening. Her small size might be what makes her so good at tracking.
At the end of the video, Kris picks Coco the rest of the way out of the backpack and holds her up there with one hand. Is it true? I would have to see it to believe it.
Dog Gets a Baby Shower & Everyone is Caught by Surprise
There is no question that dog-owners have a unique, special bond with their furry friends, sometimes even going so far as to treat them literally as one of the family. And that means all the emotional ties connected to a canine friend are part of the package. Is it any surprise then that some even talk to their dogs like a roommate, telling them to be good and enjoy the day at a home until seen again in the evening? When you see this on a regular basis, the human-canine connection becomes natural and familiar, which probably explains why dogs do remain man’s best friend through the centuries.
Is It All In Our Minds?
In reality, dogs don’t really understand the specifics of what we are communicating when we talk. They hear sound and associate it with our pattern of behavior, interpreting care, attention, love, anger, disconnection and sadness in our tone and timbre. And dogs do feel connected back to us as well, as one of their pack. For anyone who doubts this, when you have a dog become so accustomed to you that it jumps up on the couch and pours its entire weight against your leg or side and goes to sleep, that a canine version of attachment.
The most traditional way of showing affection and favor of a dog is, of course, to give them an edible treat. Baths definitely don’t do it, and dogs really don’t care if they wear a sweater or not that says Merry Christmas on it. But put even a hint of food in front of them, and that canine olfactory sense kicks into overdrive on four legs. Physical affection is definitely understood as well, and most dogs love a good belly scratch or scruff behind the ears or under the neck. And then there are the dog owners who send their furry best friend flowers. Yes, we did write the word, “flowers.”
The Baby Shower Sneak Surprise
One teenager loves her baby doll so much, she gave her favorite canine a baby shower for the dog’s upcoming pregnancy. The party was set up with all the fixings and expectations of a baby shower except for one thing. The teenager didn’t tell anyone the party was for the dog. So, the invites went out, people got excited even though it was from the teen (yes, a few comments got passed around), and the baby shower date was set. On the big day, everyone invited who could make it showed up with gifts, food and drink were to be hand, and when the big moment arrived, the surprise was on the guests. Instead of the baby shower being for the teen herself, the guest of honor was in fact her canine love. Complete with maternity photos, cards, and well-wishing, her grown up puppy was feted in styled with a big canine baby shower. The dog, of course, could care less until the food was made available, in which case it was a proper party for a canine too.
The Mysterious Black Fox of Manchester
A little black fox was loose on the streets of Greater Manchester! Where did it come from, and why did it try and climb in a motorist’s van?
This fox has a story behind it. But what is that story?
One motorist was driving one day when he saw something. A cat, a skunk, or…could it be..? He slowed down. What was he seeing? He couldn’t tell at first. Was that a skunk playing around on an old road?
Then the motorist he saw he was looking at a fox was a fox. A black fox. He was obviously a little stunned. Like most humans, he had probably never seen a black fox before. Most people don’t even know they exist.
No they are not from industrial Manchester soot. Actually many foxes are born with black fur. They keep the black fur until they shed it as they reach maturity.
But this fox is no pup. Instead, it is one of the rare few that, through some genetic quirk, keeps its black fur for the rest of its adulthood.
The little black fox was hard to lay an eye on. As the smallest wild canines, foxes are quite adept at hiding. But what our motorist didn’t know is that they are quite deft at jumping, too!
That’s right—the little fox fox tried to leap-and-climb into the motorist’s vehicle! Crazy, isn’t it? This should have been a clue to something about the fox (no, the fox isn’t an Uber driver…that we know of). But at the time, the driver was simply quite surprised. What he did next might surprise you.
Well, the motorist did have a suspicion that not all was as it seemed. Doing the exact opposite of what many in the situation would do, he got out of his motor vehicle and tried to more closely encounter the little black fox. But that wasn’t what the fox had in mind.
It was almost funny—a grown motorist chasing a little black fox on a paved road, around the road in the bushes, over by a fence and finally a small building. Was the fox leading him somewhere?
One thing was for sure–even though the fox didn’t want to get too close, he seemed to be courting attention. Almost as if he wanted to be followed…or maybe rescued?
It turns out that was exactly the case! The fox was away from its home. And it wasn’t somewhere you’d normally find a fox.
The driver’s time was short with the fox. But we know now that the (some would say cat-like) canine is back in safe hands.
No, the fox wasn’t part of a zoo, and exhibit, or a farm. Instead he was the beloved pet of a family in Greater Manchester. He just happened to escape this day. As far as we know, he hasn’t ventured into the outside world again—yet!
Paying Attention To Make Sure You Can Help When Needed
Getting Stuck and the Troubles It Brings
Sometimes young children reach into a small-mouthed bottle or jar to get a treat and discover that they can’t get their hand back out while they are holding onto the treat. It can turn into a frustrating situation, and some children become frightened because they think now they’re stuck forever. With children, there are hopefully adults around who can help them get their hand out and still find a way to get the treat.
The situation is much worse when it happens to a stray animal. Cats and dogs have to find food where they can, and every now and then they smell something delicious and put their heads in jars to get at the treat. If they are unlucky, they can’t get their heads back out. If they are stuck for too long, they could starve because they are unable to eat. If the jar is too tight, they will have trouble breathing.
Even if they can’t get their heads back out the way they got in, sometimes the poor creatures can break the jar by hitting it against something. Otherwise, they are dependant on the help of someone who notices their plight.
Meeting a New Friend at the Right Time
One little dog in Bhubaneswar, India, was unfortunate enough to get a bottle stuck on his head. Even though he wasn’t very big, the poor little dog discovered that once he got his head in the glass bottle he couldn’t get it back out again. For two long weeks, the poor dog managed to stay alive with his head stuck in a bottle.
Just as the situation was becoming dire, the little dog met up with two kind volunteers from an organization called Ekmara. They happened to be walking along and noticed him. Working as a team, they found a way to get the bottle off.
One of the volunteers started filming while the other one held the dog and went to work on the bottle. She twisted and turned and pulled, patiently but firmly working the bottle off.
How Did the Little Dog Live So Long?
Ekmara’s founder, Purabi Patra, talked about another dog they had rescued from a similar situation about a week before. The other dog had his head in a jar for eight days before getting help. They figured the dog was drinking water from the jar caused by its own moisture when breathing. They also decided that the dog they helped more recently probably got water the same way.
Once their good deed was done, the volunteers happily watched the dog running away. They knew he was grateful and they were just glad they were in the right place at the right time. Thanks to the kindness of strangers, this story had a happily ever after.
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