The first snow of the season is always a magical time when children catch snowflakes on their tongues and retired folks reconsider moving to Florida. Kids aren’t the only ones who appreciate that first snow, however. Multitudes of animals were born in the warm season, kicking their heels up in the sunshine, and never knowing that there’s a new and wilder fun yet to come. People who have raised puppies are quite familiar with this phenomenon, when pups, like kids, go crazy over every new thing. Which is pretty entertaining, considering that just about everything is new to them.
Donovan is an 11-month-old Great Dane puppy who is in training as a service dog. Service dogs lead disciplined lives of helping others which serves as an example to all of us. But it’s fun to see them get to kick back and take a break from their job once in a while, too. Donovan lives with Amanda Gonchar in New Jersey and is learning his job to provide dependable support for some person who is waiting for the dog that will offer them new opportunities. In the meantime, Donovan has somehow made it almost a year without seeing snow. Perhaps he’s spent part of his life elsewhere, or perhaps the weather was particularly mild for his first few months. Whatever the reason, he’s perfectly primed as a pet who has never seen snow. Amanda notices that it’s snowing, and she knows Donovan always needs exposure to new experiences as a service dog. Besides, it’ll be fun! I wonder if Amanda imagined Donovan had this much excitement pent up in him, just waiting for those first magical flakes to fall.
Amanda’s video shows how Donovan reacted to the experience. Did he cringe back inside the house, crawl under a blanket, and swear off the world (like I might)? No! He ran and leaped and slid around in the snow in an ecstasy of winter excitement. His long legs bounding about in the yard, Donovan simply wants to burn off this first-snow magic like it was an energy drink. Think about that the next time you have to scrape the ice off your windshield!
Donovan is a Great Dane pup, which means he makes a very big puppy. He’s also a Harlequin, an unusual coloration where the spots of a Dalmatian grow to fit a Great Dane’s body. He certainly fits in with the colors of the wintry season! Great Danes take at least two years to grow into their full adult form. Chihuahuas don’t have to deal with this, of course.
Donovan’s enthusiasm will serve him well for learning the many tasks that a service dog needs to know. Not only does he have to learn great discipline and unusual tasks, but his training will be specialized further to meet the situation of his new owner when the time comes. Let’s hope that wherever his new owner awaits him, they’ll have snow to enjoy together!
Amanda says that Donovan is a “goofball”. This is pretty typical of Great Dane puppies. We’re glad to have had the chance to see Donovan being a goofball with so much energy and-er-finesse. Check out the video whenever you need to feel energized.
Way to go, Donovan!
Jacksonville Man Spreads Love and Positivity at the Beach
In Jacksonville, Florida, a man has been making waves of positivity and spreading kindness at the Beach Boulevard and San Pablo Road South intersection. With handmade signs that read, “Have a wonderful Day!! I Love You” and “You are Relevant,” this man is on a mission to uplift the spirits of those who pass by. His heartwarming gestures have not gone unnoticed, and his actions are especially poignant during National Suicide Prevention Month.
Rika, a local resident, had a unique encounter with this compassionate individual. She was on her way to pick up her lunch when she saw a man standing in the median of the road, holding these uplifting signs. Most of us would just glance and continue on our way, but Rika decided to take a closer look. As she stopped at a red light, she took a few pictures to capture the moment. To her surprise, the man approached her car and handed her a sunflower.
“So picture this… you’re out going to pick up your lunch, and there’s this random guy walking by with a handmade sign,” Rika recounted. “I’m sure like most of us, we’d glance and keep it moving, but I decided to read his sign since I was at a stop light. I snapped a few pictures because why not, but as I was doing this, he approached my car door to hand me a sunflower! Don’t forget to appreciate the small things.”
This simple act of kindness had a profound impact on Rika, as it has on many others who have encountered this man and his signs. His message of love and importance reminds us all to appreciate the small joys in life and to acknowledge our worth.
The man’s efforts are not just a random act of kindness; they hold special significance during National Suicide Prevention Month. September is a time when people and organizations across the country work to raise awareness about mental health and suicide prevention. This Jacksonville man’s compassionate actions align perfectly with the spirit of this month, as he strives to remind people that they matter and that there is goodness in the world.
Arizona Family Finds Missing Dog After 12 Years
In the warm and sunny state of Arizona, a touching story of a lost dog named Minion recently unfolded. After an astonishing 12 years apart, Minion was finally reunited with his loving family thanks to the magic of a tiny microchip.
It all began when a compassionate officer from Maricopa County Animal Care and Control (MCACC) picked up a dog wandering the streets. The senior dog, with a demeanor that seemed a bit reserved and melancholic, had never wagged his tail during his time at the shelter. Little did they know that this seemingly lost and lonely dog held a remarkable secret.
Upon routine scanning of the dog’s microchip, a heartwarming discovery was made. The microchip revealed the dog’s name – Minion – and even more astonishingly, it provided a link to his family. The family had experienced the heartache of losing their beloved furry friend 12 long years ago, all because a maintenance worker had accidentally left the back gate open in 2011.
With the information obtained from the microchip, MCACC embarked on a mission to reunite Minion with his long-lost family. This heartwarming tale took a poignant turn as a field officer drove 15-year-old Minion back to his home. The officer took the time to explain to the owner that Minion had aged over the years and was no longer the sprightly pup they had known. However, the moment of reunion was sure to be a special one.
As the kennel door swung open and Minion laid eyes on his family, something extraordinary happened. Despite his age and the passage of time, Minion’s tail began to wag furiously, and his eyes sparkled with unmistakable joy. It was clear that he recognized his family and was overjoyed to be back in their loving embrace.
While the details of where Minion had been for the past 12 years remain a mystery, this heartwarming reunion serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of microchipping our pets. Microchips are tiny devices implanted under a pet’s skin that contain important identification information. In Minion’s case, this small chip was the key to reuniting him with his family after more than a decade apart.
Orphaned Puma Cubs, Elbroch and Olympia, Find a New Home in Pennsylvania
Two brave puma cubs, Elbroch and Olympia, have begun a new chapter of their lives in Pennsylvania after a heartbreaking start. These sibling cubs, a boy and a girl, tragically lost their mother when she was shot by a farmer. Now, at 21 weeks old, they are finding comfort and care in a new home at the Philadelphia Zoo.
Maggie Morse, the curator of carnivores and ungulates, shared, “Our keepers have been working hard to help the puma siblings adjust to their new home. We are dedicated to ensuring their well-being and helping them settle in.” The cubs are in good hands with the zoo’s keeper and veterinary teams, who are providing them with the best care possible.
Elbroch, the male cub, is named after Mark Elbroch, a leading puma researcher at Panthera, a conservation organization devoted to protecting wild cats worldwide. On the other hand, Olympia, the female cub, gets her name from the state capital of Washington. The zookeepers can tell the cubs apart by their sizes, with Elbroch being the bigger and more confident of the two. He loves to explore and is not afraid to venture into new territories.
Although the public will have to wait until fall to see these adorable cubs, their arrival is a result of collaboration between the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and the Philadelphia Zoo. Rachel Metz, the zoo’s vice president of animal well-being, emphasized the importance of this placement, explaining that without intervention, these cubs would likely struggle to survive without their mother.
Philadelphia Zoo sees the cubs as ambassadors for their mission of wildlife protection. They aim to educate visitors about the vital role of apex predators and the complex interactions between humans and predators in the wild.
Pumas, also known as mountain lions or cougars, possess the largest hind legs among feline species. This unique feature enables them to leap impressive distances while hunting. With the ability to jump more than 20 feet horizontally and 18 feet vertically, they are formidable hunters. From moose to mice, pumas can catch a wide range of prey, showcasing their exceptional hunting skills.
As Elbroch and Olympia begin their journey in their new home, their story serves as a reminder of the challenges wild animals face and the important role that zoos play in conservation efforts. These cubs are more than just adorable faces; they are symbols of hope and a call to action to protect and appreciate the beauty and significance of apex predators like pumas.
The Healing Power of Petting Dogs: Boosting Your Health One Pat at a Time
There’s something undeniably heartwarming and joyful about interacting with a furry, four-legged friend. Whether you’re a dog owner or simply passing by a friendly pup on your daily stroll, those short interactions can have a surprisingly positive impact on your health. Recent research suggests that petting other people’s dogs can be more than just a heartwarming gesture – it can actually boost your mental and physical well-being in remarkable ways.
We all know that spending time with our own beloved pets can bring a sense of comfort and happiness, but what about those fleeting moments when we stop to pet a stranger’s dog? Can these brief interactions truly have an impact on our health? According to experts, the answer is a resounding yes.
Nancy Gee, a distinguished professor of psychiatry and the director of the Center for Human-Animal Interaction at Virginia Commonwealth University, sheds light on the remarkable benefits of these short interactions. “Absolutely. I think it is safe to say that animals are beneficial to our mental and physical health,” she affirms. The evidence is piling up, revealing that even a mere 5 to 20 minutes spent interacting with a dog – even if it’s not your own – can lead to significant health improvements.
One of the key physiological changes observed during these interactions is the drop in levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Just a few moments spent petting a dog can lead to a noticeable reduction in stress and anxiety. It’s as if the simple act of running your fingers through a dog’s soft fur has the power to melt away your worries.
But the benefits don’t stop there. The magic touch of a dog’s paw also triggers the release of oxytocin – often referred to as the “bonding hormone” or the “feel-good hormone.” This hormone is responsible for fostering feelings of connection, trust, and happiness. So, when you pet a dog, your body responds by flooding your system with oxytocin, creating a sense of warmth and positivity.
Interestingly, it’s not just humans that experience these remarkable changes. Dogs, too, reap the rewards of these short but meaningful interactions. “What I love about this research is that it’s a two-way street,” Nancy Gee points out. Dogs also experience an increase in oxytocin levels when they interact with humans. This mutual exchange of positive feelings contributes to the unique and special bond shared between humans and their canine companions.
So, whether you’re a dog owner or someone who simply enjoys taking a moment to connect with a furry friend on the street, rest assured that those short interactions are far more than just passing moments. They are potent doses of health and happiness that have the power to lower your stress, boost your mood, and create a heartwarming connection with both dogs and their owners.
In a world that can often feel overwhelming, the simple act of petting a dog can remind us of the beauty of these small, joyful moments. Next time you find yourself reaching out to pat a pup, remember that you’re not only spreading happiness to the dog – you’re also nurturing your own well-being, one pat at a time.
Rescued Walrus Calf Finds Love and Care in Alaska
From the wilds of Alaska, a special baby walrus has captured the attention and hearts of animal lovers far and wide. This young Pacific walrus calf, just one month old, found itself in an unusual and challenging situation. Thankfully, a team of caring experts stepped in to provide the love and attention it needed to thrive.
Walrus calves are rare and precious, and this little one was even more unique because it was discovered all alone. Normally, walrus calves stick close to their mothers for the first two years of their lives, but this calf was found wandering far from its usual ocean home. It was spotted about four miles inland, which surprised the experts because walruses usually stay near the coastline or in the ocean waters.
The rescue effort was led by the compassionate folks at the Alaska SeaLife Center, a place dedicated to helping marine animals in need. They noticed that something was not quite right when they found the calf so far from its natural habitat. With the calf’s health and safety in mind, the team decided to step in and provide the care it needed.
This young walrus, weighing a hefty 140 pounds, became the center of attention at the Alaska SeaLife Center. The experts there knew that without their help, this wandering calf would have a tough time surviving. They suspected the calf might be dealing with malnutrition, dehydration, and even a cloudy eye. Special blood tests confirmed that the calf was indeed dehydrated and could be fighting an infection.
To give the calf the best chance at a healthy life, the veterinarians prescribed a special treatment plan. This involved 24-hour care, which included constant cuddling. Yes, you read that right – cuddling! The experts at the center understood that walrus calves are used to being close to their mothers, so they wanted to provide the same kind of maternal warmth and comfort.
The staff at the Alaska SeaLife Center poured their hearts into caring for the calf, emulating the closeness and love that it would have experienced with its walrus mother. Their dedication paid off – the calf responded positively to the care and attention it received. The around-the-clock cuddling seemed to work wonders, as the calf started showing signs of improvement.
Now, this adorable walrus calf is on the road to recovery. It’s gaining strength, feeling happier, and getting all the love it needs to grow up strong and healthy. The team at the Alaska SeaLife Center is doing everything they can to ensure that this unique little walrus has a bright future ahead.
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