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The Odd Pair

Renee Yates

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A piglet and a cat might seem like an odd pair, but the kitten named Sriracha and the little pig Batman have proved otherwise. The friendship and interactions of these two close friends are the most heartwarming thing you will ever see. Both animals lived at Rancho Relaxo – a non-profit rescue farm in Woodstown, New Jersey established by Caitlin Cimini.  They were more than just friends because Sriracha depended on Batman in a big way. 

Sriracha, a cute black kitten, suffers from a non-progressive and non-contagious neurological disorder known as feline cerebellar hypoplasia, causing walking and balance issues. There are seriously bad days when Sriracha has two seizures in a row and becomes a little “off”.  Feline cerebellar hypoplasia is caused by improper development of the parts of the cerebellum or exposure to infections, toxins, and nutritional deficiencies. It might be hard and sad to see the kitten shaking but, actually, such condition is absolutely painless. 

 When Sriracha was going through the bad period of her life, she found comfort and support from a two-week-old orphan rescued piglet. Caitlin Cimini says that Batman always felt when the kitten was about to experience a seizure. He rushed immediately to her to put his body on top of Sriracha’s and comfort his poor friend.  Caitlin wrote on her Instagram: “Sriracha found comfort in Batman. And Batman almost knew what he was doing for her. It was a beautiful thing to watch”.  The baby Batman did not leave his buddy alone. He cuddled up to Sriracha by keeping her company. Though the kitten cannot speak, she was definitely thankful for her little pink friend.  They got really attached to each other and became inseparable. 

Unfortunately, due to congenital problems, Batman passed away. Sriracha was devastated and brokenhearted by sobbing for a little pink buddy for days. However, fortunately, in an odd twist of fate, Caitlin soon rescued Batman’s bittersweet sibling from the auction and named him Dragonlord.  To everyone’s surprise, after Dragonlord warmed up, he started taking care of Sriracha even better than his brother Batman did. Dragonlord and Sriracha became very close best friends by spending a lot of time together. Just like Batman, Dragonlord comforts the kitten every time when she is experiencing a seizure. In return, Sriracha shows her love by grooming her supportive friend and showering him with kisses.  

Such a beautiful and unusual friendship of animals has captured the hearts of millions of fans around the world on social media. “That is why I do what I do” – says a founder of Rancho Relaxo on her Instagram. “This is the reason why my entire life is dedicated to helping animals. They are the most beautiful creatures on this planet”. So far, Caitlin and her husband have rescued already hundreds of animals, and they do not have an intention to stop. 

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The Remarkable Story Of Felix The Black Lab

Kevin Wells

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This is the remarkable story of Felix the Black Lab. Felix has had to overcome a lot of obstacles throughout his life. Felix was born with a cleft lip and cleft palate. Cleft lip and cleft palate are openings in the upper lip and the roof of the mouth. These openings can develop during infancy when the facial structures don’t completely develop. While cleft lip and cleft palate are often seen as birth defects, they can be inherited through genetics. Felix’s owner believes that the dog developed the defects due to his mother having a poor diet or possibly inhaling chemicals.

In addition to being born with a cleft lip and cleft palate, Felix has also struggled with other health problems throughout his life. However, despite all of his struggles, Felix continues to have a great personality: always laughing and smiling.

Felix was adopted when he was just a few days old. The owner said that Felix was close to dying because his cleft lip and cleft palate left him unable to receive nutrients from his mother. Felix had pneumonia and the veterinarian declared that he only had a few more hours to live. As Felix started to grow, he had colon issues that caused digestive problems. He also has only one functioning eye and his jaws aren’t aligned properly.  Because Felix’s teeth were not aligned properly, he was only able to eat canned food.

In spite of all of these issues, Felix continued to fight. His owner fed him through a tube for a few weeks until he recovered from his pneumonia symptoms. Felix’s condition left him unable to chew dog food and lap water out of a bowl. He also had problems swallowing his food at times. Through it all, Felix remained energetic.

However, Felix’s owner wanted to try to give him a better quality of living, so he had surgery to correct his clefts. The surgery was a success. The surgeon was able to repair the roof of Felix’s mouth and rebuild his palate. The surgeon completed the procedure using Felix’s own tissues. The surgery also caused Felix’s skull to shift. In order to help transition to his new life post-surgery, Felix also takes some medications. In the aftermath of the surgery, Felix also had to eat through a feeding tube in his neck. It has been a huge adjustment period.

Thanks to the successful surgery, Felix has been able to enjoy many new experiences. He was able to go swimming for the first time. He’s also able to eat and drink regularly like normal dogs. Felix enjoys spending time with his brothers and sisters, including an Australian cattle dog and a terrier. He enjoys playing with stuffed animals.  Felix is a great example that you can overcome challenges if you maintain a positive outlook. To follow Felix’s journey, go to his Imgur account.

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Personal Clouds- Samoyed Dogs

Kelly Taylor

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Many people around the country and indeed around the world are absolutely in love with the animal that is known as man’s best friend- the dog. They go by many names and people love them all- dogs, doggos, canines, puppies, puppers, good bois, floofs, howlers, and woofers. Regardless of what you call them, and no matter what breed of dog you are talking about, a cute and well-behaved dog can instantly turn a bad day into a good day and put a smile on your face

However, some breeds garner special love and attention from their human companion. Some are better are defending our families and properties. Some are best-suited work helping us with work. Some are great with kids while others are best for a quieter family setup. Some like to run around and play all day. Some prefer to be laid back and lazy on the couch. Some are big and some are little. Some are plain-looking and some are very fancy. And then there are those rare breeds that seem to encompass so many groups that they stand out as a special breed all on their own, and the Samoyed breed of dog is one such example!

Samoyeds are very unique among the thousands of breeds of dogs because, you see, they often remind people of clouds. All it takes is one look at a Samoyed to see where that comes from. It doesnt take a lot of brains to see how soft and white and fluffy this breed is and how cloud-like they truly are!

They are gentle giants and are great pets to have as part of the family. The American Kennel Club talks about the Samoyed breed and calls them a very adaptable, family-oriented, energetic, friendly, and surprisingly gentle breed. This is why the attention surrounding this breed has taken off in recent years as more and more people are discovering this gentle and gorgeous breed and are finding out for themselves how much fun it can be to have a living floof ball in the home.

While they may look like a cloud and even feel like one with their soft fluffy coat of fur, this breed makes for a very big cloud! Samoyeds can reach a height of almost two feet at their shoulder when they are standing on all four, and the average weight for a full-grown male is between 65 and 70 pounds.

They are also a very active and energetic breed of dog, and they can extremely social with people in gnarly but particularly so with their family. They often want to be right with you, in tour lap, or at your side, loving to get hugs, and pets, and belly rubs. When you make a Samoyed dog part of your family, you best plan to spend the majority of your free time going for walks, playing in the yard, and engaging with them in the home. These dogs may closely resemble the clouds that lazily drift along in the sky on a sunny day, but they are a far cry from being lazy couch potatoes!

The only real drawback to these floofy clouds is the extent to which they shed. If all your clothes are black or your fanciest dresses and suits are darker colored then you may have some issues with the white hair that will ultimately end up everywhere. Their thick white coats protect them from cold temperatures which is what they were bred for as an original working-class dog for northern climates. It also means that these double-coated dogs shed all year long- and the shedding gets even more prolific when the summer heat kicks in. Also, people who have severe allergies to dander may find that the prolific spread of the fur around the house might be too much for their immune system to handle.

For most people, however, dealing with the vacuuming and cleaning of hair is a small price to pay to have your own personal cloud to hug and snuggle anytime that you want!

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Families that love to travel will love Yonder

Renee Yates

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For as long as I can remember, my family and I have always traveled. It is a tradition that we have passed down from one generation to another. Now, that I am raising my own kid, I find myself researching different places to explore with them. Whether it’s a new farmer’s market, a secret beach or an adventure across the open seas, we are always looking for our next story. As you can imagine, out of respect of the current events our globe is facing, social distancing has put our travels on pause. Though disappointing, it is completely understandable. That’s why during one of my late night researches while sipping my favorite tea, I was really excited to discover the treasure known as Yonder. 

It’s very straightforward. Yonder helps travelers establish connections with individuals who have properties deeply hidden in nature. Wow, right!? All you have to do to use it, is type in any keyword like pet-friendly, animal, tree house, you name it, it will work! Then once you hit submit, different locations will spring up for your to choose from. Each listing includes photos and details of each property. You also get an idea of what sort of experience is waiting for you at each location as well as what each host believes and their personal philosophies of how to incorporate nature into every day life

 As soon as I saw this, I quickly realized that this could be the answer to the summer getaway we had been itching to go on. As a family that loves nature, we were super excited to find a website that did most of the work for us. Some of the properties included on their lists are countless farms, ranches, vineyards and my all time favorite, nature immersive. Though some of the properties look a little less well groomed, about 70% of them cater to families. Each of the properties is handpicked and must meet certain criteria exceptional hospitality, natural surroundings, and activities to be listed. ”The creators of the website Tim Southwell and Freyr Thor dream that Yonder will help connect people to the healing powers of the natural world as well as in turn, inspire them to actively protect our planet. What a beautiful message and goal. Yonder believes in the importance of having a relationship with nature so much that they even became a public benefit corporation recently. This translates to mean that there is an equal emphasis on creating both profit as well as positive societal and environmental impact. Yonder hopes that by providing access to nature, their visitors will become more inclined to protect Mother Earth. 

Nature is beautiful and it’s a great goal to have. Yonder is helping so many families right now by helping them find a way to create amazing family memories this summer while still respecting social distancing and keeping a check on health. Most trips that are found on Yonder, provide nature filled life lessons that help create a sort of balance that is missing from the every day busy hustle of the 9-5 lifestyle. 

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Family helps raise $40,000 for an elderly man

Shannon Jackson

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On father’s day, Michaelangelo Mosqueda and his Gonzalez-Dominguez family were spending some time outdoors when they stumbled upon a man selling ice pops. These ice pops were paletas, a traditional Mexican version of the ice pops. This vendor selling the ice pops was seventy years of age. His name was Don Rosario. He has been a resident of Chicago for over five decades. To keep up with life’s expenses, he has been selling pushing his ice pops cart through the street of the Windy City. Chicago can be brutal in the weather. It has icy cold winters but the summer can get very hot too. The crime rate is also very high in Chicago. It is not uncommon to be mugged while walking around the streets. Don Rosario was not the sort of man who would complain. Even in this heat, he wore his cowboy-style hat and always had a smile on his face. He took great pride in his work and never felt his work was tough. That was part of why the family just couldn’t ignore him.

On a day like father’s day, the Gonzalez-Dominguez family could not help but feel sorry for the old man struggling to sell his ice pops on a scorching hot day. The family thought that they were blessed to be able to spend the day with their family and enjoy all the luxuries of life, but others such as this old man are not so fortunate. The family decided to buy all the ice pops from Don Rosario so that he can go home and relax. This gesture bought tears to the old man, who was not used to such acts of kindness.

When Mosqueda posted the video online, it became viral. Online viewers of the video praised the family for what they did but Gonzalez-Dominguez went one step ahead and did something that would change the life of Don Rosario. They set up a GoFundMe profile with a final target of $10,000. Even the family did not expect what was going to happen after that.

The GoFundMe is an American free fundraising platform designed for people to set up their profile and raise money from different events in life such as illnesses, graduations, businesses, etc. When the profile of Don Rosario was set up, it instantly got people to donate money to him. By the time the campaign had ended, the fun had reached $40,000. That is enough money for Don Rosario to retire and not spend his old age trying to sell ice pops. Mosqueda plans on withdrawing the money and delivering it all to Don Rosario himself.

Many research studies have shown that one of the keys to happiness is helping others. The family could have used the money to buy something for themselves but helping others is far more noble and satisfying than spending on materialistic endeavors. The family who helped Don Rosario and the people who donated to Don’s fund blessed themselves with more happiness and satisfaction. This story should be an inspiration for others to help those who need and who have not been blessed with necessities in life. This story also should be a reminder to show gratitude for what you have, whether it is more or less, it certainly is more than someone else out there.

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Life Without a Father: A Queer Parent Offers Their Take

Kelly Taylor

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I cannot help but to notice all of the ads that are on my social media feeds right now. Father’s Day is right around the corner. While I take my hat off to all of the great fathers out there who are doing their best to handle the trials and tribulations of parenting, it’s not a holiday I enjoy celebrating. I have not seen or spoken to my biological father in several decades now.

I highly doubt that we are going to have a reunion any time soon. I’m fine with it, quite honestly. It’s something that I made peace with a very long time ago. In many instances, it is best for both parties to move on. Some people just aren’t cut out to be parents and they need to stop forcing it. All I learned from him was a valuable lesson about the exact type of parent I did not want to be.

I feel confident when I say that I have been able to break this cycle. I’m not just a parent, though. I am a queer parent. There are a wide range of people out there who seem to believe that a child who is raised by queer parents will grow up to follow in their footsteps. It’s sad that such a narrative would continue to persist during the Information Age but here we are.

If this argument was even a little bit sensible, I would have grown up as a cisgender straight person. That does not take away from the fact that there are a number of people out there who would like to strip me of my basic human rights. They operate under the false belief that every home needs a mother and a father, in the traditional sense.

With so many broken homes and undeniable traumas that have been created by these settings, you would think that people would be willing to let go of this idea by now. At the moment, me and my partner are raising three children (with a small dash of assistance from a former female partner and a sperm donor) and things are going just fine.

My goal is a simple one: to raise happy, healthy children who are kind and responsible. I’m not going to remain dependent on the idea that they need a father in the home. There’s no need to fall into these types of traps. All a child needs is a home that is loving and safe. Children of same sex parents do not struggle in this regard. Studies show that we are doing a wonderful job.

The current administration may not agree but we are not about to allow these charlatans to ignore the facts. These hate mongers view queer parents as something that society needs to do away with and we wish that people were not willing to go along with this divisive rhetoric. People may look to use religion as a means of justifying their retrograde views but that does not mean that you need to, as well.

It’s easier to cling to a few passages from an old religious text than to admit that you are wrong. We all have much left to learn. No one is a finished product, no matter how old they may be. All we can tell you is that our kids are happy, healthy and well taken care of. They are not worried about the lack of a father in the house and you shouldn’t be, either. My kids do not have a “Dad” and we do not celebrate Father’s Day. It hasn’t stopped us from doing just fine!

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