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Birthday Guy Saves Dog After Dog Walker is Hit by a Car

Danielle S

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Picture this. New York City, it’s early evening, you are a dog walker. You walk dogs for money. You are walking a precious pooch, then out of nowhere, you get hit by a car! Man’s faithful friend freaks out probably thinking you his walker are dead. The dog decided to join you in the hereafter because she ends up jumping off the nearby barge into the dangerous river below. You are not dead, though, and your doggy client realizes that regretting her decision because she is not the best doggy paddler in the world even though she is a dog. She is getting farther and farther from shore, too. Just when she thinks this could be the end a human hero swoops in out of nowhere to save her.

Sound a little bit over the top? Well, this is exactly what happened when a New York dog walker was hit by a car. They were knocked over in the chaos the dog walker lost grip on the dog named Harper’s leash. Harper did freak out and darted off ending up in the East River near the Brooklyn Barge.

Gabriel Castellano is our human hero. He was innocently celebrating his 38th birthday with some friends at a bar by the Brooklyn Barge when someone yelled about identifying a dog in the river. By this time the scared pooch was seen by Castellano, the dog was only a speck. Everyone was wondering how to save the poor animal when Gabriel put his birthday celebration aside to step into action. Being trained as a water rescuer, he knew just what to do. Managing to find a life vest he dove into the water to try and save Harper. Helicopters and medics were soon on the scene. All watched in agonizing wait as Castellano reached Harper bringing her to shore safe and sound. A quick-thinking onlooker Lorenzo Fonda is a filmmaker from Brooklyn captured the whole harrowing rescue on his phone.

Consequently, Castellano did receive some minor cuts and scrapes, and a cracked tooth from his rescue as Harper being a little disillusion and scared snapped at her hero. When talking to Castellano after the event and being a pet owner himself of a German Shepard named Lucky said he would do it again. “Even if it’s not my pet, he said. “I would do it again 100%/.”

As for Harper and her walker that was hit. Harper is obliged to her rescuer along with her owner Erin O’Donnell.  Harper who had never been in the water before is recovering back at home wearing special bootie until her damaged paws heal. Her dog walker is fine, too only sustaining minor injuries and is recovering the rest of the way at home.  A happy ending for all, and definitely a birthday Castellano will never forget.                       

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Woman hatches beloved new pet from egg bought at a restaurant

Danielle S

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In some Asian countries, there is a culinary practice that many Westerners might consider unusual or even unappetizing. This practice involves cooking and eating fertilized duck eggs. Fertilized duck eggs are called “balut”. The growing chicks inside the eggs are typically still alive until they are cooked by being boiled. Then, the chick inside is eaten right out of the shell.

A woman in Malaysia decided to do a little experiment using balut eggs and took some home to incubate them. She was hoping to be able to hatch a chick out of the eggs, and she eventually succeeded. It took two weeks of waiting, but one egg hatched. The woman- a 39-year-old named Erica Lim- decided to name her new pet Daisy. Erica bought the eggs at a restaurant locaed in the town of Puchong. 

Lim also constructed her own incubator to keep the eggs warm before hatching them. She made the incubator using a Styrofoam box. She also put some heat lamps over the box to make it warm inside. Lim learned from a first attempt at hatching balut eggs what mistakes to avoid to have success. She knew that she was successful with her egg hatching when she started to see a very small beak breaking through an egg she was incubting. 

Although Lim was successful with one egg, she tried to hatch numerous other eggs that did not hatch successfully. Lim has said that she has really enjoyed raising her pet duck Daisy. Although she gave the hatched duckling the name Daisy, she typically uses the duck’s nickname to call it. Daisy’s nickname is Bibit. 

After Daisy hatched, she neeeded to stay under the heat lamps for a while longer so that her feather could grow in a little more. Lim said that she now has had a very strong bond with Daisy after functioning as the duckling’s mom. Now that Daisy is all grown up, the relationship between Lim and Daisy is much like any other particularly strong pet-owner relationship.

There are many different things Daisy and Lim do together to have fun. For one thing, they spend time together watching TV. Lim also sometimes dresses Daisy up in various outfits, which Daisy doesn’t seem to mind much at all. Lim offers some containers of water that Daisy can swim around in and exercise her instinct as a duck for being in the water. 

Though a lot like a traditional pet in many ways, Daisy grew up a lot faster than dogs and cats typically do. In fact, Daisy was already an adult after just a few months had passed. One great advantage that Lim enjoys having Daisy as a pet is that Daisy supplies the household with lots of eggs. Lim has gotten so many eggs from Daisy that she has had to start giving them away to people she knows. 

Lim’s pet Daisy is 2 years old now, and from the experiment with the balut eggs Lim has learned just how enjoyable it is to have a pet duck. 

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Why the Military Asked Scientists to Give Married Couples Puppy Picture Therapy

Liz L

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Today, more than 50% of all marriages fail. Among military couples, the numbers are even higher, reaching as high as 80% for some commands in particularly challenging parts of the world. For special forces and pilots the divorce rate for military couples under the age of 30, is nearly one in five.

With these grim numbers in mind, the military realized that it had a severe mental health and quality of life issue on its hands. The suicide rate for divorced service members approached 80%- particularly during wartime, and we have been at war in some part of the world war every day since the early 2000s. Military psychologists realized that they were losing key people to despair, and they believed they could bring those numbers down by doing more to help service members to preserve their marriages.

Back in the 60s and 70s, the drug MDMA was used to stimulate empathy between marriage partners. Today, the drug is no longer used clinically, has become a well known illegal street drug known as Extacy- and is quite dangerous.

But top military behavioral psychologists decided they could get similar results using an empathy trigger that is perfectly safe- and surprisingly wholesome. They decided, they would show images of adorable puppies and pair this stimulus with contact with the patient’s spouse. It sounds funny, but there are solid science and a very intuitive rationale behind it.

Puppies are cute. No revelation there, right? But cuteness is not a mystery. It is a response to facial proportions that are similar to those of a human baby. Big eyes, small facial features, and relatively large heads compared to the body- these are what is called “Kinder Schema.” It is the proportions of a baby’s face that triggers the care and empathy instinct that parents and mothers, in particular, are especially sensitive to.

Military clinicians had troubled marriage partners engage in simple conversation in a clinical setting. While doing so, they would shift their eyes back and forth between the face of their partner and the image of an adorable puppy of their choice. The results were not Earth-shattering- but there was a measurable and consistent improvement over the treatment of couples who did not do the puppy picture therapy.

Couples who did the puppy picture therapy were found to be 22% less likely to divorce. And couples who continued the therapy at least once a week for six months to a year were 31% less likely to divorce.

One couple, who decided to stay together had this to say about the technique, “It was funny at first. Well, it is still funny. Looking at a puppy picture and talking to Brad just made me laugh. Him too. So, we ended up laughing together and having the dumb conversation the counselor instructed us to have. But if I’m honest, I really do think that during the session- I really did think more about his feelings, what he’s going through, and what he needs. He says the same was true for him. At the end of the day, we were forming a habit of being more considerate. Today, we’re happier. There’s no doubt about it.”

Clearly, the therapy doesn’t work for every couple. Patients have to want the treatment to work. They have to want to improve their relationship. While the study is inconclusive- researchers believe that with the will to have a better marriage- puppy picture therapy can give them a much better shot at staying together.

It’s an unexpected spot of sunshine in a part of our society that is all too familiar with tragedy, loss, and struggle.

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Ruff Start Rescue has great finish

Sarrah M

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Ruff Start Rescue in Princeton, Minnesota works hard to find temporary or forever homes for stay pets in their community. In 2016, they started looking for even more ways to help the local stray cats, to keep the population from getting even larger.

Homeless Pets Are a National Problem

Governments have been trying for many years to help with the stray pet problem, capturing homeless animals, caring for them, and offering them for adoption. Unfortunately, the numbers are overwhelming, and these programs have led to a lot of euthanasia. Over two million shelter pets are killed every year when government shelters and volunteers can’t find homes for so many.

Nobody wants that to happen, so people have become more creative and found ways to make an even bigger difference in their local pet populations. One of the biggest factors in the homeless pet population is the sheer number of animals that must be cared for and adopted, creating constant work in communities where the need for homes cannot always be met. With 65 million Americans already having a companion pet, and the number growing, there are still pets left in shelters.

Spay/Neuter and Release

One great way to help control the number of local homeless cats is to try to prevent them from having so many kittens. That seems simple, but feral cats are very independent. They don’t cooperate with local efforts, and can even be hard to find. Some neighborhoods are annoyed by the stray cats in their neighborhoods, too. 

Allie Cat Allies helped bring TNR programs from the UK to the US in 1990. With a Trap-Neuter-Release program, stray cats are humanely trapped and brought to a vet to be spayed or neutered. They may also receive basic vaccines, and they will receive an ear tip to indicate that they have already been taken care of. Then they are released safely back into their communities and allowed to continue their lives.

Ruff Start Rescue’s Plan

New programs take money, which most shelters are solely short of. Most local rescues depend on donations and for their volunteers to keep at least some of the pets in their own homes while looking for other placements.

Ruff Start Rescue is a nonprofit, run by volunteers and relying solely on donations for all expenses. Jenna Trisko is the Development Director at the rescue, and she was looking for new ways to get funds to help the animals she cared so much about. She discovered the State Farm Neighborhood Assist grant, which chooses 40 different causes and rewards them with a $25,000 grant once a year. The grant helps causes related to education, safety, and community development. Because of the small number of grants, there is stiff competition.

Worth a Try

Believing that they didn’t have much of a shot, Jenn sent in the application anyway. A few months later, she got the notification that they had made it through the first round, meaning they were part of a pool of 200. Community voters would now choose the top 25. 

At that point, Ruff Start rallied the community for the three weeks of voting. Others Minnesota rallied to the cause because it was the only Minnesota applicant. Jenn says she cried for two days when she found out they had won.

Major Success

The program was so popular that Ruff Start spent all the money in five months, spaying and neutering over 500 cats. Because of their new-found confidence, they also applied for and got another grant to help keep cats post-surgery, and are providing information to the community about cats.

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10 Beneficial Habits That Can Lead to a Happier Life

Liz L

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Happiness often feels like a bittersweet illusion. You might see other people who seem happy and wonder why the good life isn’t achievable for you. Guess what? Even when you know exactly what you want, it’s impossible to control everything happening around you. Blissful happiness is always temporary because life is filled with struggles and setbacks. During those tough times, you can’t help feeling a wealth of emotions from one moment to the next.

Fortunately, you don’t need perfect happiness to enjoy life. If you strive to be more positive and satisfied with what you have, you can cultivate a happy mindset. Here are 10 helpful habits you can adopt today to make yourself happier.

1. Be Thankful

Getting bogged down by bad thoughts is the easiest way to stress yourself out. When you’re facing a challenge, don’t replay every horrible moment in your mind. Look for something to be thankful for, even when it’s hard. All the good things in your life won’t automatically disappear when you have a problem.

2. Be Kind to Everyone 

Every single person on earth is dealing with hardships you don’t understand, so don’t hate others for their flaws. Showing compassion isn’t always easy, but the smallest bit of empathy can have a huge impact on the people you meet.

3. Let Go of Hate

Negative emotions, such as hatred, exhaust a lot of your mental energy. The more you let these feelings fester, the more they drain you and prevent you from focusing on things that truly matter. Do your best to let go of resentment and anger every night, so you feel refreshed and upbeat every morning.

4. Appreciate Love and Friendship

Rich or poor, love is something you can always share with others, but it’s difficult to be a loving person if you feel abandoned. Show appreciation for the people you love because they need your support just as much as you need theirs.

5. Have an Open Mind

Get comfortable with the reality that you don’t know everything and have something to learn from everyone you meet. An open mind is an opportunity to grow. If you reject everything that’s unfamiliar, you will always be frustrated.

6. Help Others

Does anyone really regret making someone’s life better? Make an effort to do something kind for another person whenever you can. No act of kindness is too small, and the joy you gain from helping others will put a smile on your face and theirs.

7. Accept Love and Affection

Avoid reacting in hurtful ways when you know someone has good intentions toward you. Sometimes, pain can make you lash out at people you care about or reject their affection. Remind yourself every day that you deserve love, and it will become easier to embrace it.

8. Be Patient

Life would be incredibly boring if everyone was the same. Respect people for who they are, and they will return the favor. Learning to be patient and calm helps you build lasting relationships that will enrich your life in ways you never expected.

9. Show Forgiveness

Resist the urge to strike back at people who are unkind to you. Not everyone is good at coping with fear and sadness, and many people get temporary satisfaction from behaving cruelly toward others. Recognize that you don’t deserve to be mistreated, but don’t feed hatred by giving in to it.

10. Let Yourself Off the Hook

You will make mistakes, and countless things in your life will go wrong. These are unavoidable facts. Punishing yourself for a bad decision only adds to your unhappiness and doesn’t solve the problem. Forgive yourself and consider how the situation could have turned out worse. When you learn to shake off small problems, you get better at staying calm and positive through bigger hardships.

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This Motorist’s Kind Gesture Serves as Gentle a Reminder to The Public

Sarrah M

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It’s not unusual for someone to be on their way to work only to see someone stuck on the side of the road. Sadly, few people actually stop to help. It has almost become an assumption that people are not going to stop their car for a random person they see on the side of the road. Some people might think that the individual is actually dangerous. Other people would look the other way and simply pretend they did not see the person. Still, more might simply be so focused their busy schedule that they don’t have time to help. Regardless, thinking that someone else is going to stop and help the person in need is just a classic story of the bystander syndrome. Fortunately, one man decided to do something to change this culture.

Recently, a video was published showing a man who had stepped out of his truck to help someone who was stuck on the side of the road. This video of a young man helping someone who is clearly advanced in age has racked up millions of views online. For sure, it has gone viral. The video is receiving attention from everyone. Some people have taken the moment to preach about traffic safety; however, most people would say that those individuals are simply missing the point. The point of the video is that people need to focus on how kind that person was to stop and help someone we need. For sure, this is something that everyone needs more of in this country. Instead of having a negative assumption about people who are stuck on the side of the road, people need to take steps to help those individuals in need. 

The individual who was identified in the video didn’t think that he had done anything special. This is a classic example of someone playing down their good gesture because they feel it should be commonplace. In this example, he’s right. The gesture should be commonplace. The individual simply needed a hand crossing the street. Everyone thinks that they have a busy schedule and that they’re preoccupied with their own responsibilities; however, nobody is too busy to take a few seconds to help someone cross the street. That is exactly what the gentleman in this video did. If people would take the time to help those in need, the world would be a better place. More people need to take the time to stop and take a look around at who else might be in need of assumption. It only takes a small act of kindness to make a tremendous difference in someone’s life. 

If more people took the time to help their fellow man, particularly those who are advanced in age, these small acts of kindness could become a wave that might sweep the country. More of these acts need to go viral. If more people focused on the good in the world instead of the bad, acts like these wouldn’t seem like heroism. Indeed, the individual in the video wants to see a world where acts of kindness become assumed instead of going viral because of how unusual they are. If we, as a society, one day reach a place where these acts of kindness are common, then the world will be a happier place. The small act performed by this gentleman is a leap forward in the right direction. It will be interesting to see who steps up next. Perhaps this will set off a sweeping cultural revolution across the country.

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