When we least expect it, people really band together to help each other in ways unimaginable.
This was proven recently when a skating team rallied together on a rescue mission to recover a toddler’s toy, even though his mom believed it was a lost cause.
Here’s what transpired in this Ottawa community.
While Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer(Santa’s preferred deer) knows how to fly his way across the globe, it was not the same for this little boy’s fawn of the same name.
The stuffed toy belonged to Nico Lavallée, four-years-old, and it was his favorite plush toy fawn.
Unfortunately, his smaller brother, who was in a pitching mood, chose to test his throwing ability on Nico’s stuffed toy by tossing it across the railing into the ice-covered water of Ottawa’s Rideau Canal.
Nico had gone on a stroll with his mum, Brenda Duke, and his younger sibling, two-year-old Santiago(pitcher in the making), and older brother, six-year-old Sebastien.
Nico and his family were unable to get back their toy buddy and went back home but returned multiple times to see Rudolph. Fortunately, the plush Bambi ended up in the vicinity of a road marker sign, so he was not hard to find, but there were no likelihood for a reunion.
The fallen fawn started to slowly vanish, after a few days of snowflakes falling, under a white covering, leaving only a small bump as evidence of his location.
However, the eldest brother Sebastian came up with a brilliant plan to get back the lost toy. Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, residents across the neighborhood relied on social media to keep in touch and follow what was happening with each other.
Sebastian encouraged his mother to utilize that avenue to reach out to the neighbors to see if someone could assist with getting Rudolph from the canal.
In the beginning, Duke was doubtful, as she wouldn’t want to bother anyone. She thought nobody would notice the message or even care.
However, Sebastian persuaded her to try it out, and she went on Twitter to seek help.
“If anyone would see a reindeer (I think it’s really a fawn) when my kids open the canal,” the tweet read, attached to a photo of the stuffed toy and a circle marking the area it was last spotted before the snow cover.
Even after sending the tweet, Duke was doubtful, thinking it’s impossible that the toy would be found, especially with plowing underway. She emphasized to everyone on Twitter that her six-year-old convinced her to send the tweet.
A team was quickly put together by people who read the tweet and wanted to assist. This included the National Capital Commission (NCC), which pledged that its skateway team would be on the watch.
As strange as it may seem, mission impossible was established to the mixture of shock and sheer joy from the family, especially Nico.
Then one day, a rescue team member spotted the toy as they rummaged through the snow, and lo and behold, it was recovered, wet and frozen but intact.
The NCC team took the toy back to their headquarters, dried it, and restored it to normality before handing it over to a very grateful Nico and his family.
In this time, with all the negative things that have transpired, It is easy to stop being positive. Sometimes it takes a little attention or acts of compassion to put things into viewpoint.
Duke emphasized that one simply has to ask for what they need, and she has learned that lesson. She is also happy that her children were able to see the good side of the human race and have something to grow up thinking about.
As Penguin Population Drops, Island Residents Send in Dogs to Save the Day
Middle island is a rocky outcropping just off the southwestern shores of Victoria, Australia. Located a short drive away from the city of Warrnambool, Middle Island would quickly gain a reputation for its teeming wildlife population. More specifically, Middle Island became a national point of pride thanks to the many breeding colonies of Eudyptula Minor and Ardenna Tenuirostris located on the property.
Due to its close proximity to the shore, Middle Island has become particularly beholden to predators during its low tide. Foxes and stray dogs have increasingly found the island to utilize it as a source of food, killing hundreds of penguins along the way. As a result of this dramatic and steep decline in the population of penguins on Middle Island, the Maremma Sheepdog project would come to fruition.
Meet the Little Penguins of Middle Island
The smallest known species of penguin, the Little Penguin — or Korora — reaches an average height of 13 inches and an average length of 17 inches. Found throughout Southern Australia as well as New Zealand, the Little Penguin has been calling Middle Island its home for more than 30 years when thousands of little animals covered the area.
As natural predators made their way to Middle Island, it was clear that the penguin population could not sustain itself against their onslaughts. Low tide would become synonymous with chaos and residents in the area knew that the penguins wouldn’t last forever if the issue were not addressed. Rather than simply watching as the penguins were eradicated by predators, locals decided to get involved with the Maremma Sheepdog Project.
Protecting Penguins: Mission for the Maremma Sheepdog
Major problems often require creative solutions and that is exactly how the Maremma Sheepdog project came to life. A local chicken farmer by the name of Allan Marsh would go on to suggest that the Maremma breed be used to protect local penguin colonies. This breed of dog had long been used for the protection and transportation of livestock, so the plan made sense from the beginning. Marsh would go on to say, “There was a penguin colony constantly being marauded by foxes.”
Maremmas have been bred for centuries as livestock guardians indigenous throughout Italy, particularly Southern Italy’s Tuscany region. Marsh would take his suggestion to the Warrnambool City Council, and it was that governing body that would approve a month-long trial. Marsh would complete the trial by pointing out, “The presence of the dogs kept foxes from going on the island.”
Ever since the project was first established, the penguin population has continued to surge in response. From potential threat of extinction to fully protected colonies, there are now close to 200 Little Penguins on the island and county with breeding occurring every season. Trish Corbett would head the Middle Island Penguin Project and opine, “We know the dogs work — it’s fantastic.”
While the Maremmano Sheep Dog has become a savior for penguins in Middle Island, they continue to perform as admirable livestock guardians throughout Central and Southwestern Italy.
95-year-old Veteran Gets Surprise Parade For His Birthday
These days, living to retirement has been eluding many, whether because of a pandemic, chronic illness, car accident, and all the different factors that have been shortening the life expectancy of many.
Therefore, it is a big deal when some can live to see their 95th birthday and be in their right frame of mind to enjoy it and express their appreciation.
That was the case for a senior citizen recently who got the surprise of his life when the entire town celebrated his special day with him uniquely and beautifully, leaving him in awe.
Just over a year ago, Vermont was planning for an extraordinary shutdown due to a pandemic that shook the world to its core. It was on March 7, 2020, the date of Jim Hasson’s 94th birthday.
Now, one year later, things were looking up on Sunday, the Cavendish man’s ninety-fifth birthday. He’d just had his second dose of COVID-19 vaccine and sat in a chair lounging in the vicinity of Main Street under a chilly light blue sky.
Those inside waved, honked, and shouted birthday greetings as a surprise convoy consisting of over fifty fire units, police cars, and passenger vehicles drove by where he was seated.
Some people attired in masks, pulled up to salute Hasson and deliver treats and cards to the elderly veteran. Hasson’s smile could be seen right through his mask.
Despite his age, Mr. Hasson has an amazing sense of humor and is able to find humor in most situations.
Mr. Hasson joked that if he had known reaching age ninety-five would have been such a pleasure, he would have definitely hit that milestone eons ago and that he isn’t used to being in the spotlight, but it was a memorable day for him.
Last spring, Seven Days met the retired plumber, a World War II, and Vietnam War veteran, at the dwelling he and one of his sons shared at the cul-de-sac of an extended dirt road.
Hasson was feeling pretty down without the phone, TV, or the meals he shared with friends at a Senior Center in Woodstock.
He was positively giddy throughout a phone interview on Monday. He thought about the birthday parade and the scores of greeting cards that had been presented to him.
Three of his four daughters, as well as his toddler great-granddaughter, who resides in Martha’s Vineyard, attended the gathering.
Mr. Hasson continued his wit by saying, “If one desires to be a hero, the trick is to outlive everyone else,” laughing at his own joke. He’s definitely anticipating being released from the COVID-19 shut down one of these days, and he’s relieved to have made it this far.
Every day was an adventure, Hasson said as he reflected on his time in the military and as a country plumber in the Cavendish region.
It is clear that he plans to hit the ground running soon because he not only got both his vaccines but also began hanging out in the vicinity of the roadway.
Those are clear indicators that the 95-year-old man plans to live to be a century-old and have fun while doing so.
After 15 Years Apart, Lost Cat Reunites With Owner Against All Odds
There are few relationships in life more important than the one between a pet and its owner. Whether you are a cat-lover, a dog-lover, or an equestrian aficionado, the furry friends we invite into our lives can play a huge role within them. We all hear horror stories about the pets that run away or the ones that go missing, but what about the stories of pets and their long-lost owners reuniting? What about them?
In today’s story, we are going to dive into one of the least likely pet-related stories you are going to read about. Revolving around Charles Benezra, his beloved kitten, and the 15 years they spent apart, you’ll have to read this story to believe it!
A Kitten, An Adoption, and the City of Northridge
Our story begins with a visit to Northridge, a neighborhood located within the City of Los Angeles. Nestled in the San Fernando Valley, Northridge was originally settled in 1908. Known as the home for California State University and its high concentration of four-year degree holders, Northridge is where a man by the name of Charles Benezra first decided he wanted to adopt a kitten.
Benezra had searched around the area for a place to adopt a kitten before settling on a small gray tabby. The gray tabby cat is incredibly common and argued to be one of the most aesthetically appealing felines around! Gray tabby cats are revered for making quality housemates and Charles was surely thinking about that when he brought home his beloved furry friend.
Charles had adopted his kitten while she was still only a few months old, still in the thick of her growing season. Like a responsible pet owner, Charles decided to get a microchip for his cat. Microchips are harmless implants roughly the size of a grain of rice. These implants use frequency identification tech to tie pets back to their owners, and they are often used to identify lost and missing animals.
One day, Charles decided to let his small tabby out onto the deck for some rest and relaxation under the sun. Unfortunately for Charles, the gray tabby would decide to run off — leaving him and his household behind! Charles waited as long as he could, but the cat never returned. Benezra would spend weeks and months looking for the cat but eventually, he would lose heart. Until…
Palmdale Animal Care Center Saves the Day
Upon giving up on his search for the gray tabby that had been his own, Charles would begin to lose hope. After all, there are about 70 million estimated stray cats living in the United States of America alone!
Right when Charles was ready to give up on his long-lost (15 years!) cat, he would receive an unlikely phone call from the Palmdale Animal Care Center. Not only did they think they found his cat, but the cat was still alive, well, and completely healthy! Charles would haul off to the Palmdale Animal Care Center to see if the story could truly be as they described. Was his gray tabby from 15 years ago back in his life?
Upon arrival, it was hard not to argue that Charles was emotional. Benezra would say, “She weighed about the same size as when she was a kitten.”
After picking up the long-lost gray tabby, Benezra would smile as the cat began to per instantly. The Palmdale Animal Care Center had identified the microchip and tied it back to Benezra. The cat’s fond memory of his prior owner had done the rest, instantly recognizing Charles the second they had reconnected!
Manatees Found Basking Together in Warm Florida Waters
There are few animals in the world as fascinating to us as the manatee. Large and oblong creatures with bulbous bodies and distinct whiskers, who doesn’t love seeing these smart animals in the wild? Unfortunately, manatees have been facing serious repercussions as a result of climate change and habitat destruction, with some population viability studies showing almost a 50% chance of extinction within the next thousand years. This issue is compounded furthermore by frequent collisions with watercraft throughout the state of Florida. Understanding how dire the Florida manatees situation is will properly contextualize how important this next news story was.
Florida Manatees Face Struggles With Population Decline
Early in 2021, more than 200 threatened manatees from Florida were spotted basking together off of the shallow waters near the west coast of Florida. Pictured near St. Petersburg and photographed by See Through Canoe, the images would quickly go viral thanks to the many different social media channels that ran with the footage. What makes this footage particularly striking is not just the relaxed nature of the manatees basking and at play, but it is the co-mingling of dolphins interspersed throughout that caught our attention!
The YouTube video which has since gone viral shows nearly 170 manatees basking in warm water, a habitat that has become increasingly rare for them. Throughout the video, viewers can watch as manatees and dolphins play by jumping in and out of the water. Though manatees and dolphins have been pictured together before, there aren’t many videos where such large groups of animals are congregating and playing with one another. In fact, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, there are just 7,500 wild manatees left in existence throughout the southeastern United States. Every single year, hundreds of manatees will die due to disease and collisions with watercraft.
A Rare Scene Could Become the Norm With Conservation
Mike Heithaus is the dean of Florida International University, and he was quick to offer some insight on the footage. Heithaus pointed out how manatees and dolphins typically will rarely interact with one another, particularly in areas of fresher water. With that being said, Heithaus was quick to point out that there were no specific reasons why dolphins and manatees couldn’t get along, saying that there wasn’t a ‘particular reason they wouldn’t interact’.
What blew Mike out of the water, pun not intended, was that the footage was shot through a drone, allowing a special aerial view of the rare scene below. The images and video should hopefully inspire more hope and optimism surrounding the manatee, but there is still a long way to go before the species is off the brink of extinction. Heithaus went on to point out that this event could become quite the common scene if the manatee population is appropriately fostered and allowed to grow in relative safety.
Some Have Hope For a Better Future for the Florida Manatee
The biggest implication that researchers and animal conservationists want to impart through this story is just how big of an impact humans are having on the environment. Manatees are watching their population numbers crater in large part due to interactions with humans, hit by watercraft, or simply swept away from habitats that once safely housed them. Researchers like Annie Reneau from Upworthy continue to focus on shifting the message toward a more natural style of conservation. Renau had seen the video and had chosen to highlight it with an article, emphasizing that videos like this one can become the norm in a more equitable and natural world.
Amazing Photos Of Forever Love – Then & Now
In 2020 it can be amazingly hard to find long-term couples who have lasted through the years and decades. The nation has long been filled with cynicism towards long-term relationships, much less marriages that last. In fact, in the 1980s some states have a 50 percent divorce rate within five years of marriage. However, these couple photos prove that it is very possible for couples to not just last but to beacons of hope for others that things can last a lifetime. And the photos show them anywhere from 15 to 40 years apart, even 60 years in some cases, being together.
These before and after photos of the same couples have take decades to create, but you’ll probably agree the photos are simply a recognition of an amazing feat by these people to make what many would argue impossible these days happen. And they’ve done with a personal love for each other that keeps them together through, as the old saying goes, thick and thin. Take a look:
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