Disabled 'Kangaroo' Dog to Walk Again – with the Help of $7,000 in Donations
What's in a name? A whole lot when it comes to 1-year-old Chihuahua Victory, who always puts her best paw forward – even when she physically can't.
The disabled dog was born with deformed front legs, which cause her to totter around, almost like a kangaroo. Now, she's getting a chance to take the next step toward a normal life.
Victory is due to receive a protective vest, a set of wheels and a sled-like apparatus to improve her mobility, thanks to people around the world who heard her story and wanted to help, reports Today.
It's been just a few weeks since Victory was found on the streets of Dearborn, Mich., where she was taken in by the local Dearborn Animal Shelter and given her ever-appropriate name. No one came to the rescue to claim her.
Though there was no surgery available to help Victory, shelter staff found a solution through a combination of three orthopedic devices. The only problem? The price tag: $2,000.
But that was quickly solved after a newsletter telling Victory's story garnered global buzz. Within a week, the shelter staff met their goal – and then some – to the tune of $7,000.
Victory won't commit to a forever home until she's acclimated to her new devices, says Elaine Greene, executive director of Friends for the Dearborn Animal Shelter, a nonprofit that runs the organization. "We're all very attached to her, and she to us," Greene tells Today. "So we're looking for a very special situation."
Until then, Victory is enjoying life in the winners' circle.
"We thought that she needed a name that really described how she looked at life and the fact that she survived when many animals with deformities don't," Greene says. "She has such a wonderful personality and spirit that we felt she's been victorious over what could be barriers that stand in the way."
This was posted on Facebook by someone I went to highschool with.
So, last Sunday in church Pastor Peder talked about how Christ is the homeless, hungry, imprisoned, etc. Well, my husband took a second job at a gas station and has had a homeless guy coming in to get coffee and sometimes food if he was able to find enough money. When my husband works he buys him his coffee and food like hotdogs. He does it because he realizes we don't have everything but the least he can do is buy him a couple of dollars worth of food and drink. We have more than we need. Well, the homeless guy was not coming in for the last couple of weeks and my husband was worried that something happened to him. He showed up last night at the gas station cleaned up and told my husband, he got a job and just got his first pay check and he wanted to buy my husband supper. My husband thanked him and told him he was very happy for him but he had already had supper. As my husband told me this today we both had tears running down our faces. I have never been so proud of my husband. Thank you God for taking away his overtime so he could meet this man by trying to support his family. I am seeing a path that God is laying for us.
Randy and his wife Beth are very kind people who GAVE us a car! We are not family. My husband worked with Randy. They just saw that our car was very, very old (1980), and they gave us a safer, much, much newer, beautiful red car. I will never forget their kindness. They also gave us a large container of gumballs for our little girl. The car and gumballs were given as a surprise! One of the best days of my life! Thank you!
Boy grows hair out for cancer patient
HAMDEN, Conn. -- He's just 10-years-old but a Hamden boy is making a big difference in the life of a cancer patient.
It was a two year odyssey that recently had a big payoff.
One could argue there is no such thing as a "bad hair day" in the Carrano family.
"She's a hairdresser and he's a barber, so, it's basically just an important part of our family," said Damian Carrano.
When your Mom cuts hair for a living, your dad cuts hair for a living, chances are, their kids are going to have good hair as well so 10-year-old Damian Carrano had an idea about his hair, inspired by the Ronald McDonald House.
"Two years ago, my mother used to take me to the Ronald McDonald House to just play with the kids, know what it's really about," said Damian.
"There was this one particular little girl that he took too, he was playing with her, she was 2, 3-years-old, so cute, and she was missing hair," said Grisel Carrano, Damian's mother.
"I wanted to do this since my mother has cut her hair, and I feel like I really did a good thing for people," said Damian.
Mom Grisel shed and donated her locks for wigs to be used for cancer patients so Damian, then just 8-years-old, vowed to do the same thing, must to the astonishment of his brother.
"Well it would go in his eyes sometimes, and it will cover his face," said Cameron Carrano, Damian's brother.
Much to the astonishment of everyone else, amazed that two years passed without a single clip.
"People in school used to say, "Why do you have long hair? You look like a girl," said Damian.
"It started to go through that funky stage, and I thought that would crack him, and that didn't crack him," said Ron Carrano, Damian's father.
It wasn't the weight of the world on young Damian's shoulders, just hair, 12 inches of it.
"The worst thing about my hair is I had to wash it for like five minutes," said Damian.
His silky mane is now on the way to help a sick child and that, would be a true definition of a "good hair day."
"I just kept on going because I knew it was for a good cause," said Damian.
Gonzo the blind sled dog
BRETTON WOODS, NH - If you see him in action, you can tell Gonzo is meant to be a sled dog.
"He just throws his head in the wind. He's just wagging his tail -- he's just along for the ride," says dog musher AJ Norton. "He's such a ham."
But sudden illness threatened to take him off the team. Three years ago, Gonzo went blind in the span of just a couple weeks. Treatments didn't work, and no surgery could restore his sight. His future as a sled dog was in limbo.
"We kind-of went to our vet and we said, 'You know, what do you think?' And he said, 'Run this dog. You know, just take him out and see what he does,'" Muddy Paw Sled Dog Kennel owner Karen Tolin says. "He looked excited to go, so we harnessed him up, slowly reintroduced him, and over the span of about a year reintegrated him into running with the team. Because he wanted to. He was very sad when he got left behind."
A solution developed when Gonzo's brother, Poncho, became his seeing eye dog. It was a process that took time.
"When Gonzo began to lean into Poncho at first, that's when he became frustrated. But eventually he began to allow that when he realized there was something different about his brother," says Tolin.
And with that realization, Gonzo's future as a sled dog didn't seem so far-fetched anymore.
"Poncho might lean into him, nudge him, bark at him. They've developed a system of commands far beyond what we could teach," Tolin says.
"If they're back there Poncho will kind-of give Gonzo a little nip like, 'Hey bro, there's a hill coming up,'" Norton says.
Though Gonzo and Poncho work quite well as a team, they are trying to make Gonzo more comfortable with other dogs, that way he isn't too dependent on his brother.
"If something were to happen to Gonzo's brother we would want him to feel like he could stand on his own two feet and be confident," says Tolin.
Gonzo's neck line also helps keep him running straight, but his brother has his back when Gonzo's blindness lands him in trouble.
"Gonzo stepped, literally fell off the trail into the deep snow and went 'Poof!'" Tolin says. "The story goes, Poncho literally leaned over and on the X of the X-backed harness, grasped with his front teeth, brought him up, and then they kept going."
And their wagging tale of inspiration has given his handlers a new perspective on disability.
"We perceived him as having a limitation, so we were a bit more hesitant, but for the dogs, the sky's the limit," Tolin says. "He says 'Okay, I'll adapt and keep going.'"
"I figure that if I was blind, I'd rather be out running doing something for fun than sitting at home, you know," says Norton.
They told us that as long as this dynamic duo wants to pull sleds, they're not going to stop them.
Muddy Paw Sled Dog Kennel also has an active sled dog rescue and adoption program for other dogs. You can learn more about that here: http://www.dogslednh.com/
Take a book, leave a book, it's free
FOLSOM, Calif. —Kelly Friesen was struck the moment she saw it at the intersection of Stoney Hill Drive and Gable Street in Folsom.
"Wow. What a great idea," said Friesen, a Folsom resident.
A 6-year old girl took a few looks and expressed satisfaction.
"Yeah, I like it," said Alison, who lives down the street.
Duane Samples watched it all from across the street this week and smiled.
"It's a great feeling," Samples said.
Last week, Samples built a free, mini-library perched atop a wooden post at the corner of his front yard.
"It's named a Little, Free Library," Samples said.
The two-shelf box, with a wood-framed glass door, was built to hold books for anyone to take or leave, at no cost or obligation.
"A lot of times, neighbors don't know neighbors anymore," Samples said. "Hopefully, this will help bring our community a little closer."
Made with Love
These moms rallied their community to sew more than 3,000 dresses for girls in Zambia.
Darla Senecal had heard that children in Zambia need help but it wasn't until she saw a talk show featuring Mothers Without Borders (MWB) founder Kathy Headlee Miner that she really understood why: There are millions of kids living in poverty there (more than 800,000 who lost one or both parents to AIDS). Inspired to take action, she told her friend Nancy Luke that the two of them had to find a way to pitch in. The prospect of making a difference in the poverty-stricken country definitely seemed daunting: Few of the children have access to the most basic necessities, like food, shelter, and clothing.
Still, as mothers themselves, Senecal and Luke were determined to help. They formed a local chapter of MWB in their hometown of Bristol, Vermont, with eight of their friends and neighbors. Shortly after their second meeting the women spotted an announcement on the national MWB Web site: Thousands of Zambian girls desperately need dresses. Instructions for making a basic dress, done by stitching a skirt onto the bottom of a T-shirt, were included in the posting. "The concept was so simple, yet genius," says Senecal. The Bristol group made it their mission to contribute as many dresses as possible to the cause -- and to get their community involved. They posted flyers inviting everyone in the area to a Saturday sewathon at their town hall and left collection boxes for T-shirts, skirts, and sewing supplies at local stores. "This project seemed so doable, especially since I knew many other moms would be inspired to help," says Luke.
In fact, the Bristol MWB members and nearly 200 local volunteers stitched more than 1,000 dresses. One of their group members even flew to Zambia to help deliver the clothes. Thrilled by their success, the group held a second sewathon the following year and another two events each year after that, bringing their grand total to more than 3,000 dresses. The women are planning a fifth event next year, with no plans to stop anytime soon. For Luke the experience proved that you don't need to have a lot of money to make a difference in someone's life. "Everyone was able to make a contribution whether it was fabric, thread, or simply their time," she says. "Bit by bit we got the job done."
Greenwood Mayor Marvin McGee putting in overtime to plow the streets himself
One city leader in Missouri is working overtime to make sure everyone can get out of the snow.
Marvin McGee is the mayor of Greenwood.
He's been plowing city streets for the past few days.
"I'm a citizens’ mayor,” McGee said. “I would like to think that if I was a citizen, I would want my mayor to pitch in. That's what mayors do."
McGee says residents have been asking the city to clear the snow, but since they only have a two-man crew, he stepped in to help.
This has many people in Greenwood shocked.
"It blew me away,” resident Doyle Garner said. “I mean I was totally shocked. I mean, I grew up in a small town and I never expected to see the mayor himself getting in a Bobcat and coming out and doing all that."
McGee has been using the city's Bobcat to plow the snow since 2010.
The Miracle Rescue By Jan, Duluth, Minnesota
I adopted a two-year-old poodle/terrier mix from our local shelter, and named her Angel. She came from another shelter as a stray who had been abused.
Angel was very skinny, extremely shy, and afraid of everyone. I fell in love with her immediately. Since I have multiple sclerosis, I believed that this dog would be perfect for me. We would take care of each other.
I live alone in a high-rise building on Lake Superior with other seniors and disabled tenants. Within weeks, with lots of love, patience, and socializing with neighbors and pets, Angel became a totally different dog.
My little soul mate is now the happiest and most popular dog in the building. She loves everybody, giving kisses to everyone she sees. She never misbehaves, snaps, or barks at anyone. Angel brings her favorite toy or treat to me when I’m feeling bad, or she jumps on my bed and whines until I lie down. She then lies beside me.
One night, Angel became restless and woke me up. I rarely go out late at night, as Angel uses a puppy pad after dark. This time, though, because of her odd behavior, I decided to get dressed and take her out. She was whining and seemed anxious.
I took her around to the parking lot side of our building, back by our garage.
She always stays by me, either on or off the leash, but this time she pulled as hard as she could and whined. I unhooked her leash, thinking she must have to go badly. Instead of running to the grass, Angel hurried into the parking lot and darted between two vehicles. I found her sitting next to Wayne, one of our tenants, who was on the ground. He lay in a fetal position with his walker nearby.
I stooped down to ask what had happened. Not fully conscious, Wayne mumbled that he had fallen. He wore shorts and a light jacket, although it was 38 degrees. He couldn’t move. He said he’d recently had surgery on both knees and was in a lot of pain.
I feared he might have also broken something. After calling 911, I asked him how long he had been lying on the cold pavement. He said, “About an hour, I think.”
I squeezed my knees under Wayne’s head to lift it off the ground. He was freezing, so I tried to cover him with my body and coat. We stayed like this, with Angel near him, until the police and ambulance arrived. The paramedics quickly transferred Wayne to a gurney and bundled him in warm blankets. Soon he was on his way to the hospital.
I have no idea how Angel knew about the injured tenant. We live on the eleventh floor, and our apartment faces the lake. Our windows were closed, and I had a small fan running.
The next day, I called the hospital and talked to Wayne. He told me he had suffered a severe heart attack and had no idea why he was outside by his van at that hour. He kept thanking me. I told him it was God and Angel he should thank.
Wow, this definitely brought on the tears. Amazing!!!
Originally Posted by kuhio98
The Kind Stranger
One day I was riding home and my bicycle broke. There weren't many people around and I was pretty scared being all alone, but I stopped and tried to fix it nonetheless. A complete stranger, also riding a bike, stopped by and fixed it for me. It's such a small thing, didn't take more than a minute, but he was so reassuring and nice - even offered me a handkerchief to clean my hands. It was over a year ago and we'll probably never meet again, but I still pray for his safety and wellbeing every night. A random act does change many things!
My children laugh at me as I always pick up worms or other small creatures that are stranded on the footpath when we are out walking. I maintain that if we are kindest to the smallest of living things we will also view all life as precious. Well as I returned home from walking my dog outside my front door I saw a small sparrow lying on its back by the side of the road, with its legs twitching in the air. Seeing it was in danger of being crushed, I carefully picked it up and took it inside with me and seeing it had no obvious injury I put it in the garden where I leave the bird seed for our feathered friends, happily within an hour it had recovered and flown away. I know this is a small thing but it made me feel happy all day.
Pulling children out of Nepal's prisons
Pushpa Basnet doesn't need an alarm clock. Every morning, the sounds of 40 children wake her up in the two-story home she shares with them.
As she helps the children dress for school, Basnet might appear to be a housemother of sorts. But the real story is more complicated.
All of these children once lived in Nepal's prisons. This 28-year-old woman has saved every one of them from a life behind bars.
Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world -- according to UNICEF, 55% of the population lives below the international poverty line -- so it lacks the social safety net that exists in most Western nations. Space is extremely limited in the few children's homes affiliated with the government.
So when no local guardian is available, an arrested parent often must choose between bringing their children to jail with them or letting them live on the streets. Nepal's Department of Prison Management estimates 80 children live in the nation's prisons.
"It's not fair for (these) children to live in the prison because they haven't done anything wrong," said Basnet, who started a nongovernmental organization to help. "My mission is to make sure no child grows up behind prison walls."
Basnet is one of several in Nepal who have started groups to get children out of prison. Since 2005, she has assisted more than 100 children of incarcerated parents. She runs a day care program for children under 6 and a residential home where mostly older children receive education, food, medical care and a chance to live a more normal life.
"I had a very fortunate life, with a good education," Basnet said. "I should give it to somebody else."
Basnet was just 21 when she discovered her calling, she said. While her family ran a successful business, she was studying social work in college. As part of her studies, she visited a women's prison and was appalled by the dire conditions. She also was shocked to discover children living behind bars.
One baby girl grabbed Basnet's shawl and gave her a big smile.
"I felt she was calling me," Basnet said. "I went back home and told my parents about it. They told me it was a normal thing and that in a couple of days I'd forget it. But I couldn't forget."
Basnet decided to start a day care to get incarcerated children out from behind the prison walls. While her parents were against the idea at first -- she had no job or way to sustain it financially -- eventually they helped support her. But prison officials, government workers and even some of the imprisoned mothers she approached doubted that someone her age could handle such a project.
"When I started, nobody believed in me," Basnet said. "People thought I was crazy. They laughed at me."
But Basnet was undaunted. She got friends to donate money, and she rented a building in Kathmandu to house her new organization, the Early Childhood Development Center. She furnished it largely by convincing her parents that they needed a new refrigerator or kitchen table; when her parents' replacement would arrive, she'd whisk the old one to her center.
Just two months after she first visited the prison, Basnet began to care for five children. She picked them up at the prison every weekday morning, brought them to her center and then returned them in the afternoon. Basnet's program was the first of its kind in Kathmandu; when she started, some of the children in her care had never been outside a prison.
Two years later, Basnet established the Butterfly Home, a children's home where she herself has lived for the past five years. While she now has a few staff members who help her, Basnet is still very hands on.
"We do cooking, washing, shopping," she said. "It's amazing, I never get tired. (The children) give me the energy. ... The smiles of my children keep me motivated."
Coordinating all of this is no easy task. But at the Butterfly Home, the older kids help care for the younger ones and everyone pitches in with household chores. The atmosphere feels like an extremely large family, a feeling that's fostered by Basnet, who smothers the children with love. The children reciprocate by calling her "Mamu," which means "Mommy."
"I don't ever get a day off, but if I [didn't] have the children around me, it would be hard," she said. "When I'm with them, I'm happy."
All the children are at the Butterfly Home with the consent of the imprisoned parent. When Basnet hears about an imprisoned child, she'll visit the prison -- even in remote areas of the country -- and tell the parent what she can provide. If the parent agrees, Basnet brings the child back.
She is still eager, however, for the children to maintain relationships with their parents. During school holidays, she sends the younger children to the prisons to visit, and she brings them food, clothing and fresh water during their stay. Ultimately, Basnet wants the families to reunite outside prison, and 60 of her children have been able to do just that.
Parents like Kum Maya Tamang are grateful for Basnet's efforts. Tamang has spent the last seven years in a women's prison in Kathmandu. When she was convicted on drug charges, she had no other options for child care, so she brought her two daughters to jail with her. When she heard about Basnet's program, she decided to let them go live with her.
"If Pushpa wasn't around, (they) could have never gotten an education ... (they) would have probably had to live on the streets," she said. "I feel she treats (them) the way I would."
Tamang's oldest daughter, Laxmi, said she can't imagine life without Basnet.
"My life would have been dark without her," said Laxmi, 14. "I would've probably always had a sad life. But now I won't, because of Pushpa."
In 2009, Basnet started a program to teach the parents how to make handicrafts, which she sells to raise money for the children's care. Both mothers and fathers participate. It not only gives them skills that might help them support themselves when they're released, but it also helps them feel connected to their children.
"Often, they think that they're useless because they're in prison," Basnet said. "I want to make them feel that they are contributing back to us."
Making ends meet is always a struggle, though. The children help by making greeting cards that Basnet sells as part of her handicraft business. In the past, she has sold her own jewelry and possessions to keep the center going.
Her biggest concern is trying to find ways to do more to give the children a better future. She recently set up a bank account to save for their higher educations, and one day she hopes to buy or build a house so they'll always have a place to call home. Their happiness is always foremost in her thoughts.
"This is what I want to do with my life," she said. "It makes me feel (good) when I see that they are happy, but it makes me want to work harder. ... I want to fulfill all their dreams."
Because Online Friends Make a Real Difference
"My 4-year-old son, Cole, has lymphoma. I've gotten a lot of support from the women at CafeMom.com, but one mom, Linda, is amazing. For Cole's birthday she got people from all over the country to send him cards. The response was overwhelming. With a sick child every smile is precious, so I'll always be grateful for these moments of joy."
-- Michelle Chunn, Sacramento, California