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Veteran With PTSD Releases Special Book For Daughter, ‘Why is Dad So Mad?’

Sherry Rucherman

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Seth Kastle is an Army veteran who served for sixteen years in the military, spending much of his time overseas. Upon returning home, Kastle was a very different person. Despite having a job, a loving family, and all of the friends that he could ask for, things were still very different. For many soldiers, their return home is often the most jarring moment of their entire lives. What many soldiers end up dealing with, and suffering from, is something known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that tends to develop in response to stressful events or traumatizing experiences, such as those faced by most soldiers who go to war. Kastle is just like many other soldiers who return home with a new case of PTSD because he didn’t really even know what it was. Kastle said of his experience with the disorder, “I waited until it was too late. I didn’t even know what PTSD was.” 

For Kastle and his family, the fallout from PTSD can be downright devastating. Kastle was a different person, and his PTSD would cause him to push away those that he cared about. What’s worse, Kastle also suffered from angry outbursts which were exacerbated by the depression that sent him to drinking. Kastle says, “There have been a thousand times looking back where my wife should have left me.” Despite his struggles, Kastle’s family stayed close to help him work through his new and devastating disorder.

Kastle struggled to join any meaningful VA therapy groups because time slots were either always full or scheduled in such a way that he’d never have been able to attend. At the end of the day, things were looking very bleak. Eventually, and thankfully, Kastle was able to find a therapeutic resource that worked for him. Most PTSD resources help you to understand the topic on a medical level, but that medical level isn’t easy to translate to your young daughter, as was the problem with Kastle. To bridge the gap between the man he was and the man he became, Kastle needed a way to talk to his daughter about his problem.

To reach his young daughter, Kastle ended up writing down an experience that he had with PTSD. He filed the document away on his computer intending to leave it to rot. That is, until, a close friend of Kastle’s published their own book. Kastle was inspired to follow suit, but Kastle was going to take his story in a different direction.

When Kastle decided to write his own book, he knew exactly where to go. He pulled the story off of his computer and instantly began to translate it into a story that his daughter would understand. Kastle says, “There’s a section in the book where I describe the anger and things associated with PTSD as a fire inside my chest.”  When Kastle read this segment to his young daughter she replied, “I’m sorry you have a fire in your chest now, dad.” At the time, she was just four-years-old.

Kastle ended up publishing the children’s book under the title, ‘Why is Dad So Mad?’ The story featured a number of illustrations that featured animals in place of humans. With amazing artwork and palatable language, the book served as an instant bridge between father and daughter. Kastle says that his goal with the book is to erode the stigma that has developed around PTSD, to erase ‘warrior culture’ and to remove the concept of masculinity from dealing with the disorder.

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Dog Survives Cancer By Wearing Outlandish Costumes

Leslie Tander

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Whenever dogs and cats get spayed or neutered, they have to wear the “cone of shame.” It’s that big uncomfortable plastic cone that keeps them from being able to bite at their stitches- which would be pretty messy and unpleasant for everyone. But, anyone who has ever had a pet in the cone of shame knows- they really hate it. Sometimes they try furiously to get out of it, and sometimes they just lay down and whine- but that ALWAYS hate it.

But we found one exceptional case of a golden retriever that actually seemed to enjoy his come. Rusty is a 9-year-old retriever who had a rare case of bladder cancer. Fortunately, Mary and Madeline are very proactive about Rusty’s health and take him in for checkups regularly. Rusty’s cancer was spotted and diagnosed early. That gave Mary and Madeline a lot of hope- but naturally, they were very worried about their furry pal. Rusty didn’t show any signs of illness, except for visible weakness in his left hind leg, which he would favor. This, it turned out to be caused by pain in his abdomen when he put weight on the leg.

After being diagnosed, he was scheduled quickly and put on a regimen of chemo. The surgery went well, but Rusty had to wear the cone, as well as having to be forced to take a long period of rest. Because Rusty is a very energetic character, his rest period had to be chemically enforced. Rusty had to take medicine to make him calm enough to get through his rest period.

But Rusty’s owners Mary and Madeline had an idea to help Rusty get through his recovery, as well as to help fund his medical bills. It was around Halloween, and the two started making creative costume designs out of Rusty’s cone of shame.

They first turned him into a martini with a toothpick and olives made from construction paper. Then they turned his cone into a shark’s head with teeth, eyes, and fins. Then they make him into a “shush puppy” with wadded up, colored packing paper and a straw made from a tube. At one point Rusty found himself transformed into a submarine with a hull and a domed window. He was made into a space alien, a bowling ball, a long list of cocktails, a ghost, and many other outlandish things.

Not surprisingly, Mary and Madeline took some heat from online communities for their creative use of Rusty’s cone. People said it was abusive. They said it was a waste of their time. And sometimes they said truly awful things because- well, this is the Internet. But Mary and Madeline could see that Rusty was having as much fun as they were- and the support, both emotionally and financially, was overwhelming.

Rusty loved the laughs and the attention he was getting and started to really get into his costumes. On top of that, Rusty developed a hearty following on Instagram as his costumes grew wilder and more imaginative.

Eventually, Rusty’s cone was removed and he made a full recovery. While some derided the use of his medical predicament as something to be made fun of, others could see that Rusty was having as much fun as his owners. But perhaps best of all, many other pet owners with pets donning the cone of shame have made a tradition out of dolling up their medically yoked pets.

As for Rusty, he’s somewhat of a pioneer, as well as a cancer survivor. And he still enjoys having creative costumes made for him even though he no longer has his cone for them to be built upon.

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Lifestyle

Blind Golden Retriever Makes Fast Friends With His ‘Seeing Eye’ Companion.

Sherry Rucherman

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If you are a living and breathing human being like us, you hate to see innocent animals suffer. In 2016, Charlie, a golden retriever, would end up losing both of his eyes due to a medical emergency. As an older dog, Charlie didn’t have to grow up without his vision.  Naturally, his owners were concerned about how their dog would adapt to life without being able to see. They knew that they had to do something to help their furry family member, so they decided to adopt a ‘seeing eye’ dog. If you can sense how cute this story is about to be, get ready to grab your tissues. We wouldn’t blame you if you cried from cute joy.

Adam Stipe adopted Charlie when the golden retriever was just a puppy. After nine years together, Charlie ended up losing his left eye due to complications resulting from glaucoma. Within a year, Charlie would lose his right eye, as well. By this time, Adam and his wife Chelsea had emptied their retirement bank account in order to pay for the treatment that had kept Charlie alive. Adam and Chelsea had also recently become pregnant. Talk about sudden life changes! In order to prepare for the baby, as well as better the life of Charlie, they decided to make a change.

When New Year’s Day arrived in 2019, Chelsea and Adam would welcome Maverick into their home. Maverick was an excitable golden retriever puppy who was ready to make new friends. Adam and Chelsea had adopted Maverick for a multitude of reasons. First and foremost, they wanted to bring a puppy home to help Charlie get around the house. Second, Adam and Chelsea also wanted a puppy to grow alongside their newborn baby. While adding a baby and puppy to your house at the same time can be tough, the loving family managed to work it out!

After a bit of tension, Charlie and Maverick would soon become fast friends. In fact, you couldn’t walk around the house with the two golden retrievers running around together. According to Adam and Chelsea, Maverick quickly became a natural ‘guide companion’ for Charlie. Maverick learned to play with and guide Charlie around all without being told. According to Chelsea, “Maverick would realize that Charlie would lose the toy sometimes, so Maverick would pick it up and put it back in front of him to re-engage playtime.”

Due to Maverick’s kindness as well as Charlie’s own loving nature, both dogs have become the best of friends. According to Adam, Charlie has even begun to play like a puppy again. When Charlie was an ‘only dog’, he wouldn’t want to play nearly as much. Despite all the difficulties that life had thrown at Charlie, it is clear that he is being protected, loved, and cared for by the best furry friend anyone could ask for.

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Lifestyle

Couple With 38 Children Spend $52,000 On Groceries Each Year And Don’t Plan On Stopping

Leslie Tander

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In what seems like it should be the latest in a TLC reality television show, a couple from West Virginia has managed to adopt 32 children. 

Jeane and Paul Briggs married back in 1976 after they fell in love with each other at a Christian summer camp. In their first years of marriage, the two had three biological children. But that wasn’t enough for Jeane who always dreamed of having a huge family. Then, in 1985 Jeane got the chance to extend her family one more member. On a mission trip to Mexico, Jeane met and fell in love with a blind orphaned boy named Abraham. There was no turning back at this point for over the next several years, Jeane and Paul would continue to adopt children. 

Jeane started her career as a nurse and often received calls from adoption agencies that asked for advice on more difficult medical cases. This prompted the couple to travel to Russia and Ghana where the children had been abandoned by their parents due to diseases, special needs, deformities like cleft palates, severe autism, and polio.  Additionally, some of the children were aging out of the system and simply had nowhere to go. 

Today, the couple, who spend $52,000 on groceries a year, has 38 children with 25 still living at home with them. 

Of the children that have left, some are in college while the others have gone on to have successful careers. Still others, notably the older children, now have families of their own and look to continue on the family legacy of adopting others.  

Their first adoptee, Abraham, has even started a mission rescue program in his home country of Mexico where he has helped proved hundreds of orphans with safe homes to live. Thanks to Abraham’s life-changing experience of being adopted at a young age, it is no surprise that he’d want to repay the goodwill forward and spend his life dedicated to the children whom, like him, are in desperate need of any help they can get.   

Their other adoptees have begun their own businesses and law practices in cities like New Haven where they work as immigration attorneys to help bring in children from war-torn and unstable countries for a better life in the United States. 

After more than thirty years, the family has stood strong on their philosophy that, with so many people in the world, why continue to have children when you can adopt and give a better life to one of those people who are already on the planet? 

Now in their 60s, it is easy to see how Jeane and Paul Briggs have left a lasting legacy in their small West Virginia community. As a result, they are also the go-to family to ask for advice on how adoption works and whether or not it is a good idea for each individual person. Although, with their own past history of adoption, it would be hard for the couple to dissuade someone against it. 

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