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How One Dog Rescued His Veteran Owner and Changed His Life

Mackenzie Freeman

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After experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like a natural disaster, car accident, or combat, many people can have PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder. Dan Lasko is one of those people.

Dan was deployed to Afghanistan in 2004 with Operation Enduring Freedom. While there, he was hit with an explosion that caused him to lose his left leg, which had to be amputated. He was honorably discharged and was able to go back home to his loving wife and children, but he wasn’t the same. He was afraid to leave the house, be around large crowds, and was always looking over his shoulder because he was afraid. He was suffering from PTSD, like many veterans do after coming home from war. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, of the veterans that served during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, 11-20% have PTSD. In the U.S. alone, over 8 million adults have PTSD in a given year. That’s a lot of people.

To help battle this mental illness, Dan got Wally, a black Labrador, with the help of America’s Vet Dogs. Vet Dogs is a New York charity that helps provide service dogs to veterans and first responders who have PTSD, seizures, physical injuries, and hearing and vision loss. Service dogs are specially trained to help its owner cope with day to day activities. For those suffering from PTSD, their service dogs are trained to patrol the perimeter of the room to help the vet feel safe when they enter, turn on lights to stop a nightmare, and blocking a person that may be coming too close to the veteran.

Studies have shown that interactions with dogs increase the stress-reducing hormone, oxytocin. An increase in oxytocin levels can help counteract feelings of paranoia, can improve trust, and can positively affect social skills. Dogs naturally create a nurturing response in people, and as a result, veterans with PTSD can begin to reconnect with people, when before they may have shut them out.

After having Wally in his life, Dan has said he has been able to heal and learned a lot. Wally taught him patience, loyalty, and how to be himself again. He no longer felt like he had to look over his shoulder wherever he went, and he was able to begin enjoying things that mattered to him with his family and friends.

Wally gave him a second chance, and he and his family decided to give a second chance and a loving home to Maggie, a rescue dog. Dan said that Wally took care of him when he needed it, so he wanted to return the favor. Maggie had a hard life and so did he. With the help of Wally, they could provide Maggie the same support he received and could be one big happy family.

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Animals

Snapchat’s Cartoon Face Feature Is Driving Dog Owner’s Wild

Lea Lomas

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A lot of people have fun with the myriad of features that the Snapchat applications provide. Filters are the most commonly used features on the platform. Pet owners are now starting to use filters to give their dogs a Disney-ish appearance. Snapchatters of all ages and ethnicities are spending hours of their time applying various filters to their furry friend and posting them for other users to enjoy. Even some users who didn’t know how to maneuver Snapchat before are using it now just to get their Disney fix. I must admit that I was never a Snapchat user until I heard about the feature. I thought it would be fun for me to try it out on my dog. We were just sitting around down nothing during the quarantine, so I figured,” Why not? It might be fun.” I was surprised at how easy it was for me to navigate the application and use the feature to make my dog look like a Disney character. If you own a dog, you might want to try it out because it’s currently the latest new trend. You’ll get a few laughs out of it at the very least.

About the Filter

The name of the filter that people are using is called “Cartoon Face.” It wasn’t necessarily designed for dogs, but a random dog owner used it one day and somehow turned it into an overnight sensation. The person’s picture ended up getting tens of thousands of views and likes. It only takes one person’s picture getting attention for that picture to turn into a brand new trend. Now, people like me, a middle-aged dog owner, are starting to use the feature more frequently. Snapchat’s user base has probably risen drastically since this new feature has been available. I use Snapchat all the time now, and you might end up becoming a frequent user, as well. 

How the Filter Works

It’s very easy for you to use the filter. I’m not a tech-savvy person at all, and I found it to be quite user-friendly. All you need to do is to activate the lens and choose the embellishments before you snap the picture of your dog. The two features that most people are using are the “big eye” feature and the brow-changing feature. These features are making their dogs look like they came from movies such as “Lady and the Tramp.” My pooch immediately looked like she was straight from the movie. My friends and family members loved the pictures, and they started using Snapchat and its features the same day I did. We all communicate with the app all the time now. 

Other users have stated that the application features have been very easy to use. They’ve also stated that they had an easier time applying the features to dogs who were lighter in color than they did with dogs who were darker colors. 

The Bottom Line

If you’re someone who likes to play with application features that change appearances, then you will probably get a kick out of the “Cartoon Face” feature on Snapchat. It might very well be a feature that causes more people from the older generations to download the application and participate with its toys and such. 

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Animals

Shelter Comes Up With Magical Photoshoot To Help Pregnant Dogs Get Adopted!

Leslie Tander

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Did you know that there are more than 6.5 million companion pets stuck in shelters around the United States? This annual number does not even take into account more than 1.5 million shelter animals that are tragically euthanized every single year due to a lack of attention from prospective owners. With so many people opting to adopt from private owners and puppy mills, it can be hard for shelters to get attention from potential puppy-parents. In order to bring some attention to their pregnant and lovable pups, this shelter in Virginia decided to do something a little different. Keep on reading to find out how one animal shelter in Virginia changed the game by giving their dogs a fair chance at being adopted!

Homeward Trails Animal Rescue is based out of Fairfax Station, VA. Like any other animal shelter, Homeward Trails Animal Rescue has continued to struggle when it comes to adopting out their older, pregnant, and physically handicapped animals. While most people fall in love with puppies when they go to the shelter, these older dogs require love and attention, too! In order to get as much attention as possible for their pregnant doggos, Homeward Trails decided to have an incredible, hilarious, and touching photoshoot!

When Homeward Trails decided to launch their photoshoot, they knew that they had to bring a bunch of fun themes into the equation. For Shelley, an older pregnant dog, the shelter decided to go with a glamorous look, as you can see here. With an adorable flower bow on her head and a pink shawl, Shelley managed to steal the attention of everyone scrolling through their Facebook feed. 

The team at Homeward Trails elected to perform a maternity photoshoot for Shelly to bring in extra clicks while they had the attention of social media. The hilarious photos that were released would quickly go viral, causing Shelley to become something of a buzzworthy pup on social media! As the mainstream media began reporting on the story, Homeward Trails received even more attention for their pregnant, old, and otherwise incapacitated dogs in need of new forever homes.

Following the maternity photoshoot that we referenced above, Shelley would give birth to ten beautiful puppies as reported by Good Morning America andPeople. The beautiful litter coupled with the stunning viral photographs would net Shelley her first and final forever home. According to workers at Homeward Trails Animal Rescue, this was one of the few times that a mama-dog got adopted before any of her puppies.  In addition to the success that Homeward Trails had with Shelley, the shelter also found a home for an older pregnant pup named Fiona, pictured here as an adorable angel.

With millions of wonderful and loving animals being sent to shelters every single year, now is the perfect time to save a life. Consider checking out your local animal shelter when it comes time to adopt your next furry friend.

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Animals

Unforgettable Papillon Dogs That Look Like They Have Wings

Leslie Tander

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Lots of people are familiar with corgi dogs. In fact, corgi dogs are very popular. These dogs have a very distinctive appearance, and they’ve appeared in a lot of television shows and movies. While papillon dogs also have a very unique look to them, some papillon owners say that a lot of people don’t yet know about these dogs. 

Of course, papillon dogs have a very striking appearance, so a lot of people will still ask questions about these dogs when they see them. However, people will not always know that the dogs come from a famous breed of their own. Some people just think that papillon dogs are interesting mixed breeds. However, plenty of successful show dogs have been papillons. 

This breed actually has a few names, which is one of the reasons why they’re not as famous as they might be in the future. Some people refer to these dogs as ‘dwarf spaniels.’ They’re also sometimes identified as ‘continental toy spaniels.’ When they’re in dog shows, they’ll usually be part of the ‘toy’ category of dogs. 

Papillons are very small dogs, and their broad, fluffy ears are very recognizable. These petite dogs were actually named after the original French word for ‘butterfly.’ Anyone who has ever seen a papillon dog will immediately know why this was the case. From the front, the full and long fur at their ears looks a lot like butterfly wings. 

The dogs have small heads and relatively broad ears, which only makes their ears that much more obvious. Their fur in general is very long and smooth. The dogs might almost look as if they’re wearing silk shirts. 

Some papillon dogs have a slightly different look to them, because their ears are not as raised, comparatively speaking. Many people in Europe call these dogs ‘moths’ or ‘phalene’ dogs. While some people might assume that these sorts of dogs are part of a very different dog breed at this point, they’re still papillon dogs. Even dog breeds can be much more varied than a lot of people think. Still, once people learn about papillon dogs, it’s very easy to identify them. 

Many people now own papillon dogs. However, at one point in history, it was only aristocrats who had them. These dogs were there to provide companionship. Plenty of modern pet dogs come from breeds that were once used for hunting and working, but this is not the case with papillon dogs. They were more or less always supposed to be pets, which shouldn’t be especially surprising. 

They aren’t big enough to be guard dogs or hunting dogs. Their very long and soft fur is great for a companion dog, but it would be a liability to any working dog. However, these dogs are perfect as pet dogs, since they’re very gentle and smart. They can get along well with most people, so social dog owners shouldn’t run into any issues when they have papillon dogs. 

Papillon dogs are related to spaniels. It’s possible to see a lot of early papillon dogs in the paintings of aristocrats and merchants throughout early modern Europe. The famous Marie Antoinette may have had one, although she did have a lot of dogs, and historians aren’t sure about all of the exact dog breeds she kept.  

Many historians think that papillon dogs originally came from Italy or Spain. This breed has certainly been around for a long time by this point in history, and they should only become more popular in the future. Plenty of people are seeing them online today, and they’re a difficult breed to forget. 

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