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Kayla Denney Saves Animals

Mackenzie Freeman

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Five months ago, Kayla Denney agreed to take over a rather dilapidated animal control center.  The pound in Taft, Texas, had no electricity, heat, or room for animals to be comfortable, and it had been mostly ignored by the local community.  In short, the pound was a local embarrassment everyone ignored as much as possible.

Due to its state, very few animals were adopted from the pound.  Wednesday was kill day at the pound, where dogs and cats who could not be adopted were euthanized.  Kayla as appalled at the condition of the pound, but determined to make it better.

First Kayla met with the local police chief, Capt. John Cornish to win his backing for the changes she wanted to make at the pound.  Kayla had spent a lifetime saving and supporting animals.  The first big change she made was an end to the Wednesday kill days.  She determined to make the pound a no-kill facility.

She began by organizing everyone she knew who would be willing to foster pets.  Then she began to involve the community and show them the condition of the pound.  She organized volunteers to work with the animals.  She organized volunteers to find homes for the animals.  She found a volunteer to provide electrical hookup for the pound.  Once she had power, she was able to offer more treatments for the animals in the pound.

Within five months, the pound has completely turned around.  The community was involved and proud of its animal care facility.  Lost animals were returned home more often.  Kayla gave classes on animal care and formed a follow-up service to make sure animals and their owners were working out any problems.  Some of the former pound residents became frequent visitors to play and interact with current animals in care.

Overall, Kayla has saved over 565 animals from destruction and brought a facility too 100% saving rate from one who had 0% saving rate.  Someone in the community noticed and nominated Kayla for Petco Foundation’s Unsung Hero of the Year Award.  The award pays the winner $35,000 and not surprisingly, Kayla became one of the top five finalists, complete with a video on how she turned the pound around.

When it came time to award the final award, Kayla and Taft, Texas found she had won the top award of $35,000.  She plans to use the money, which she should receive in November, to rebuild and expand the local facility.  She wants to add new enclosures for the animals and inside area for them to run around in on rainy days.  She also hopes to install a grassy area for the animals to run on at the facility, so that they do not have to walk on hot concrete during the warm Texas days.  Best of all, other facilities are looking at the techniques Kayla used and starting to copy them for their own facilities.  So, Kayla is now spreading her success to other communities which is just find with her.

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Life

You’re Never Alone, You’re Always Loved

Mackenzie Freeman

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When you look around, what do you see? You probably see people living care-free, going about their day to day lives with ease. That’s only because you only see the surface. If you were to peak underneath, though, you can see the truth. Everyone has struggles. Everyone has demons they are battling.

We all want to put our best self out for the world to see, so we put on a mask and show what we want them to see. With everyone carefully calculating the exact image the world sees them as, it seems like you might be the only one confused, or struggling, or feeling overwhelmed.

You might push yourself away, feeling like nobody understands the way you feel, like nobody has been through your experiences. Maybe you have even opened up to someone, but the response you got showed they didn’t truly understand you. This feeling of isolation, of being alone, can cause you to lock yourself up. 

But you’re not alone. You’re not the only one going through it. They’re out there, thinking those same thoughts, putting on the same mask for everyone to see, so they don’t seem hurt. So they don’t seem fragile. 

When we all wear masks to hide the pain, the turmoil of emotions that is what makes us human, we emotionally isolate ourselves from each other. If we don’t show the world our pain and struggles, we lose essential opportunities to help others with our shared experiences. We are all more alike than we might care to admit.

Nobody is ever alone. Whether it’s friends, family, caretakers, coworkers, neighbors, teachers, or lovers, we all have someone who can relate to our experiences. We all have loved ones looking out for us. They know you. They care for you. They are there for you.

Just because you might not get a text, call, or knock on the door every day from them doesn’t mean they don’t see you as special. You are important to them.

We all show love in different ways. Not everyone is vocal about their feelings, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. They might show it in different ways: a warm meal, a gift during the holidays, or even a hug when they see you. They love you and they want the best for you.

We all get lonely. We all feel like the only one who has gone through something or has felt a certain way. Even if you don’t feel like someone would care about your experience, you have support– someone to encourage you and help you throughout whatever it is you may be going through. They are always there.

It is corny and a cliche, but you will get through this rough time in your life. You will be stronger and you will have a new perspective. You are much stronger than you may think, and you’re even stronger when you’re not alone.

If you haven’t been told recently, you are loved.

If you haven’t been showed it recently, you are loved.

If you haven’t felt it recently, you are loved

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Life

Dog Goes to College in Michigan, to Study!

Mackenzie Freeman

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Golden Retrievers have long been one of the most friendly, affectionate dog breeds available, and one particular Retriever in Michigan lived up to her breed’s reputation. They are fun dogs, easy to train, constantly social with their human masters and others, and extremely loyal. No surprise, Golden Retrievers are often owned in pairs and referred to as one of the best companion dogs to have. They are also regularly chosen for guide dog roles for the same reasons as well. In the case of JJ McGrath, his dog Tahoe was more than just a home companion.

Going to college at Grand Valley State University, JJ wanted to stay connected with his furry friend as much as possible. So, the fellow decided to ask his sociology professor if Tahoe could join JJ in class. Sent by email, the request was titled simply “Dog” in the header, and at first there was no response. JJ wasn’t one to take silence as an answer, so she kept asking until there was a clear response one way or the other.

Now most teachers, whether in college or high school or some other training institution, probably would not allow a dog in a classroom for a variety of reasons unless the dog was there for a bona fide disability support, such as guide dog. Part of the reason is clearly liability and the fear an uncontrolled or nervous dog might harm someone. Dog bites are one of the most common forms of serious injury across the country every year, and they typically come with legal ramifications as well. No surprise, most schools don’t allow animals in classrooms at all unless under controlled lab conditions or as a certified personal aid. The other reason was the possibility of distraction. Small dogs are noisy enough but a large dog that starts making a rack can be heard around an entire neighborhood block. That clearly wouldn’t be conducive in a classroom setting either.

However, nature of dogs in social settings has changed quite a bit. Dogs are now regularly used in health and community setting such as schools and malls to provide companionship and stress-reduction. Even workplaces are allowing pets to be present. Of course, the dogs have to be trained and extremely calm in busy environments to be eligible, but the world has loosened up quite regarding dog presence versus just 10 years ago.

So JJ kept up the campaign and kept sending additional email messages, most including photographs of him and the dog and stressing how friendly the Golden Retriever would be, including not being a threat to anyone and probably making the classroom more interesting to be in. Finally, JJ was successful. His professor relented and agreed to allow it, probably on a trial basis the first day. Tahoe was so excited, she kept looking out the car window on the way school, dog bandana around her neck and all. But JJ and Tahoe weren’t the only ones wanting to know how things turned out the first day. 4,000 followers on social media were tracking the story, the email posts and the final response allowing the dog to attend class with her owner. The story was so interesting, it started to international.

As it turned out, Tahoe did just fine, and even got to participate in class presentations at the front of the class. There were no disruptions, lots of learning and one very happy, social Golden Retriever who probably became one of the few dogs in history to go to college.

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Surprise! 13-Foot Burmese Python Found in Unusual Spot in Florida

Leslie Tander

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What’s the most surprising thing you’ve come across on the road? Maybe you found a spare tire on the road before or perhaps even some clothes.

You can find all sorts of things over the course of your many travels along America’s roads, although it will be pretty hard to top what one man stumbled upon.

Nick Bishop, a native of Los Angeles, was traveling through Florida together with a friend when they spotted something peculiar. What they saw was a large shadow that looked like it was being cast by a big log.

According to this article from Story Trender, Bishop knew right away that it was not just a log that they were looking at however. Bishop, who goes by the nickname “Nick The Wrangler” and was actually in Florida at the time to look for diamondback rattlesnakes, said that he knew right away that there was a python nearby.

Still, Bishop did admit that he did not expect to find the python when he did. He noted that he did not expect pythons to move that far away from where they usually reside. At the time Bishop saw the python, he said that he was about 30 miles away from where those animals are typically found.

Bishop could not afford to stand in awe of the snake for too long though. He knew that there was a vehicle closing in and that he would have to act quickly if he wanted to save the python from a potentially gruesome fate.

A Dance with the Python

Bishop knew he had to act quickly if he was going to move the python to a safe location. That’s why he decided to take matters into his own hands.

This article from The Daily Mail features a video showing Bishop as he attempts to wrangle the enormous Burmese python.

In the video, you can see that Bishop immediately goes for the python’s tail. The python then responds with hostility to Bishop’s actions by hissing in his direction.

Undeterred, Bishop keeps trying to lift the python off the ground in order to get it to safety. The python is not very cooperative though and even lunges at Bishop with its fangs.

Bishop continues with his efforts to wrangle the python and he eventually wears the animal out. With the snake visibly exhausted, he grabs the head and finally places the python under his control. He celebrates his triumph over the python by giving it a kiss on the head.

The snake wrangler goes on to describe his encounter with the wayward Burmese python as one of the most exciting moments of his life. He also regards it as a gift from Mother Nature.

Following his encounter with the python, Bishop handed the animal over to the authorities so that it could be cared for properly.

Learning More about the Python

Surprisingly enough, the 13-foot serpent Bishop saw that day may actually be on the smaller side. Per National Geographic, some Burmese pythons can grow to over 23 feet in terms of length and weigh over 200 pounds.

When they are younger, Burmese pythons like to spend their time high up in the trees. That becomes more difficult for them as they mature however.

Burmese pythons usually eat birds and small mammals. They prey upon those animals by first suffocating them. Thanks to their stretchable jaws, a Burmese python can fit its suffocated prey entirely into its mouth.

Sadly, Burmese pythons are still being hunted down for their skin and flesh. They are also having a harder time finding places to live. Because of that, Burmese pythons have ended up on the threatened species list.

Hopefully, more people like Nick Bishop will show care for Burmese pythons so that they can thrive once more.

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