Across the world, animal shelters share one problem in common: overpopulation. A lack of potential owners willing to adopt mixed-breed and disabled dogs forces many establishments to euthanize their four-legged tenants. Still, many are pushing to give shelter animals a better life. Vancouver is battling puppy mills, while Semper K9 is training shelter dogs to help retired veterans. Now, the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando is sorting its dogs into Hogwarts houses in the hopes of their adoption.
“We want people to look at the dog for their behaviour and personality and what their talents are,” [said] Stephen Bardy, Pet Alliance’s executive director.
By grouping the animals according to their characteristics, Pet Alliance discourages breed discrimination. The shelter takes in nearly 1,800 animals a year — mostly from irresponsible pet owners. The new method allows visitors to more thoroughly determine their best fit.
“We want people to start talking about their own lifestyles and personalities and allow us to match a dog to them not based on looks or breed.”
Encouraging first-time owners to adopt a pit bull may be a stretch — but a pit bull in Gryffindogs? You can count me in.
China may hold the record for housing the world’s fastest high-speed railway, but Florida is making headlines for launching its first. The private rail service will run from West Palm Beach to Fort Lauderdale.
“It’s the first time that it’s happening, being built by a private company,” [says John Renne of the Urban Solutions committee). “And that’s kind of a game changer for this type of model.”
Along with carbon emissions, the $3 million train project will cut 3 million cars from traffic-laden roads. All Abroad Florida hopes to target the state’s densest area of nearly 6 million people.
“The federal highway system expanded … and everyone got off trains and into cars,” [says] John Guitar of All Aboard Florida… “And we’ve done a full circle now that the traffic and congestion and gas prices are so bad, people are looking for alternatives to get out of their cars and find other ways to get around the state.”
For what’ll likely be just $16, passengers can zip from West Palm to Miami in merely an hour. Road trips may be fun, but if I can shave 4 hours off a drive, why not?
There is a special bond between human and animal. Amidst the Nepal floods, elephants rescued some 300 tourists at a safari park from drowning. After the mass devastation caused by Hurricane Irma, Floridians made it their duty to rescue manatees displaced by the disaster.
Two manatees were beached along Florida’s Sarasota Bay when Hurricane Irma sucked water from their usual home and left them stranded in knee-high mud.
Without the response of animal services, passersby took it upon themselves to help the stranded animals. Volunteers rolled them onto tarps, dragging them 100 yards into the water.
“It was a pretty cool experience,” [volunteer] Marcelo Clavijo wrote in his [Facebook] post. “Now back to reality of a hurricane coming.”
The charitable act may not have been a grand one, but it is easily as commendable as any other. If anything, I’m sure those manatees are incredibly grateful.
Mount Trashmore, a landfill-turned-energy-hub in Massachusetts, seems to be encouraging other states to follow suit. (And it looks to be working!) Florida, recently hit by a massive storm, is using Hurricane Irma waste to fuel its power grid.
Combustion reduces the solid waste to ash, and the heat that’s produced runs steam generators. Much of the waste left in Irma’s path will burn, the energy released adding to local communities’ electricity.
While incineration isn’t the most environmentally-friendly method of trash disposal, it’s getting somewhere. Newer technologies are managing pollution, removing mercury and dioxin from waste. A 20% increase in garbage seen after Irma may be problematic, but at least the Department of Environmental Protection is doing something about it.
The county’s 565,000 tons of trash a year produces about 45 megawatts of power, or enough to run about 30,000 homes. “It pays for itself,” Byer said of Hillsborough’s waste-to-energy facility.
A hurricane’s trash is Florida’s treasure.
For the recent victims of Harvey and Irma, several knights in shining armor have come to the rescue. This includes big businesses like Houston Bike Share, that are making donations to families who have lost cars. They also include individuals such as this air force couple who postponed their wedding to rescue Florida citizens.
Michael Davis and Lauren Durham were supposed to get married in mid-September. But one week before the big day, the couple decided to skip their scheduled wedding in order to rescue strangers from Hurricane Irma.
Both are medical technicians, and while their hearts were with one another, they were also with the victims who needed them. Instead of wedding on Atlantic Beach, the two exchanged vows in a Florida hangar.
“The Air Force lives by the creed ‘service before self,’ ” Davis says. “So that’s what we’re here for, to put the citizens first.”
I guess, then, that it’s true. Love can move mountains. Or, in this case, move victims to safety.