103-Year-Old Gets Sweet and Furry Birthday Surprise

By now, the relationship between humans and dogs is understood by many as no doubt profound, especially through stories like how shelter dogs learned to aid in the therapy of veterans suffering from PTSD or how a man went to great lengths to return an abandoned dog home. I suppose it’s just a case-to-case question of the level of depth or intimacy of the friendship between species.

However, someone equally sweet and equally furry can also provide a deep connection to human friends. Last April, in an inspirational birthday surprise, a 103-year-old woman named Lillian Grant was gifted with a new kitty friend.

Debbie Presland, the administrator at Ridgeview Gardens Assisted Living in St. George, Utah, where Grant lives, asked the centenarian what she’d want if she could pick anything in the world for her birthday present. “A sweet cat like Sammy,” she said, according to Presland.

Sammy was Grant’s beloved cat who passed away about a year ago. Seeing Grant so obviously still heartbroken, Presland wanted to make her wish come true. Along with her brother Joseph Harradine who was an officer at St. George Animal Shelter, they picked out a previously abandoned cat named Marley.

Right before bringing out her birthday cake, Presland told Grant they had a special surprise for her. Harradine brought out Marley and Grant started cuddling her. “The cat just took to her immediately,” Presland told TODAY.

Grant seemed to think that her present was just Marley’s visit. She initially didn’t realize that the cat was going to be hers. When Grant found out that Marley now belonged to her, the 103-year-old woman was almost in tears. Presland herself almost cried as well.

“Just to see her reaction choked me up . . . It was so sweet.”

After the birthday surprise, Grant and Marley are already inseparable. When two lonely species meet, it seems they can give each other life and be each other’s happiness, which makes me want to say… a shelter cat might as well be a woman’s best friend, eh?

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Senior Swimmer Sets Freestyle World Record

World records and the elderly don’t usually ring a bell, unless you’re talking giant casseroles. All the same, some aren’t letting the “old and wretched” stereotype fly, especially not George Corones. The Australian swimmer recently broke the 50-meter long course record by 35 seconds — and he’s 99-years-old!

“It was an exemplary swim for me, well balanced… and I was ready to hit the [wall] at the end very hard with my hand,” he [said].

The superstar senior swam the length in just 56.12 seconds, for the 100 – 104 years men’s category. I didn’t even know people lived that long. Corones’ swimming career was put on hold during World War II and re-commenced at the age of 80.

“I gave it up at the beginning of the war [World War Two], and I don’t think I had a swim of any description until I retired,” he added.

“I started swimming again for exercise.”

Looks like exercise brought this aging man of steel a long, long way! (To the Commonwealth Games trials, to be exact)

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