Some people may have big shoes to fill, but never leave out the chance to do good. In a courageous attempt to save endangered penguins, the Chilean government snubbed a billion-dollar mining project. On the other side of the world, policewoman Gretchen Byrne is transforming the Boca Raton station into an awesome kitten shelter.
“I will get three breaks: A 40-minute lunch break and two 10-minute breaks. Instead of going for pizza with my colleagues I use that time to run to the station and feed them,” she explained. “It all comes out of my paycheck at the end of the day but I don’t have kids so it is probably still cheaper than having kids.”
In just two years, Byrne has rescued 63 cats, knowing shelters would be too full to take them in. She uses Instagram as a platform to advertise her precious adoptables. Though her four-legged tenants can be rambunctious, Byrne claims they also help her to relax.
“The other thing is that is really nice to come home and have kittens to help me destress. I’m dealing with a lot of stuff on road patrol.”
If there is one thing we’re sure of, it’s that Byrne takes the notion of cat lady to a whole new level!
There isn’t a lot that dogs can’t do, besides — of course — talk (although we wish they could). They’re keeping greenhouses safe and even proving to paraplegics that anything is possible. But unwanted pit bull Ghost is turning even more tables, becoming Washington’s first deaf K-9 officer.
“Barb found Ghost to be a very stable dog,” [said Jeremy] Barclay [of Washington State Dept. of Corrections]… “He was very focused and determined to locate his ball when thrown or hidden. This makes for a more trainable dog for drug contraband detection. His high energy was also key.”
The adorable pup was found as a stray, jumping from Swamp Haven Rescue to Olympic Peninsula Humane Society. Ghost now bunks in with handler Joe Henderson, keeping bad guys at bay in the morning.
“I think it’s wonderful that he has his forever home while benefiting the public safety of our citizenry,” said Barclay.
Ghost is definitely the good boy America needed.
For street-dwellers, a single blanket or free meal often goes a long way. What often makes the greatest impact is an occasional resting place, be it in a shelter or elsewhere. Still, this remains unlikely for most, but do-gooder Xavier Van der Stappen is revising that statistic. With the help of local factories, Van der Stappen designed portable origami tents for the homeless in Brussels.
“There are homeless people everywhere. When I saw them, it made me remember refugee camps in Africa,” said Van der Stappen, the man behind the ORIG-AMI project.
“It is a shame that in the 21st century there are still people living in streets in a very rich country like Belgium.”
The cardboard creations (ORIG-AMI), easy to dismantle, combat a ban against canvas tents and city camping. They will also provide temporary shelter to those rejected by overbooked hostels. Despite their early success, Van der Stappen continues to vie for a long-term solution to homelessness.
“I‘m not the person who is trying to solve it. I just try to find a solution for today, not for tomorrow,” he said.
For those not quite anticipating a tomorrow, ORIG-AMI makes a good contender for an interim home.
Too often, we underestimate the giving nature of children. But kids like Jayden Perez, who ran a toy drive for Puerto Rican youths, are what give Generation Z a good rep. Continuing the streak is 9-year-old Mikah Frye, who gave up his Xbox One to purchase blankets for the homeless.
“He knew what it was like to not have a blanket at night and have to give it back,” said his grandmother, Terry Brant. “So the first thing he wanted to do is give a blanket that they could keep.”
Clearly, it was firsthand experience that encouraged Mikah to donate blankets (60 of them) to the needy. Moved by the gesture, tech giant Microsoft made a donation of their own — to Mikah. The generous preteen scored a brand new Xbox, and deservedly so.
“It’s just amazing, it’s a blessing, Mikah is a blessing to our family and we thank you very much,” said Brant.
Giving back is never about the rewards that come in return. But this one sure is swanky!
Homelessness continues to plague millions who remain under the poverty line. While the chances of a better life often remain slim, generous donors and establishments such as universities can make a difference. Opening its doors to 200 rough sleepers, the London Euston station will act as a shelter on Christmas Day.
“Many people become homeless because of relationship breakdowns so Christmas can be a particularly lonely time for some of our residents,” said Beth Norden, community and events manager at St. Mungo’s [charity].
Independently, the homelessness charity supports roughly 2,700 homeless people across the U.K. It may seem only a ripple in the water, but with over 300 ongoing projects, a single plate of food may save a life.
“This will be a fantastic fun day for our homeless friends that we will all hope could be replicated anywhere and everywhere.” Steve Naybour, of Network Rail, said.
Working over the holidays is all too much a reality. While nobody looks forward to late night shifts on Christmas, giving back could be a game-changer.
Beyond the fluff, dogs are more than just a humble companion. They act as guides for both humans and animals (including cheetahs!). However, most therapy animals are purchased from breeders, not shelters. This former marine is training abandoned dogs to help veterans suffering from PTSD, giving both a second chance at life.
In 2014, [Chris Baity] and his wife, Amanda, 35, launched Semper K9 Assistance Dogs, which provides free, trained rescue animals to be the equivalent of battle buddies for veterans suffering from physical or mental disabilities.
The dogs are trained to detect oncoming anxiety attacks and distract owners until they are calm. Because of its success, Baity’s organization has been recognized across the nation.
The volunteer-run nonprofit earned Baity the 2016 Red Bandanna Hero Award, which recognizes those whose efforts have made a difference and enhanced lives in an extraordinary way.
Remember, folks — not all heroes wear capes. Or pants.
With over 100 million on the streets, it’s places like Studio Elmo Vemijs that are providing them with temporary refuge. In the absence of shelters in Dublin, an Islamic center in Clonskeagh is welcoming anyone in need of sanctuary as Hurricane Ophelia hits.
“We provide food and soup,” said [administrator Malek Madani]. “It’s the minimum that we can do as humanitarians. We try to contribute along with council organizations, who have helped us with beds, too.”
One of the worst storms to hit Ireland in just over 50 years, Ophelia will likely be devastating. To avoid casualties, the city has closed schools, cancelled flights, and advised motorists to refrain from being on the road. Madani is encouraging other centers across Ireland to follow suit.
“They are part of society and they should too,” he said. “We never know [who will come during the storm] but we try to do our best.”
With over 100,000 homes off the power grid, the Islamic center is setting the benchmark for other groups.
A few months ago, Canada became the first country to ban the sale of puppy mill animals in pet stores. This saw a rise in the adoption of shelter pets, including Tory the rescue dog. He now belongs to the South Korea president and is the nation’s new “First Dog.”
The president says the adoption shows “that both humans and animals should be free from prejudice and discrimination,”
Animal rights formed part of President Moon’s election campaign, where he pledged to build more playgrounds for pets and feeding facilities for stray cats.
President Moon Jae-in actively combats biases against black dogs in particular. Despite being rescued two years prior, Tory struggled to find a home for this very reason. However, Tory’s arrival was definitely well-received.
The minority Justice Party presented President Moon with a luxury dog bed, pointing out that the gift doesn’t count under anti-corruption laws as it was for the dog rather than the president himself.
Animal rights groups in South Korea continue to resist the dog meat trade. Lucky for Tory, he’s off the menu.
Some animals have gone above and beyond to improve the lives of humans and give back to nature. They have helped restore forests and even acted as guides for other animals. Sometimes, they are indebted to us, and other times, we are to them. This genius bat house provides shelter to occasional visitors and also helps households eliminate mosquitoes.
Made of sustainably sourced, rot-resistant cedar, the four bat box models feature clean lines and angular edges.
Creators Harrison Broadhurst and Christoper Rännefors ensured that the boxes had features like grip pads, good ventilation, and appropriate spacing between interior panels.
Because bats are insect-loving mammals, you can also say goodbye to any potential mosquito problems.
Broadhurst and Rännefors founded the bat-friendly startup because of concerns over the spread of the Zika virus and an awareness that chemicals used to kill mosquitoes can also poison local wildlife. But the average bat can eat thousands of insects in a single night.
The bat house, playfully dubbed BatBnB, is a clever solution to backyard pests. And where I’m currently living? You can count me in.
Every now and then, I catch features of impossible rescues on Animal Planet. I’ve witnessed kittens trapped in pipes, and birds caught in fishing nets. But for mixed-breed dog Alexandra, who was stuck in a drain, rescuing had to wait–for nearly 3 years.
A girl named Lena called [a] shelter and practically implored them to rescue a dog that had fallen down an uncovered drain, into a complex central heating system. Lena and other kindhearted people had been throwing the dog food, but, so far, they had been unable to rescue it.
Lena… told volunteers at the dog shelter that over the last three years, she had contacted the Ministry for Emergency Situations, various activists and even professional dog handlers, but no one expressed a desire to help.
Only recently did a shelter in Nikopol answer Lena’s pleas to rescue the stray. To be honest, it was about time. Elena, a volunteer at the shelter, expressed her disdain for the lack of effort to rescue Alexandra.
“For nearly a week, the dog, which we named Alexandra… has been living at our shelter,” Elena says. “Obviously, she is still terrified… She needs to get used to the sounds and smells around her, to people and other dogs.”
Throughout history, we have seen dogs become heroes. Perhaps it’s our turn to be theirs.