Having to go up on the witness stand in a courthouse can be a frightening and intimidating time for anyone. For an adult or child that has experienced a traumatic event, it can be even worse. To lessen the anxieties and tensions in the courtroom, the foundation Courthouse Dogs was created by Ellen O’Neill Stephens and Celeste Walsen.
They knew from the get-go it is the perfect solution to helping children and adults feel better and more confident when they have to testify in court. Ellen and Celeste make a strong team for the cause, Ellen is a retired prosecutor and Celeste is a veterinarian.
O’Neill explained to Upworthy, “When a person is reliving a traumatic event, they experience physiological reactions similar to what they had when the event was taking place. This adversarial system [of testifying in front of your attacker] is brutal. A lot of people come out damaged by it.”
This is especially true for children who are often too traumatized to speak of their abuse, especially in front of their attacker. Many kids shut down and don’t want to talk, especially if their parents are not allowed in the interview with them. When you introduce a dog to the situation everything changes, the child begins to pet the dog, calm down and is much more likely to open up.
Meet Sonya, she took in a litter of prickly orphan critters. Four orphaned hedgehog babies found their new mom after they lost their own. The cat mama started nursing them alongside her own kitten when they were introduced to her. Her motherly instinct kicked in and she adopted them as her own.
The little hedgehogs not only have gained a new mom, but also a furry kitty brother. It is an unusual but very happy and adorable family.
Stuart first made headlines this year after beautiful photos of the inspiring model went viral. It wasn’t so much the photos that were special, but rather, Stuart herself: She has Down syndrome. But Stuart has never let that stop her from reaching for the stars, and her hard work is paying off. She’s been working on multiple campaigns over the past few months. But that wasn’t enough. Always pushing new boundaries, this talented young lady has just announced that she’s going to take part in New York Fashion Week with MODA in association with the Christopher Reeve Foundation this fall.
Children who read books to Courtney Holmes have received a free haircut as part of a community event to help families prepare for the upcoming school year.
“I just want to support kids reading,” the Dubuque, Iowa barber said.
The event was the result of collaboration between multiple community partners and nonprofit organizations.
St. Mark Youth Enrichment gave away books during the event, some of which were read to Holmes. Outreach coordinator Beth McGorry with St. Mark said she enjoyed watching Holmes help young children sound out the words they didn’t know yet.
This is Bubba, a cat so popular at Leland High School in San Jose, California he was issued his own “student” ID card. Bubba is not a stray cat, but a close neighbor to the high school. The Marienthal family’s yard backs up to the school’s campus.
Good news for rescue groups, shelter volunteers, and animal lovers everywhere: efforts to put “puppy mills” out of business are paying off!
On July 30, 2015, a federal judge in Phoenix, Arizona upheld a city law requiring all dogs sold in pet stores to come only from shelters or non-profit rescues. The ruling was mandated to help cut “puppy mill” profits.
If you’re not aware, “puppy mills” are notoriously cruel for a number of reasons. First, they focus on breeding solely for profit, therefore, the welfare of the animal is rarely a priority. Second, female dogs spend a good portion of their life impregnated with little time for recovery in between litters. In addition, many dogs live in cramped cages with little room to play or exercise.
At an IKEA location in Cologne, Germany they are testing a new idea, the “dog parking lot,” which is a safe area where dogs can hang out while their owners are shopping in the store.
Each dog has its own space, with fake grass, water and a secure place to tie a leash
While there have not been any pet facilities to open in other areas, the company is planning to hopefully implement this idea worldwide.
House with a Heart, a nonprofit animal shelter located in Gaithersburg, MD, takes in senior dogs to help with end-of-life care. Sher Polvinale started the shelter in 2006 after retiring from an over 30 year career with animal rescue.
A Turkish couple decided to start their marriage off right when they, last week, invited 4,000 Syrian refugees to celebrate with them.
Fethullah Üzümcüoğlu and Esra Polat shared their “I do’s” in Kilis province on the Syrian border, which is presently the location where thousands of refugees are fleeing conflict in the neighboring country.
Hatice Avci, a spokesperson for the organization Kimse Yok Mu, told i100.co.uk that the newly married couple donated their savings their families had put together for a traditional two to three-day wedding and celebrated with one big banquet, inviting the refugees nearby.
The father of the groom, Ali Üzümcüoğlu, conjured up the idea to share a bit of wedding joy with those less fortunate.
“I thought that sharing a big delicious dinner with our family and friends was unnecessary, knowing that there are so many people in need living next door. So I came up with this idea and shared it with my son. I’m very happy that he accepted it and they started their new happy journey with such a selfless action,” he said.
Esra Polat, the bride, shared that she was “shocked when Fethullah first told me about the idea but afterwards I was won over by it. It was such a wonderful experience. I’m happy that we had the opportunity to share our wedding meal with the people who are in real need.”
This story is about a chicken who wanted a chick and a duckling who narrowly escaped a cruel fate.