Jamie Lewis and Denine Davies’ son Mason was diagnosed with autism a few months ago, and they were struggling to find a barber who could help their boy sit down and feel comfortable during a haircut. Because of sensory overload, haircuts are often difficult and even painful for people with autism. Hairdresser James Williams tried a number of times to give Mason a cut, but he hadn’t yet succeeded.
“Over last few months I have been attempting to find different ways how to cut Mason’s hair,” Williams, based in Wales, wrote on his Facebook page, “but he wouldn’t allow me to go near one of his ears. He would run away on times if he wasn’t up to it.”
Instead of forcing Mason to do something uncomfortable, one day Williams dropped to the floor with him.
While the intention behind starting zoos might have been honorable, many have, unfortunately, become more similar to a car collection than an animal conservation effort.
As animal rights organization PETA has said, wildlife in captivity often “spend much of their time pacing, walking in tight circles, swaying or rolling their heads, and showing other signs of psychological distress.” Obviously, animals will always do best in the wild, roaming free in their natural setting, rather than living in poorly decorated and artificially lit living spaces.
Even the argument for conservation hits a few flat notes. Few animals in captivity are endangered, as Zoos prefer to showcase exotic species to wow the public. This is entertaining to humans, but not beneficial for the animals.
To be fair, there are beneficial organizations aiding in the conservation of endangered animals. The San Diego Zoo, for example, cares for Nola, one of the last four Northern White Rhinos in the world. Without their aid, she would likely be killed by poachers within days.
But, overall, it is the minority seeming to be investing in the well-being of the animal long-term, and this is likely why most animals in captivity live shorter lives than they do in the wild.
This is exactly what photographer Gaston Lacombe sought to convey when shooting his series entitled “Captive”. The pictures below expose the conditions many animals live in each day, detached from their natural origin.
Credit: Gaston Lacombe
Eleven-year-old Bella Burton from Woburn, Mass., suffers from Morquio Syndrome, a rare genetic condition that leads to organ damage, abnormal bone development and dwarfism. The disease makes it difficult for the young girl to walk, but with the help of her two-year-old service dog named George, Bella’s days are made a bit easier.
George is not your regular service dog. He is no Golden Retriever, but a Great Dane, and thanks to his large size, Bella is able to walk with a lot more ease.
The young girl was diagnosed with the debilitating disease at the age of two. Her mobility has always been aided by either crutches or a wheelchair, but since George came to her life this past January, Bella gained her independence.
“He helps me a lot,” Bella told ABC news. “I lean on him like a crutch.”
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A dog named Kirsch earned an Honorary Master’s Degree at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education. This adorable service dog sat through all the classes together with his human, Carlos Mora. He was able to attend the classes included in Mr. Mora’s program for him to finish his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. So during graduation day, Kirsch was also with Mr. Mora, wearing a cap and graduation gown.
Kirsch was the most adorable graduate there. He and his human were the last ones called on stage. And when they were called, this was what the college officials said,
“Our last counseling degree graduate to walk across the stage tonight is Carlos Mora and his service dog, Kirsch. Since Kirsch sat through every class with Carlos, both will be receiving a master’s degree in mental health counseling. We want everyone to know that Kirsch was not charged for his degree.”
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