Mom Adopts Puppy Without Paw To Help Daughter Without Hands Embrace Uniqueness

2-year-old without hands adopts puppy without paw
(Instagram/vanessamcleod_)

When kids are young, they haven’t yet developed a framework of how things are “supposed to” be. They approach things with curiosity as opposed to judgment, learning as much as they can about the world around them. It takes time for kids to notice things that differentiate them from their peers, and unfortunately, many kids start to view the things that make them unique as negatives. To preemptively instill confidence in her 2-year-old daughter, one mom decided to call for backpup.

Vanessa McLeod from Vancouver B.C. learned that her daughter would be born without hands when she was just 19 weeks pregnant. Though her doctor urged her to consider the quality of life for someone born without hands, McLeod knew that whatever obstacles her daughter faced, they would face them together. Now 2 years old, Ivy is happy and thriving.

“Her favorite thing to do is color and she just uses her toes to hold the markers so she has just learned to do things differently,” McLeod told CTV News.

 

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A post shared by Vanessa McLeod (@vanessamcleod_)

As Ivy grows older, McLeod knows it’s only a matter of time before Ivy starts questioning why she was born different. It’s inevitable, unfortunately – kids make cruel comments, whether they’re intentionally cruel or not. Those comments penetrate our own self-image, and sometimes, they completely overtake the way we see ourselves.

McLeod decided that she needed to give Ivy something solid to point to if she begins to question her own beauty and value, something to remind her that those who look different are just as beautiful as their peers. The determined mom settled on finding a dog for the family, one with a limb difference just like Ivy.

“You know you were born that way but different is beautiful,” she imagined telling her daughter, “and this puppy was also born that way and that is also a beautiful thing.”

Beginning what she anticipated would be a long and difficult search, McLeod set out to find the perfect pup for Ivy. In what felt like a magical turn of events, the search was over just as quickly as it started.

“But on April 6th, the day I initially posted… that very same day, a tiny little puppy was born IN OUR CITY with a little lucky fin,” McLeod wrote on Instagram. “If that’s not fate, I don’t know what is. It’s so very clear to us that she is meant to be part of our family.”

 

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A post shared by Vanessa McLeod (@vanessamcleod_)

As soon as Lucky is old enough to be adopted, she’ll begin her life with her new family. Lucky and Ivy have already formed an incredible bond, one that will only grow stronger once they’re together full time. Though the adorable pup bears the name, everyone involved is likely feeling pretty dang lucky themselves.

Italian Firefighter Overcome With Emotion After Saving Kitten

Italian firefighter emotional after rescuing kitten from hole
(Twitter/Thund3rB0lt)

Few occupations allow you to experience the full spectrum of human emotion quite like being a firefighter. The rush of adrenaline as you respond to a call, the highs of successful days, and the lows when things don’t go as planned. Firefighters have the unique responsibility of addressing unusual emergencies, staying calm while quickly formulating plans for action. There aren’t many things quite as satisfying as saving a life (or so I imagine), but it’s rare that we get a glimpse into the lives of heroes celebrating their wins.

In a recently resurfaced clip, we’re invited to share a touching moment with an Italian firefighter after an incredible rescue. A small kitten around three weeks old fell into a hole in the road, and the small bundle of fur had neither a route or the motor skills to escape. Fortunately, someone heard the kitten’s cries and contacted emergency services.

Without a doubt, working as a firefighter has its fair share of heartbreak. The firefighter in the viral 28-second clip likely really needed a win, and the tiny kitten needed a hero. When the two came together, it was nothing short of magic.

The clip opens with a group of several firefighters surrounding a hole in the ground, one of them laying on his stomach as we hear the heartbreaking cries of a terrified kitten. As the firefighter sits up, we see that his mission was a success – he managed to pull the tiny kitten to safety.

Our hero holds up the kitten, gently petting the small ball of fur as he continues to let out panicked mews. Taking a deep breath as he realizes the initial danger is gone, the firefighter truly looks at the kitten for the first time and becomes immediately overwhelmed with emotion.

In 28 seconds, the team of firefighters moves from the tense focus of addressing a dangerous situation to the celebration of a job well done. The hero of the day sheds happy, relieved tears as a fellow firefighter pats him on the back both in comfort and congratulations.

Though the video is several years old, it received over 200,000 likes on Twitter when it was reposted by a user named Thund3rB0lt. Twitter users praised the hero for saving the small kitten’s life and celebrated the emotional win right along with him. No matter what’s happening in the world, we’ll never get tired of watching touching moments like this.

Guy Motivates Paralyzed Pal’s Rehab By Promising He Can Kick Him in the Nuts

Paralyzed Man Kick in Balls
(TikTok/ChaseGetsBetter)

A traumatic injury earlier this year left a young man ‘completely paralysed under [his] shoulders.’ Chase faced a long rehab and was even told he’d be leaving the facility in a wheelchair. But his friend Dan offered him a ballsy reward to help inspire his recovery. He promised that once he regained movement in his legs Chase could kick him right in the nuts.

It was exactly the motivation Chase needed, as he began a robust rehab program to rebuild the strength in his body so he could walk again.

But more importantly, to finally kick Dan in the balls.

@chasegetsbetterGood luck, Dan ##fyp ##foryou ##paralyzed ##disabled ##kickinthenuts♬ original sound – Chase Gets Better

He documented his recovery on a TikTok account, Chase Gets Better. It starts with him barely able to move and shows his dedicated work with the recovery team. One of the therapists working with him to train his legs noted it would be the left leg to use for the job, saying it had “way more force” than expected.

He got out of the hospital a few months later, and it was finally time for Dan to take HIS medicine. He introduced himself in a follow-up clip, where he lays it all out pretty simply: “Hey guys, I’m Dan and I’m about to be kicked in the balls.”

He covered his eyes so he wouldn’t see it coming, and then that’s exactly what happened, as Chase delivered a swift and clean kick, dropping Dan to the floor. After he regained his composure, he said he felt good. Chase thanked him for helping him during “the most difficult challenge” of his life.

@chasegetsbetterYou all asked for it, so HERE IT IS! ##WorthTheWait ##fyp ##foryou ##nutshotforchase ##kickinthenuts♬ original sound – Chase Gets Better

That is what true friends do, help each other no matter the cost.

19-Yr-Old Adopted by Former Caseworker After Aging Out of Foster Care

Caseworker adopts 19-year-old after she aged out of foster care
(YouTube/FOX 13 Tampa Bay)

Every single child deserves to grow up with a loving family, people who support and encourage them through all of life’s most important milestones. For children who end up in the foster care system, through no fault of their own, a stable home and family seem like a faraway dream. Over 20,000 children age out of foster care every year in the United States alone, leaving them to cope with adult life having never truly experienced a childhood. For 19-year-old Monyay Peskaledi, however, aging out of foster care meant finally having the family she always wanted.

Leah Peskaledis, Monyay’s caseworker, first met Monyay when she was just 13 years old. Over the years, Peskaledis watched Monyay overcome everything life threw her way. The ambitious teen did volunteer work, excelled in school, and even graduated early as she prepared for life after aging out of foster care.

The bond between Leah and Monyay grew stronger over time, and recently, the caseworker fulfilled the promises she made years ago.

“I made her a promise that I would find her an adoptive family. I just didn’t know that I would be the adoptive family,” new mom Leah told WGN after making Monyay’s adoption official.

Previously, Leah’s role as Monyay’s caseworker made her unable to adopt her. But once she was no longer classified as a foster child, the new little family seized the opportunity to make their dream a reality.

“Everything is official, the one thing that I wanted since I was a kid has finally come true,” said Monyay.

In an emotional clip, the two sit side by side as the judge signs the adoption papers.

“With my signature, it is official – happy adoption day,” the judge says as the courtroom fills with celebratory cheers.

The pair tearfully embrace, their first act as mother and daughter. Though Monyay is grateful to finally have the family she always wanted, she will continue advocating for other teens in foster care.

“Most people believe that we’re in here because we got into some kind of trouble, but really it’s just the circumstance and, no, we don’t want to be in here either,” she said. “…I want to continue to raise awareness for teen and adoption and adoption period.”

ASPCA’s ‘Kid of the Year’ Saved Over 2,000 Dogs Running Nonprofit With His Mom

ASPCA's Kid of the Year saves dogs from kill shelters through nonprofit
(YouTube/Project Freedom Ride)

Overpopulation in animal shelters is an enormous problem, with many resorting to euthanasia when faced with overcrowding. Most animals end up in shelters because of circumstances completely unrelated to their adaptability, which means that countless animals are put to sleep every year simply because there aren’t enough homes for them.

Roman McConn has always loved animals, even asking for donations to his favorite dog rescue in lieu of gifts since his fourth birthday. Roman’s mom Jennifer McConn shares her son’s passion for animals and encourages him at every turn, even adopting a rescue dog from a kill shelter so Roman could have his own furry companion.

When Roman’s dad received orders to serve overseas, the family relocated from Texas to Washington. Of course, one of the first courses of action after relocating was finding a new shelter to volunteer their time. Once the animal-loving duo began lending a hand at a local shelter, they realized the overcrowding problem in Washington was far less severe than it was in Texas.

“I would joke with Texas Rescues about an underground railroad for dogs up to Washington because the world for a dog, generally speaking, was so much better up here in Washington than down there in Texas,” Jennifer wrote on the Project Freedom Ride Website. “And so it was born … on December 6th, 2016 Project Freedom Ride had its first transport of 31 dogs from Texas to Washington.”

Since the founding of Project Freedom Ride just five years ago, the volunteer-based foundation has rescued over 2,000 dogs from euthanasia. 2,000 dogs got a second chance at life thanks to Roman and Jen, not to mention their trusty volunteers. In 2018, Roman was named the ASPCA’s (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) “Kid of the Year” thanks to his tireless efforts to save as many dogs as he possibly could.

Project Freedom Ride is extremely active to this day, posting adoptable dogs as well as dogs who need transportation on their Facebook page. Roman remains the face of the rescue, sharing personal videos with dogs looking for homes. Roman and his mom are true heroes, giving us a touching reminder that you’re never too young to make a difference.

Photo Goes Viral After 2-Year-Old Insists on Having Dinner With Stranger Sitting Alone

2-year-old has dinner with a stranger who was sitting alone
(Facebook/Amy Wadford)

We spend an ungodly amount of time teaching our kids how to be functional little humans but are frequently reminded that we can learn a heck of a lot from them as well. It’s almost laughable that a kid who’s left the house with his sock over his shoes can teach me something, and yet it happens almost daily (the teaching thing, not the shoe thing thank goodness). Kids are filled with lessons on humanity and kindness, making observations that we’ve never considered simply because they spend their days soaking in as much of the world as humanly possible.

We do our best to impress upon our kids the importance of helping others, but empathy itself is almost impossible to teach. When taking their six kids out to lunch, Amy and Robert Wadford saw firsthand just how deeply empathetic their 2-year-old son Brekken truly was.

Amy and Robert were likely hoping for a (relatively) quiet dinner out, but when Brekken noticed a man sitting and eating his dinner alone, the little boy insisted upon joining him. Brekken’s parents, perhaps longing for the days when they could have a quiet solo meal, tried to get their young son to leave the man to eat in peace – but Brekken was having none of it.

Brekken became so insistent that he simply had to eat dinner with the lone stranger that his parents’ “no”s left him distraught. To avoid a scene, Brekken’s mom began to take him out to the car when she was stopped by none other than the diner himself. Apparently, Brekken had made his plea loud and clear to the point where even the man himself knew the subject of the little boy’s meltdown. Rather than let his tiny advocate be sequestered, he extended an invitation.

“Brekken instantly stopped crying and sat and ate chips and salsa and had conversation with him until he was ready to go,” Amy wrote in her now-viral Facebook post. “Brekken was completely content and told him bye like he had known him his whole life. It’s the small things! So, if you know him, please tell him again I said thank you. He didn’t have to do what he did but completely made Brekken’s whole day.”

Good Samaritan, Dad, Describes Jumping Off Bridge To Save Toddler

Bridge Hero Describes Saving Toddler
(Twitter/7NewsDC)

A Good Samaritan who leaped from a bridge to save a baby after a car crash has finally come forward. And we’re finally getting more details from one of the wildest stories of the year. The capital-H Hero, Jonathan Bauer, jumped nearly 30-feet off a bridge to save a two-year-old who had been ejected from a car during a five-car crash on the bridge. Bauer is a dad, and it was his dad instincts that took over when he saw the girl in the water.

He gave a press conference so he could praise the first responders who came to the scene of the crash. Bauer, who initially didn’t want to be identified, said the first thing he did after the crash was made sure he and his 12-year-old daughter were OK. Then he went to the truck he saw turn over the railing.

After helping someone out, they just pointed down to the water.

“I saw the car seat and some other items and about six feet away from the car was a little girl,” he said. “She was on her back, completely floating, head completely out of the water, arms moving, legs kicking and a little pink dress.”

Then the girl flipped over and sunk under the surface. That’s when Bauer told his daughter to tell the first firefighter or police officer to arrive what happened. And then Bauer, who is afraid of heights, moved the edge of the bridge, and JUMPED INTO THE BAY BELOW TO SAVE THE BABY.

Total legend move. But when a dad sees a kid facing mortal danger, there are no other options than epic heroism. His own daughter said seeing her dad jump off the bridge was the scariest part of her life.  At the press conference, his wife said he’s afraid of heights.

“I can’t say how proud I am of him,” his wife said, tearing up. “It doesn’t surprise me. If you know him, you know that that is something he would do.”

Bauer said he popped up, swam over to the girl, and put her against his shoulder as he aggressively patted her on the back. She spit up a bunch of water, coughed a lot, and then took a deep breath.

Boaters pulled the two out of the water, and the toddler was flown to a nearby hospital, having her life saved by Bauer.

The mayor of Ocean City called him a “humble hero”, but he’s bigger than that. He is a full legend.

5-Yr-Old Uses Make-a-Wish Request To Help Hospitalized Kids Sleep Comfortably

5-year-old uses wish to buy comfortable sheets for hospitalized kids
(YouTube/FOX 2 St. Louis)

The Make-A-Wish Foundation has been granting wishes to critically ill children for over 40 years, creating lasting memories for families who truly need them. Most kids wish for experiences – visiting theme parks, meeting their favorite celebrities, about half of all Make-A-Wish requests even involve Disney in one way or another. When you present a kid with seemingly endless possibilities, the vast majority zero in on things they want for themselves – but 5-year-old Grayson Nunley is not your average Make-A-Wish recipient.

Grayson was recently hospitalized for nearly three weeks due to his battle with leukemia, but the quiet warrior isn’t one to complain. Fortunately, the 5-year-old is nearly finished with his weekly treatments and doctors are hopeful that he’ll be able to ring the “chemo bell” within the year signifying the end of his chemotherapy.

Grayson’s mom, Ann Nunley, was recently approached by the Make-A-Wish Foundation who extended an offer to her young son. Though Nunley previously believed wishes were reserved for terminally ill children, the life-changing foundation uses medical criteria to determine eligibility. Once Make-A-Wish confirmed Grayson was in fact eligible, Nunley explained the possibilities and asked the 5-year-old what he wanted to request.

A world full of possibilities in front of him, but Grayson knew exactly what he wanted almost immediately: he wanted to use his wish to make life more comfortable for other kids in the hospital. Rather than take a trip to Disney World or split a pizza with his favorite celebrity, Grayson chose to give cozy sheets to every kid in the hospital.

Likely recalling his own time in the clinical rooms, nearly three weeks of sleeping in the hospital-grade sheets, Grayson wanted to make sure the kids who aren’t yet lucky enough to go home have a more pleasant stay.

“He understands the wish could be for him. He knows and understands how important it is to give back,” Ann told FOX 8. “We’ve asked him a million times if this is what he wanted to do and that he’s happy and that’s what he wanted to do.”

Firefighters Rescue Dog Stuck in Couch Without Harming the Couch

Firefighters rescue a dog from under a retractable couch
(people.com / KAMLOOPS FIRE RESCUE)

How many firefighters does it take to get a puppy out of a couch? That’s not the setup to a dad joke, it’s the real-life question one department in Canada got to ask itself after responding to a call for a dog trapped in a reclining couch.

Being a pet parent can be stressful and sometimes scary. Cats are crazy, and will randomly climb trees and get stuck up there for no good reason. Dogs, much chiller, will go so deep into a couch they literally can’t get out. As a Dad I’ve also been there, but I’ve never had to call emergency services because of it.

As the Kamloops Fire Department found out, it takes five firefighters, and a few hours of work to get a small dog out of the couch. The department shared the story on Facebook.

“We don’t rescue cats out of trees anymore…but we do occasionally rescue dogs out of reclining couches!”

“We are happy to report that Bean, her owners, and the couch are all doing just fine today.”

See, that’s why they are heroes, not only did they save the dog, but they also managed to save the couch in the process. Lesser men would’ve broken the couch to save the dog. True heroes realize you don’t need to choose.

The owner said they were really thankful for the firefighters in their community and that they were able to work so calmly to free their beloved pet. This could also be a good testament to why you shouldn’t let your dog on the couch, but let’s be honest, most pups are going wherever they want.

Good Samaritan Jumps Into Bay To Save Baby Ejected from Car After Bridge Crash

Bridge Hero Comes Forward
(Twitter/TODAYShow)

The “hero” label is thrown around very casually in the social media era, but in this case, you can’t say it enough. A tragic car accident on a bridge in Maryland left a car dangling over the guardrail, and an infant, still stuck in a car seat, was ejected from the car and into the water below.

That’s when a bystander JUMPED THE GUARDRAIL to dive into the Bay and RESCUED THE BABY. That sounds like superhero movie stuff right there. A man literally LEAPT OFF A BRIDGE AND SAVED A BABY’S LIFE. It’s astounding that they both survived the episode, but it’s heroism in its purest form.

The Ocean City Police Department shared the first report on its Facebook page, and it was widely covered by the media. The infant was flown to the hospital, and the rescuer was in a good deal of shock himself, according to boaters who pulled them both out of the water. He’s chosen to remain anonymous.

The man’s 30-foot dive into the water wasn’t the only heroic act, as a 14-year-old girl on a boat with her dad spotted the accident and directed him to investigate. The duo found the man treading water with the baby and pulled them both from the water.

The 14-year-old, Alayna, said the rescuer didn’t say anything because he was in such shock. Her dad echoed his daughter’s statement, adding “it says a lot about some people’s demeanor, just doing the right thing when you got to do it.”

The dad also said he was proud of Alayna and her instincts to help during the incident.

“You’re taught through your life as a child and as you’re growing up, to respect and help others when needed, keeping your head on a swivel, you know, always looking around,” he said, “it’s those little things in life that teach you. You see your 14-year old daughter going through this and just say ‘wow, she’s learned and understood what has to happen in this world.”

The infant suffered some injuries but was stable, and the family agreed to keep the man’s identity anonymous. The police department is still investigating the accident, but one thing is clear, there was some major heroism on display and some pure magic that no lives were lost in such a dangerous situation.

College Golfer First Athlete With Down Syndrome To Play for National Title

Amy Bockerstette Makes History
(Amy Bockerstette social)

Amy Bockerstette, a golfer for Paradise Valley Community College, is set to make history as the first collegiate athlete with Down syndrome to compete for a national title. People with Down syndrome are often role models for a better world and regularly accomplish great things, but this particular victory is historic.

Bockerstette and the PVCC women’s golf team will be competing in the NJCAA national championships in mid-May. She shared the AP story about her monumental breakthrough, adding the hashtag “#InclusionRevolution.”

Bockerstette is already a champion, no matter how she finishes at the actual tournament. She even has already made history by becoming the first person with Down syndrome to earn a collegiate athletic scholarship. She has already captured the hearts of some sports fans after going viral for her play at TPC Scottsdale in 2019 when paired with PGA player Gary Woodland on the 16th hole.

She put her shot into the bunker but had an absolute gem of a chip out of the sand and was facing an eight-foot putt for par. In a moment right out of an inspiring sports movie, she said, “I got this,” before backing it up and sinking the putt, drawing huge roars from the crowd.

After that event, Amy and her family created the “I Got This” Foundation to provide golf instruction and playing opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

A true star in every way, and Amy’s day at the nationals will be a powerful sports moment.

 

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A post shared by Amy Bockerstette (@amybockerstette)

Meet Linda Owens, The Woman Who Has Fostered Over 80 Infants Throughout 34 Years

78-year-old fosters over 80 infants in 34 years
(YouTube/KPIX CBS SF Bay Area)

Taking on the role of a foster parent is a monumental responsibility, one that requires a lot of patience and an enormous heart. Foster parents fulfill all of the daily responsibilities of a parent, in addition to the emotional toll of giving yourself fully to a little one knowing that it’s only temporary. Sadly, nearly half of the infants who enter the foster care system have faced neglect, and more than half come from homes with parents who abuse drugs or alcohol. Transferring unhoused infants into loving foster homes is of the utmost importance, and nobody understands the vital nature of a good foster parent quite like Linda Owens.

Linda Owens is a 78-year-old retired grocery store manager living in Hayward, California. Rather than retire to a life of leisure, Owens decided to change the world for the better. Throughout the past 34 years, the single mom has fostered 81 infants – sometimes two at a time.

Anyone who has raised their own infant knows just how exhausting it can be. We give ourselves pep talks, remembering that one day they’ll sleep through the night, eventually they’ll become more independent. But for Linda Owens, her time as a foster mom comes to an end before her babies can feed themselves, use the toilet, or even tell her how much they love and appreciate her.

The babies who are fortunate enough to end up in Owens’s expert hands often require more care than the average infant, some even going through drug withdrawal after exposure in the womb. Owens, however, is filled with gratitude for the opportunity to help.

“It’s a challenging job, but very rewarding,” Owens told KPIX. “This is what God’s handed me a gift to do.”

Owens’s 34 years as a foster mom means that many of her foster babies are now fully grown adults, the oldest now being 37 years old. But Owens has a special place in her heart for each and every baby that has passed through her door, and to this day, she remembers every single one. Some adoptive families have even kept in contact with Owens over the years, sharing their children’s milestones with the woman who helped complete their families.

CBS affiliate KPIX recently honored Owens with a Jefferson Award in recognition of her life-changing efforts, the same month Owens took in her 81st foster baby. Saying goodbye to an infant you’ve poured so much love into raising seems impossible. But for Owens, it’s a sign that she did her job, and did it well.

Of the baby girl Owens is currently fostering she says, “I can give her a kiss on the forehead and wish her the best, and say, ‘I love you.’”

Hero Pit Bull Awarded For Saving Owner’s Life

Astro The Hero Dog
(El Paso Times)

The phrase “man’s best friend” isn’t one taken lightly by dogs. They prove it time and time again; whether it’s comforting their owners in their final moments or delivering beer, dogs go above and beyond all the time.

The latest dog to earn critical acclaim is a pit bull from Texas, Astro. Astro noticed his owner was suffering a medical emergency and ran to alert a good Samaritan, who followed the dog back to his owner and was able to call 911. Crews were able to transport the owner to the hospital and save his life.

Astro SAVED HIS LIFE.

In a special ceremony, the El Paso Fire Department gave Astro an official award, a special doggie cake, and  remarked about how he wanted to force his way into the ambulance to stay with his owner (they eventually removed him). They also incorrectly named him “Cosmo” in their celebratory tweet, but that’s okay because dogs can’t read.

His owners said they were shocked Astro was able to do such heroic feat because he was not trained for this sort of support. The family had adopted him only one year ago after seeing frequently seeing him wander around as a stray. They say he’s not going anywhere, as they plan to shower their good boy with love and treats for his heroic acts.

Dogs rule, and some of them, like Astro, even have the official paperwork to prove it. Let’s face it, if Astro was a cat, he probably would’ve waited for his owner to become incapacitated so he could raid the pantry and drag his wallet into the toilet. He wouldn’t have gotten help, he would’ve plunked the phone in the toilet.

Fortunately, Astro is not a cat (or a hamster or a fish or any other unhelpful animal). He is a dog, and according to the Fire Department, the ‘goodest boy of all.’