More

9 emotional tributes from real people to their beloved pets.

Even when they're gone, pets make their humans better people.

9 emotional tributes from real people to their beloved pets.

Losing a pet can be really, really tough.

In 2002, President Bill Clinton talked about the sudden death of his dog Buddy, who was hit by a car. He said it was "by far the worst thing" to happen to him since leaving office, and he shared this heartbreaking photo, too:


Bill and Buddy Clinton. Image via U.S. Government Printing Office/Wikimedia Commons.

Sandra Barker, the director of the Center for Human-Animal Interaction at Virginia Commonwealth University, counsels people who've lost their pets.

She says many of her clients feel surprised and even ashamed by their grief when a pet passes away. But given the impact that pets have on our lives, we the people should know: It's 100% normal to grieve when you lose something you love! Even, and especially, pets.

The way humans celebrate our animal companions brings out some beauty in us, too.

After their friends moved up to that great Dog Park/Scratching Post Palace in the Sky, the stories of pet owners on Instagram reflecting on their own lives as they reflect on their pets' lives are brilliant. I started writing this out of love for our animal friends, but after finishing it, I love humans a little bit more too.

1. There are tales of transformation and loyalty.

Image via alexistt/Instagram, used with permission.

"She saw me transform from a girl to a woman, watched as I became someone who dreamed about writing professionally to becoming the editor of a site, she helped me nurse heartbreaks of all sorts from people to jobs and she did it all with undivided love and loyalty."

2. Otherworldly reflections on the transience of existence.

Image via troncouture/Instagram, used with permission.

"Today I had to say good bye to my childhood best friend. It's not good bye, it's see you later."

3. Beautiful photos that I'm fairly certain follow the Golden Ratio and therefore look like Renaissance paintings.

Image via pery87/Instagram, used with permission.

See what I mean? Compare!

Image via Pixabay.


4. Then there's just plain adorable pictures and real feelings™.

Image via tinaperra/Instagram, used with permission.

5. And heartstring-pulling cinematography.

GIF via stephsc0tt@stephsc0tt/Instagram, used with permission.

"Found this old video on my phone..priceless ❤️❤️❤️ safe to say no one loved hanging out with me as much as he did #excited 🐶🌞 #somuchlove 💛💛💛 #RIPbestfriend ✨🙏🏻 #myShadow ❤️❤️❤️"

6. Timehops that inspire poetry about loving your friend in the moment.

Image via nicole6356/Instagram, used with permission.

"Not having him here anymore has made me realize that he really was the best dog ever."

7. Before and after photos of a 16-year friendship.

Image via makayla_ashley/Instagram, used with permission.

"You have been my best friend for 16 years and you will always be my best friend. I will always love you more than anything❤️ #RIPbestfriend"

8. The phrase "peaceful transition," legit artwork ... and let's not forget how delightfully non-gender-normative cat names can be.

Image via lynda_briggs_paintings/Instagram, used with permission.

"Today was a peaceful transition. Rest in peace Miss Felix. ❤🐾"

Image via lynda_briggs_paintings/Instagram, used with permission.

"Day 191 of 366, our kitty cat had a full nine lives. ❤"

9. A TBT capturing baby-cat love.

"5 years ago...#ripkitty" Image via ixi_savagegirl/Instagram, used with permission.

Pets can really help us humans reflect on the passage of time in some wistful and adorable ways. I remember looking back at my childhood photos with my childhood cats and thinking, "Wow!"

All this magic brought up by spending a life with a devoted pet-friend, and celebrating that life.

There are so many reasons why pets are extremely meaningful to humans.

Some are scientific. (Did you know that the bonding hormone oxytocin is released when you look at your dog?) And some are emotional. (There's power in having a companion completely dependent upon you, who witnesses your life without judgment.)

But looking at the tributes these folks have made to their lost pets, you can't help but think that the world's capacity for love is limitless.

That's the power of pets: They might be tiny, but they make humans bigger, better people.

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

Keep Reading Show less
Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less