A blind man in a Facebook group asked people to describe their dogs and it's the sweetest post ever
via Dogspotting Society / Facebook

Over the past few years, Facebook has been a lightning rod for controversy, whether it's the 2016 Russia election hacking scandal, privacy concerns or numerous disputes over what it censors and what it does not.

So it's easy to forget that the world's largest social network is also a place where beautiful things still happen on a daily basis.

A blind man named Stephen William Dale Shkuratoff asked members of the The Dogspotting Society public Facebook group to describe pictures of their dogs so that he can get a better idea of what they look like.


"I love being a member of this group!" wrote Shkuratoff. "I am blind and was hoping to ask for more dog descriptions. Personality traits are more helpful than colors. Like how soft the dog is, for example. Bonus as always for dogs full of kisses and snuggles.

RELATED: Speech pathologist teaches her dog to use a soundboard and now it communicates in sentences

"Thanks for making me feel included," he concluded. "Hope no one minds me asking for descriptions a lot recently."

According to its Facebook page, the Dogspotting Society is a "cool place to hang out where you can post your own dogs! Here you can make friends, talk about dogs and Dogspotting. Always remember to take it easy and Be Excellent to Each Other!"

And boy were they excellent to Stephen.

via The Dogspotting Society / Facebook

In just five days, over 2,000 people have provided darling descriptions of their pooches for Stephen.

Amber wrote:

Porter is 100% mutt he is about 2.5 ft tall and has a tail that doubles the length of his body...that never stops wagging! he is missing 2 of his front teeth so his tongue is always hanging out...which is adorable! he has the softed smoothest coat of any dog i have ever met! the fur behind his ears is like velvet!He loves to jump and snuggle with his people. He is very protective of his babies (my boyfriends 3 children) and will stand in the way of anyone who is trying to get near them...he is the number one good boi

via The Dogspotting Society / Facebook


Kaylin wrote:

I have an American Staffordshire Terrier named Zena. She is 9 months old and is 45 lbs of excitement and curiosity. If she sees anyone on the street, she always wants to say hi! Today she wanted to say hi to a weedwhacker but I told her she couldn't. Zena is about knee height, and the colour of a dreary, rainy day. Her ears are soft like a bunny's. Sometimes when you give her scritches she will return the favor and nibble you back, which feels funny! It's like a bunny is nibbling you. She is still learning how to give gentle kisses, as she still thinks ramming you with her teeth is the same thing. We're working on it. Zena likes to cuddle and will be right up against you all night, no matter how much room is in the bed.

via The Dogspotting Society / Facebook


Luisa wrote:

My oldest dog is named amadeus. He is turning 2 tomorrow. His fur is super soft and loves to give people kisses. He hates squirrels and runs quickly to protect his yard on his potty breaks. He barks a lot but to make sure he protects everyone in the house. His favorite treat is cheese.Luna is a feisty puppy with an attitude. She wants all the attention on her and will make sure that she gets the majority of it (and not her brother). She loves to be a lap dog at 7 months, but she weighs 75 pounds, so she is a heavy one. Her fur is soft, but very smooth. Her farts smell terrible, but we really love her either way lol.

via The Dogspotting Society / Facebook


Mary wrote:

Elsa is a red Dachshund/Staffordshire Terrier mix. She has been described as a "giant sausage dog" and "big-ass Weiner dog." She is a very buff low rider!

via The Dogspotting Society / Facebook


Becky wrote:

Our cocker spaniel Mia is a floofy black Tom boy in disguise. She looks like a beautiful princess with her long floppy ears decorated with shiny dark curls. Her body is long and her booty is thick. She loves to shake it like crazy when someone from the pack comes home or throws her a ball.

Even though she is beautiful and girlish with her long eyelashes and bashful eyes, Mia loves to dig and hunt. Her legs are long, but you can't tell most of the time - she loves to lay on her back with all paws in the air. "Belly rubs, peasants!"


So how do blind and visually-impaired people read the text on Facebook?

"The answer is quite simple," Carl Augusto, from the American Foundation for the Blind dais according to Adweek.

"People who are blind or visually impaired use a screen magnification program to enlarge fonts in order to optimize the screen for reading, or they use a screen reading program that reads the text aloud. These are quick, efficient and helpful solutions — that is, if the websites and computer programs are properly designed."

Over the years, Facebook has worked to improve accessibility for visually-impaired users. It has recently implemented Artificial intelligence to describe photos to users and facial recognition technology to explain which friends are in specific photos.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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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.

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2020 was difficult (to say the least). The year was full of life changes, losses, and lessons as we learned to navigate the "new normal." You may have questions about what the changes and challenges of 2020 mean for your taxes. That's where TurboTax Live comes in, making it easy to connect with real tax experts to help with your taxes – or even do them for you, start to finish.

Not only has TurboTax Live helped millions of people get their taxes done right, but this year they've also celebrated people who uplifted their communities during a difficult time by surprising them with "little lifts" to help out even more.

Here are a few of their stories:


Julz, hairdresser and salon owner

"As a hairdresser and salon owner, 2020 was extremely challenging," says Julz. "Being a hairdresser has historically been a recession-proof industry, but we've never faced global shut down due to health risk, or pandemic, not in my lifetime. And for the first time, hairdressers didn't have job security."

Julz had to shut down her salon and go on unemployment benefits for the first time. She also had to figure out how she was going to support herself, her staff and her business during this difficult time. But many other beauty industry professionals didn't have access to the resources they needed, so Julz decided to help.

"My business partner and I began teaching basic financial literacy to other beauty industry professionals," she says. "Transitioning our business from behind the chair to an online academy was a challenge we tackled head-on so that we could move hairdressers into this new space of education, and create a more accessible curriculum to better serve our industry.

Julz connected with a TurboTax Live expert who helped her understand how unemployment affected her taxes and gave her guidance on filing quarterly estimated taxes for her small business. "I was terrified to sit at a computer and tackle this mess of receipts," Julz says, so "it was great to have some virtual handholding to walk me through each question."

In addition to giving Julz the personalized tax advice she needed, TurboTax Live surprised her with a "little lift" that empowered her to help even more beauty professionals. "When my tax expert Diana surprised me with a little lift, I was moved to tears," says Julz. "With that little lift, I was able to establish a scholarship fund to help get other hairdressers the education they deserve."


Alana, new mom

Alana welcomed her first child in 2020. "I think my biggest challenge was figuring out how to be a mom, with no guidance," she says. "My original plan was to have my mom by my side, teaching me the ropes, but because of COVID, she wasn't able to come out here."

She was also without a job for most of 2020 and struggled to find something new.

So, Alana took it as a sign: she decided to launch her own business so she could support her new baby, and that's exactly what she did. She started a feel-good company that specializes in creating affirmation card decks — and she's currently in the process of starting a second, video-editing business.

TurboTax Live answered Alana's questions about her taxes and gave her some much-needed advice as she prepared to launch her businesses. Thanks to their "little lift," they provided her with a little emotional support too.

"I got my mom a plane ticket to finally [have her] meet [my daughter] for her first birthday," Alana says. "I was also able to get a new computer," which helped her invest in her new business and work on her video editing skills. "It's helped my family and me so much," she says.


Michael, science teacher

When schools shut down across the country last year, Michael had to learn how to adapt to a virtual classroom.

"As a teacher, I had to completely revamp everything," he says, so that he could keep his students engaged while teaching online. "At the beginning, it was a nightmare because I had no idea. I had to go from A-Z within a couple of weeks."

Michael's TurboTax Live expert answered his questions about how working from home affected his taxes and helped him uncover surprising tax deductions. To top it all off, his expert surprised him with brand new science equipment and supplies, which allowed him to create an entire line of classes on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. "Now I can truly potentially reach millions of children with my lessons," he says. "I would never have taken that leap if not for the little lift from TurboTax Live."



Ricky, motivational youth speaker

As a motivational speaker, Ricky was used to doing his job in person, but, he says, "when COVID-19 hit, it altered my ability to travel and visit schools in person [because] schools moved to fully virtual or hybrid models."

He knew he had to pivot — so he began offering small virtual group workshops for student leadership groups at middle and high schools.

"This allowed me to work with student leaders to plan how they would continue making a positive impact on their school community," he says. He wasn't sure how being remote would affect his taxes, but TurboTax Live Self-Employed gave him the advice and answers that he needed to keep more money in his pocket at tax time — and the little lift he received from them has helped him serve even more students.

"[It] has been a major blessing," he says "There will be multiple schools and student groups from across the country that I can hold leadership workshops with to empower them with the tools to be inspirational leaders in their school, community, and world."

Plus, he says, it was great knowing he had an expert to help him figure out how being remote affected his taxes. "I felt confident and assured in the process of filing my taxes knowing I had an expert working with me, says Ricky. "There were things my expert knew that I would not have considered when filing on my own."

Filing your taxes doesn't have to be intimidating, especially after a year like 2020. TurboTax Live experts can give you the "little lift" you need to get your taxes done. File with the help of an expert or let an expert file for you! Go to TurboTax Live to get started.

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