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A creepy parody commercial for a pet company that made me so angry until I realized it was fake.

This PSA features a totally made up service to highlight a very real problem. And the fact that so many people (myself included, for a minute there!) have been fooled into thinking it's a *real* service shows just how big this problem is.

A creepy parody commercial for a pet company that made me so angry until I realized it was fake.
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Puppies are just *the greatest*, aren't they?

All that cuteness bundled up in one happy little ball of fur...

Nothing could be better.


"I GOTCHOO, little human."

But we all know they don't stay puppies forever.

They get old, they lose their puppy fluff, and sometimes, they get into big trouble.

"Nom nom nom toilet paper so tasty."

What if there were a service that would send you a puppy, then let you swap it out for a new one as soon as it got old?


Simply log in, fill out some preferences, and *poof*! A new puppy arrives at your doorstep.



Puppy getting too big? Not that cute anymore? No problem! Just click to swap.

So cool, right?!

"Bye, old dog! Have fun on the farm!"

WRONG. IT'S CREEPY. Pet ownership is for life.

Even though it might sound nice to experience the joys of having a puppy without any strings attached, pet ownership is, in fact, a serious, long-term commitment. Just because a puppy is hard to train or an older pet might pick up some bad habits doesn't mean you can return them when you're done.

"I take you, Rover, to be my doggie, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in dog breath, to love and to cherish, from this day forward until death do us part."

Unfortunately, too many people don't take this commitment seriously.

And by "too many," we're talking about a whopping 6 to 8 million. That's how many cats and dogs enter U.S. shelters annually: 6 to 8 million.

The worst part? 2.7 million of those animals get euthanized every year.

THOSE EYES.

But what about *responsible* pet ownership? What does it look like when you do it right?

Yes, pet ownership is a big commitment, but that doesn't mean it's all seriousness and no fun! Quite the contrary. Responsible pet ownership can be the source of all kinds of satisfaction and joy, love and laughter, snuggles and wet doggie kisses. Not to mention proven health benefits.

What a well-trained human!

Interested in getting a furry companion for yourself? Follow these tips.

First of all, make sure that you're adopting your pet and not buying one. Even though pet adoptions usually have a fee, the fee is lower than what most pet stores or breeders charge, and pets that are adopted from shelters are ones that have been abandoned.

Second of all, if you're thinking of adopting a furry companion, check your local shelter to see if they have a fostering option for dogs or cats. That way you can give some animals a little TLC and a break from shelter life without committing to keeping them forever — at least until you find one that matches your lifestyle and personality.

Researchers at Harvard University have studied the connection between spanking and kids' brain development for the first time, and their findings echo what studies have indicated for years: Spanking isn't good for children.

Comments on this article will no doubt be filled with people who a) say they were spanked and "turned out fine" or b) say that the reason kids are [fill in the blank with some societal ill] these days are because they aren't spanked. However, a growing body of research points to spanking creating more problems than it solves.

"We know that children whose families use corporal punishment are more likely to develop anxiety, depression, behavior problems, and other mental health problems, but many people don't think about spanking as a form of violence," said Katie A. McLaughlin, director of the Stress & Development Lab in the Department of Psychology, and the senior researcher on the study which was published Friday in the journal Child Development. "In this study, we wanted to examine whether there was an impact of spanking at a neurobiological level, in terms of how the brain is developing."

You can read the entire study here, but the gist is that kids' brain activity was measured using an MRI machine as they reacted to photos of actors displaying "fearful" and "neutral" faces. What researchers found was that kids who had been spanked had similar brain neural responses to fearful faces as kids who had been abused.

"There were no regions of the brain where activation to fearful relative to neutral faces differed between children who were abused and children who were spanked," the authors wrote in a statement.

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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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