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800 years ago, the phrase "The wolves have returned" would have been legit cause for abject terror all across Europe.

Oh hey. We're here to eat you. Photo by Ronnie Macdonald/Flickr.


But in 2015, it's great news. Because it means the species, threatened or endangered in many countries on the continent, is making a big-time comeback.

According to Finland's Yle Uutiset news program, a group of hunters recently spotted pack of wolves, cubs in tow, just casually ambling around in a part of the country where they haven't been seen since at least 1905:

"A litter of wolf cubs have been caught on film in Raseborg, between Helsinki and Turku. Four cubs were filmed by a game camera in late June near the border of Raseborg and Salo. Their parents are apparently Finland's southernmost breeding wolf pair in more than a century."

And it's not just Finland! Apparently, it's a trend all across Europe, as Stephanie Pappas of the Christian Science Monitor reported in December 2014:

"Despite having half the land area of the contiguous United States and double the population density, Europe is home to twice as many wolves as the U.S.
...
Wolves are thriving, with more than 12,000 individuals found in 10 populations in 28 countries
."

There are many theories as to why the wolves are rebounding so decisively, but a New York Times report from 2013 credits the population increase to "restrictions on shooting them." Which ... seems obvious. And raises an important question:

Why was anyone shooting wolves in the first place?

Wolves have a terrible reputation that, in 2015, is pretty much completely undeserved.

Awoooooooo, sucker. Photo by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Let's face it. Fairy tales really weren't the best PR for wolves, instilling generations of children with a deep-seated, irrational fear of these furry carnivores. More recently, the skeletal and weirdly hairless werewolf featured in "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" made a valiant attempt to turn thousands more children off the species for the rest of their lives.

Thankfully, we no longer live in thatched huts that can be huffed and puffed down. We have apartments. And we know werewolves aren't really a thing. We're pretty well-equipped to coexist with these guys now.And we can really, really stand to follow Europe's lead and step up our conservation game here in the lower 48 U.S. states, which despite being twice the size and far less urban than Europe, contains only half the number of wolves.

If they can do it, we can do it.

In the meantime, in an era where a new terrible report on the state of the environment seems to drop every other day, this is a much-needed piece of encouraging news.

Welcome back, wolves of Europe. We missed you.

Seriously, though. Don't eat us. Photo by Ronnie Macdonald/Flickr.

via Chewy

Adorable Dexter and his new chew toy. Thanks Chewy Claus.

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Every holiday season, millions of kids send letters asking for everything from a new bike to a pony. Some even make altruistic requests such as peace on Earth or helping struggling families around the holidays.

But wouldn’t the holiday season be even more magical if our pets had their wishes granted, too? That’s why Chewy Claus is stepping up to spread holiday cheer to America’s pets.

Does your dog dream of a month’s supply of treats or chew toys? Would your cat love a new tree complete with a stylish condo? How about giving your betta fish some fresh decor that’ll really tie its tank together?

Or do your pets need something more than mere creature comforts such as life-saving surgery?

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Photo by Jeremy Wong on Unsplash

Teen raises $186,000 to help Walmart worker retire.

In America, many people have to work well past the age of retirement to make ends meet. While some of these people choose to work past retirement age because it keeps them active, some older people, like Nola Carpenter, 81, work out of necessity.

Carpenter has been working at Walmart for 20 years, way beyond most people's retirement age just so that she can afford to continue to pay her mortgage. When 19-year-old Devan Bonagura saw the woman looking tired in the break room of the store, he posted a video to his TikTok of Carpenter with a text overlay that said, "Life shouldn't b this hard..." complete with a sad face emoji.

In the video, Carpenter is sitting at a small table looking down and appearing to be exhausted. The caption of the video reads ":/ I feel bad." Turns out, a lot of other people did too, and encouraged the teen to start a GoFundMe, which has since completed.

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12 fascinating facts about the American flag that you probably didn't know

The flag used to have 15 stars, the Pledge of Allegiance started out as a marketing gimmick, and 10 more Flag Day facts.

Photo by Robert Linder on Unsplash

There's a whole lot of story behind the American flag.

The Stars and Stripes, Old Glory, the Star-Spangled Banner — whatever you call it, the United States flag is one of the most recognizable symbols on Earth.

As famous as it is, there's still a lot you might not know about our shining symbol of freedom. For instance, did you know that on some flags, the stars used to point in different directions? Or that there used to be more than 13 stripes? How about a gut-check on all those star-spangled swimsuits you see popping up in stores around the Fourth of July?

We'll explore these topics and more in this fun list of 12 facts about the U.S. flag that you might not know about.

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Celebrity

U.S. Soccer star expertly handles an Iranian reporter’s loaded questions about race.

Tyler Adams’s response proves exactly why he’s the captain of the US soccer team.

Tyler Adams expertly handles Iranian reporter's question

Reporters are supposed to ask the right questions to get to the truth but sometimes it seems sports reporters ask questions to throw you off your game. There's no doubt that this Iranian reporter who was questioning Tyler Adams, the US soccer team captain at the press conference during the World Cup had an agenda that didn't involve getting to the truth.

It's not clear if the questions were designed to throw the young player off of his game or if the goal was embarrassment. It really is hard to tell, but Adams handled the unexpectedly harsh encounter with intelligence and poise when some may have found it justified for him to get angry.

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A pediatrician's viral post will bring you to tears and inspire you to be a better person.

It's incredibly easy to incorporate these lessons into our lives.

Pediatrician offers advice to inspire.

Pediatrician Alastair McAlpine gave some of his terminal patients an assignment. What they told him can inspire us all.

"Kids can be so wise, y'know," the Cape Town doctor and ultra-marathon enthusiast posted to his Twitter account. He asked the young patients, short on time, about the things that really mattered to them.

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