therapy dog

When a person gets to a point where they are actively considering taking their own life, helping them out of that state is a delicate endeavor. Sometimes a major intervention is necessary. Sometimes being reminded by an anonymous stranger that life is worth living is helpful. And sometimes, a non-human touch can be the catalyst that pulls someone away from the edge.

When first responders were called to a bridge near Exeter in southwestern England where a woman was standing over the guard rails, threatening to take her own life, the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service (DSFRS) showed up to help. In a post on Twitter, DSFRS explained that multiple agencies had responded to the scene, and that police negotiations weren't going particularly well.

"The situation was becoming increasingly worrying," they wrote.


While humans struggled to reach the woman, a therapy dog showed up to save the day.

"One of the fire crews had the idea to bring along Digby, our 'defusing' dog," they explained. "Digby helps crews who have been exposed to trauma during talking therapy 'diffusing' sessions."

Digby is a 3-year-old Australian Labradoodle who has been with the department since he was four months old.

"When Digby arrived, the young woman immediately swung her head round to look, and smiled. This got a conversation started about Digby and his role at the fire service," they wrote.

"She was asked if she would like to come and meet Digby if she came back over the railings, which we are pleased to say she did."

"We wish the woman involved all the best in her recovery," they added.

How amazing that Digby not only helps first responders deal with their own trauma, but he also helped save this young woman in her darkest hour.

Hopefully, the woman gets the help she needs to live a satisfying life—and perhaps that help could include a therapy animal of her own.

According to UCLA Health, animal-assisted therapy provides many physical and mental health benefits to patients. "The simple act of petting animals releases an automatic relaxation response," the university's website states. "Human interacting with animals have found that petting the animal promoted the release of serotonin, prolactin and oxytocin—all hormones that can play a part in elevating moods."

UCLA says Animal therapy also:

  • Lowers anxiety and helps people relax.
  • Provides comfort.
  • Reduces loneliness.
  • Can provide an escape or happy distraction.
  • Can act as a catalyst in the therapy process, breaking the ice or reducing initial resistance to therapy.

Maybe dogs really are a human's best friend. We certainly are better off as a species with our animal companions by our side.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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This article originally appeared on 06.28.21


After Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed Black man, was pursued and shot by three white residents while jogging through a Georgia suburb, Ellen and Patrick Miller* of San Diego hung a Black Lives Matter flag in front of their house. It was a small gesture, but something tangible they could do.

Like many people, they wanted to both support the BLM movement and bring awareness about racism to members of their community. Despite residing in a part of the county notoriously rumored to be marred by white supremacists and their beliefs, their neighbors didn't say much about it—at first.

Recently, though, during a short window when both Ellen and Patrick were out of the house, someone sliced the flag in two and left the remains in their yard.

via Paula Fitzgibbons

They were upset, but not surprised.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."