He had to operate to save an orangutan's life. The catch? He'd never done it before.

When Daniel the orangutan arrived at the Phoenix Zoo in Arizona, he was in rough shape.

He was suffering from a respiratory disease, which, just like in humans, can worsen and even lead to death when untreated.

The stakes were high, especially considering that orangutans are a highly endangered species. And respiratory illnesses can be even more dangerous for orangutans which have an inflatable air sac that can be vulnerable when it becomes infected. Located in their throats, these air sacs are helpful in allowing orangutans to sustain the loud calls they're known for by creating a chamber for the sound to resonate within, but these air sacs are also prone to infection.


Dr. Gary West, executive vice president of animal health and collections at the Phoenix Zoo, was hopeful that cleaning the site of the infection would be enough for Daniel. But it wasn't.

The infection returned, and West quickly realized Daniel would need a sinus surgery if he had any shot at recovering. But that surgery required expertise that West didn't have. So they called in Dr. David Simms, an ENT specialist with Dignity Health, to perform the surgery.

There was just one problem: Simms had never operated on an orangutan before.

Humans and orangutans are pretty similar, but they're obviously not the same. This didn't intimidate Simms, though, who was excited to apply what he knew about humans to a different species. When Simms saw how badly Daniel needed the procedure, he was even more determined.

"I knew that I could help him," he explains. "I really didn't think twice."

Simms was relieved that Dignity Health, a health provider based in San Francisco, encouraged him to do the procedure and helped to plan it even though Daniel wasn't a human patient. With the right team behind him, Simms was confident he could perform the surgery.

Simms got to work. He started by studying up on orangutan anatomy before surgery.

He took CT scans so he could take a close look at the differences between a human's sinuses and an orangutan's. He even had a 3D replica of Daniel's skull printed to practice on before the actual surgery.

Being able to practice ahead of time was especially important because Daniel was already at a higher risk for complications because of the underlying air sac infection.

Luckily for Daniel, all the work paid off. The surgery went off without a hitch.

Almost immediately afterward, it was clear it'd been a success. Daniel's eyes were brighter, and his appetite was bigger.

"He wanted to eat everything in sight," says Mary Yoder, primate manager at the Phoenix Zoo. "He was back to his old self."

Daniel was doing extraordinarily well after the surgery, and his recovery offers hope for other primates who face the same challenges.

Many orangutans like Daniel deal with respiratory disease. Because they are on the brink of extinction, surgeries like these can make or break the survival of an entire species. When experts like Simms step in, they're not saving only a single orangutan — they're helping in conservation efforts to ensure orangutans survive well into the future.

Simms is hopeful this surgery will offer a model on which future surgeries can be based, helping all sorts of primates live longer, happier lives.

As for Daniel, the Phoenix Zoo hopes he'll find a mate, have a family, and enjoy a long life ahead of him, free of the disease that once held him back.

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Dignity Health

Andy Grammer, the pop singer and songwriter behind feel-good tunes like "Keep Your Head Up," "Back Home," and "Don't Give Up on Me," has a new album out—and it is seriously fabulous. Titled simply "Naive," Grammer says it's "all about how seeing the good in todays world can feel like a rebellious act."

"I wrote this album for the light bringers," Grammer shared on Facebook. "The people who choose to see the good even in the overwhelming chaos of the bad. The smilers who fight brick by brick to build an authentic smile everyday, even when it seems like an impossible thing to do. For those who have been marginalized as 'sweet' or 'cute' or 'less powerful' for being overly positive. To me optimism is a war to be fought, possibly the most important one. If I am speaking to you and you are relating to it then know I made this album for you. You are my tribe. I love you and I hope it serves you. Don't let the world turn down your shine, we all so badly need it."

Reading that, it's easy to think maybe he really is naive, but Grammer's positivity isn't due to nothing difficult ever happening in his life. His mom, Kathy, died of breast cancer when Grammer was 25. He and his mother were very close, and her life and death had a huge impact on him.

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Culture
via Stratford Festival / Twitter

Service dogs are invaluable to their owners because they are able to help in so many different ways.

They're trained to retrieve dropped Items, open and close doors, help their owners remove their clothes, transport medications, navigate busy areas such as airports, provide visual assistance, and even give psychological help.

The service dog trainers at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs in Canada want those who require service dogs to live the fullest life possible, so they're training dogs on how to attend a theatrical performance.

The adorable photos of the dogs made their way to social media where they quickly went viral.

On August 15, a dozen dogs from Golden Retrievers to poodles, were treated to a performance of "Billy Elliott" at the Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada. This was a special "relaxed performance" featuring quieter sound effects and lighting, designed for those with sensory issues.

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"It's important to prepare the dogs for any activity the handler may like to attend," Laura Mackenzie, owner and head trainer at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs, told CBC.

"The theater gives us the opportunity to expose the dogs to different stimuli such as lights, loud noises, and movement of varying degrees," she continued. "The dogs must remain relaxed in tight quarters for an extended period of time."

The dogs got to enjoy the show from their own seats and took a break with everyone else during intermission. They were able to familiarize themselves with the theater experience so they know how to navigate through crowds and fit into tight bathroom stalls.

via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter

"About a dozen dogs came to our relaxed performance, and they were all extremely well-behaved," says Stratford Festival spokesperson Ann Swerdfager. "I was in the lobby when they came in, then they took their seats, then got out of their seats at intermission and went back — all of the things we learn as humans when we start going to the theater."

RELATED: This sneaky guide dog is too pure for this world. A hilarious video proves it.

The dogs' great performance at the trial run means that people who require service animals can have the freedom to enjoy special experiences like going to the theater.

"It's wonderful that going to the theater is considered one of the things that you want to train a service dog for, rather than thinking that theater is out of reach for people who require a service animal, because it isn't," Swerdfager said.

The Stratford Festival runs through Nov. 10 and features productions of "The Merry Wives of Windsor," "The Neverending Story," "Othello," "Billy Elliot," "Little Shop of Horrors," "The Crucible" and more.

Inclusivity

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Knowing your triggers helps you manage your emotions.

via Blessing Manifesting / Instagram

Learning your emotional triggers on your own is one thing but figuring out your triggers in a relationship adds another layer of intensity. Maybe you're afraid of being abandoned or want to feel the need to push the other person away but you don't know why.

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