Heroes

Upworthy fans have already helped save dozens of dogs displaced by the Texas storm

After battling the snow, Rex gets a third chance to find the perfect home

Upworthy fans have already helped save dozens of dogs displaced by the Texas storm

Meet Rex -- a sweet, beautiful, collie mix. Originally adopted from a Tyler, Texas animal shelter at just 12-weeks-old, Rex's family could no longer keep him and returned him to the shelter when he was only four.

Last week in the wake of the horrible storms in Texas, generators gave out and shelters lost power. The pipes burst and water was cut off. The lack of water, power, and other resources created a dire situation with many pets at risk of euthanasia in shelters across Texas.



Rex was at such a shelter in Tyler that didn't have a plan to keep their pets safe through the terrible winter storm. The horrible reality is they were intending on euthanizing these animals before they froze to death or went any longer without water, as they had little to no resources they felt they had no other choice.

As overnight temperatures remained below freezing, the staff and volunteers at Austin Pets Alive! continued working around the clock to ensure there wasn't a moment when the animals were unsafe. They needed immediate help to keep up their heroic efforts.

At GOOD/Upworthy, we issued a quick call to arms to aid their life-saving efforts. In a few hours, you helped raise over $17,000.

Thanks to the efforts of everyone who donated, volunteered, and worked tirelessly with Austin Pets Alive! they were able to save Rex and 30+ others just like him by coordinating a lifesaving rescue transport with their friends at Wright-Way Rescue in the Chicago area.

Rex wasn't so sure about getting out of the van after the 14-hour drive, but these amazing people were patient and helped him get ready to hop back into the snow.

Now, a Texas dog named Rex who spent most of his young life in a rural shelter is in a warm foster home outside of Chicago. Soon enough, he'll learn that snow can be fun, and life can be happy, and love is all around him.

We're so grateful that our readers came together to help Austin Pets Alive! save Rex and his friends, and that they're going to be safe now at Wright-Way Rescue. This shelter is not slowing down anytime soon and continues to coordinate a widespread effort to reach more rural shelters throughout Texas that might need help.

Austin Pets Alive! is urgently working with shelter partners, with the goal of transporting 1,000+ animals to safe shelters throughout the United States in the next two weeks. The biggest need at this time is for organizations that can safely transport pets. Austin has become the safest city in the country for shelter pets, but the rest of Texas isn't yet there, which is why these transports are so crucial. To help make these transports happen, please give to Austin Pets Alive! here.

You can also learn more and give to Wright-Way Rescue, which focuses on saving pets throughout rural America. As their mission states, it is in these extremely remote locations that help and hope for homeless pets is still at a minimum.

Together, we can work to save all the dogs. And if you live in the midwest you can apply to adopt Rex (and then send us lots of photos!).

via Texas State Senate and The ACLU

There has been a tidal wave of anti-trans legislation proposed over the past few months in the U.S. At least 17 states are now considering restricting anyone under the age of 18 from transition-related care.

Texas is currently debating two anti-trans bills. Once would criminalize parents for allowing their children to receive gender-affirming treatments. Another would criminalize healthcare professionals who administer them.

For a state that prides itself on promoting personal freedom, these bills go out of their way to punish medical professionals and parents for making deeply personal choices. Shouldn't doctors and parents have the right to make medical decisions for children without the state's involvement?

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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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