Heroic dog saves her best friend from drowning in the backyard swimming pool

Sometimes dog owners might wonder what their canine companions do when they're not around, but few would imagine a heroic rescue like the one that happened recently in a backyard pool in Boskburg, South Africa.

For Chucky the lucky toy Pomeranian pooch, the day could have ended tragically. The tiny 13-year-old pup accidentally slipped and fell into the family swimming pool, and though he was able to keep himself afloat, he couldn't get out. If he were alone, he could easily have gotten worn out and drowned.

Thankfully, his best friend Jessie, a 7-year-old Staffordshire bull terrier, was there with him and noticed his struggle. Poor Jessie was desperate to get him out, as shown in the home's security camera footage that captured the harrowing incident. In scenes from the footage, we can see Jessie trying to work out how to get Chucky out of the water without hurting him, and it's seriously the sweetest thing. What we don't see in this short clip is that it actually took Jessie 34 minutes to rescue him—she just wouldn't give up.


Incredible moment hero dog saves best friend from drowning in swimming pool www.youtube.com

After multiple gentle attempts at tugging him out of the water by his ear, Jessie succeeds, and the two doggos then scuttle off to play together, happy as can be.

The dogs' owners, Byron Thanarayen and his wife Melissa, discovered the footage while trying to solve the mystery of why Chucky's head was wet. Byron told The Times South Africa that Melissa insisted he might have been in the swimming pool, but he said the dogs never went into the pool unsupervised.

"We tried to look for clues as to where he could have wet his head," he said. "We thought maybe he dipped his head in the water, but there was no mess in the house to support this suggestion."

They finally checked the security cameras and discovered that Chucky had slipped, then watched the whole rescue play out.

"It was heart-wrenching to watch," Byron told The Times. "We still struggle to watch that video today, just thinking of what could have happened if Jessie was not there."

Jessie is a rescue dog that Byron and Melissa adopted from the SPCA four years ago. They are Jessie's third owners, and oddly enough, the previous owners had returned her to the SPCA because they said she didn't get along with their other dogs. That was not the case here, as Byron said Jessie got along with their other two dogs from the day they brought her home.

"Jessie is the best dog we have ever had," Byron said. "I'm really proud of her, considering she's the youngest."

Byron told The Times that their dogs know how to swim, but they only swim when they're in the pool with them. The incident is a good reminder that accidents can happen and that even if dogs know how to swim, leaving them unsupervised by a swimming pool isn't a good idea. Byron and Melissa said they'll be installing a pool cover now.

"It never occurred to us previously that we needed the cover, but since this incident we saw how important it is to have one," he said.

There are no solid statistics on how many pets drown in family swimming pools because most incidents don't get reported, but estimates are in the thousands. Northeast Animal Hopsital in St. Petersburg, Florida suggests knowing the risks for your own dogs, safeguarding the pool area with gates that animals can't get over or around, teaching dogs to swim (but not relying on that alone), and making sure to supervise your animals when they are near any large body of water.

Thankfully, Chucky's story had a happy ending, but not every dog will have a Jessie around to save them. This video is a good reminder that pets and pools can be a dangerous combo, as well as a good reminder that dogs are truly incredible creatures.

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

The Schmidt family's Halloween photoshoot has become an annual tradition.

Two of Patti Schmidt's three sons were already well into adulthood when her daughter Avery was born, and the third wasn't far behind them. Avery, now 5, has never had the pleasure of close-in-age sibling squabbles or gigglefests, since Larry, Patrick, and Gavin are 28, 26, and 22, respectively—but that doesn't mean they don't bond as a family.

According to People.com, Patti calls her sons home to Point Pleasant, New Jersey, every fall for a special Halloween photoshoot with Avery. And the results are nothing short of epic.

The Schmidt family started the tradition in 2017 with the boys dressing as the tinman, the scarecrow, and the cowardly lion from "The Wizard of Oz." Avery, just a toddler at the time, was dressed as Dorothy, complete with adorable little ruby slippers.

The following year, the boys were Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Chewbacca, and Avery was (of course) Princess Leia.

In 2019, they did a "Game of Thrones" theme. ("My husband and I were binge-watching (Game of Thrones), and I thought the boys as dragons would be so funny," Schmidt told TODAY.)

In 2020, they went as Princess Buttercup, Westley, Inigo Montoya, and Fezzik from "The Princess Bride."

Patti shared a video montage of each year's costume shoot—with accompanying soundtracks—on Instagram and TikTok. Watch:

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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."