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How Pokemon Go is helping this shelter get its dogs walked.

You can catch 'em all and help shelter dogs too.

How Pokemon Go is helping this shelter get its dogs walked.

Phil Pechingpaugh, director of the Muncie Animal Shelter in Indiana, was walking his dog and playing Pokémon Go with his daughter when he had a brilliant idea.

He noticed hoards of people walking around doing the exact same thing they were doing — catching Pokémon — only without a dog.

"I just thought, wouldn’t it be great if we could pair these people who are already out walking with shelter dogs who need exercise and stimulation?" Phil told Upworthy.


Photo from Phil Pechingpaugh, used with permission.

It sounded like the perfect partnership — people can get in a Pokéwalks while giving the pups some attention and fresh air at the same time.

Phil asked a friend to design simple ad. Little did he know how much attention it would draw.

"I didn’t expect much at all. I thought maybe we’ll get five or six people down here … but nothing like what we have received. We’ve had over 70 people in here today," Phil exclaimed.

Image from Phil Pechingpaugh, used with permission.

The people showing up to volunteer aren't just college kids playing Pokémon in their down time.

People of all ages have been coming from places near and far, Phil said, mentioning one girl who drove over two hours just so she could volunteer her time walking shelter dogs (and playing Pokémon, of course).


Phil's ad has already been shared on Facebook over 25,000 times and liked over 7,000 times on Twitter.

In the comments, people are posting with encouragement and love for this idea. It's as if everyone had just been waiting for a way to give back while collecting Squirtles and Pidgeys.

Photo by Karen Hastedt Borovsky/Facebook, used with permission.

With so many people showing up at the shelter in groups of three or four, the dog walkers had to develop a system in which one person would focus on dog walking while the others catch Pokémon.

"If you’re not responsible enough to do that, this probably isn’t the best option for you," Phil noted.

Phil hasn't had any problems with distracted dog walkers thus far, but he and his team do express caution to every person who comes in eager to give this fun, good Samaritan exercise a try.


The biggest compliment has come from other local shelters, Phil says.

"We’ve had other shelters that have reached out and said, 'now we’re going to do this.' I find that to be the biggest form of flattery," Phil told Upworthy.

Thanks to Phil, Pokémon Go may end up being responsible for a major uptick in shelter dog adoptions nationwide. He's already had a couple interested parties come in looking to adopt, and the Pokémon Dogs program has only been around for a day.

Photo by Trista Sydloski-Tesch/Facebook, used with permission.

Phil never would've imagined he'd be bring this much positive attention to Muncie and especially not because of a phone game. It just goes to show, small towns can make big splashes, especially when someone finds a way to combine fun with a good deed.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

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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When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

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.

Keep Reading Show less