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How this NYC airport is changing the game for pet travel

Four-legged flyers are getting a taste of the "suite" life.

Over 2 million animals fly commercially each year.

It's looks less like this:


"Ladies and gentleman, this is your captain speaking. You are now free to sniff each others' butts." Photo by Thinkstock.

And more like this:

"Can we at least get some pretzels?" Photo by ilovemytank/Flickr.

The experience is often chaotic and stressful for humans and animals alike. While animals have a 1 in 50,000 chance of suffering injuries or death during air travel, stories of incidents often spread rapidly.

As such, pet owners are looking for any way to make sure their furry friends are happy and healthy throughout the travel experience.

That's why John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City is stepping up big time for animals and their owners.

To assist four-legged travelers and the humans who love them, Kennedy is turning an unused cargo terminal into The Ark at JFK, a full-service, USDA-approved airport facility just for animals.

And from the looks of it, it's going to be doggone fancy.

No word on whether they're tuned to Animal Planet, but The Ark does have flat-screen TVs just for pets. Image by Ark Development.

Named for the biblical vessel, The Ark at JFK is more than a terminal, it's set to be a first-class destination for pets.

Opening in early 2016, the 178,000 square foot space will replace Vetport, a 10,000-square-foot facility built in the 1950s.

The Ark will house a pet spa (complete with "pawdicures"), dog suites, a cat adventure jungle, an animal training center, and a veterinary hospital. Pets can spend the night or just pop in between flights.

This is the place your dog is running to when she kicks her paws in her sleep. Image by Ark Development.

It will also be a comfy spot for larger animals like horses and livestock, who definitely can't fit comfortably under the seat in front of you.

When horses and livestock enter the United States, they're required to remain in quarantine to check for contagious diseases. Depending on their country of origin, the animal's stint in quarantine could last anywhere from three to 60 days! At The Ark, their stay will include climate-controlled, hay-lined stalls.


"What is this, Horseville? 'Cause I am surrounded by nay-sayers! Wordplay!" Quote from "30 Rock." Image by Ark Development.

This isn't just to make humans feel good about where their pets are; The Ark is designed to minimize stress on pets and livestock, thanks to input from architecture and animal experts.

The space was designed by master architects and leaders in animal facility design including Temple Grandin Livestock Handling Systems.

You may know the name Temple Grandin because she is a leading animal expert, advocate for people with autism,and the subject of the eponymous HBO film.

Grandin's systems encourage calm and humane animal transport and will be found throughout The Ark.

If you saw "Temple Grandin," you may remember Grandin espousing the importance of moving livestock in circular patterns to cut down on stress. That system will be put to use in The Ark. Image by Ark Development.

Staying at The Ark won't come cheap, but for many owners, it's a small price to pay for peace of mind.

Prices for are still in the works, but a first-class dog "suite" could run pet parents $100, and that's on top of airline tickets and fees.

But for the 63% of pet owners who see their animal as a member of the family and who contributed to the $58 billion spent on pets last year, it may be a small price to pay for their comfort and safety during long and stressful trips.

I will do a lot of things in this life, but I'll never be as cool as this dog. Photo By Manny Ceneta/Getty Images.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

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Memories of childhood get lodged in the brain, emerging when you least expect.

There are certain pleasurable sights, smells, sounds and tastes that fade into the rear-view mirror as we grow from being children to adults. But on a rare occasion, we’ll come across them again and it's like a portion of our brain that’s been hidden for years expresses itself, creating a huge jolt of joy.

It’s wonderful to experience this type of nostalgia but it often leaves a bittersweet feeling because we know there are countless more sensations that may never come into our consciousness again.

Nostalgia is fleeting and that's a good thing because it’s best not to live in the past. But it does remind us that the wonderful feeling of freedom, creativity and fun from our childhood can still be experienced as we age.

A Reddit user by the name of agentMICHAELscarnTLM posed a question to the online forum that dredged up countless memories and experiences that many had long forgotten. He asked a simple question, “What’s something you can bring up right now to unlock some childhood nostalgia for the rest of us?”

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