Nobody likes guilt trips. I certainly don't! But these numbers made me realize it's not about feeling guilty. It's about being practical. Especially that last statistic at the very end. Whoa.
Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva when a mountain lion suddenly appeared.
The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.
As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”
It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.
According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.
It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.
She told TODAY, “They fought for a couple seconds, and then I heard her start crying. That’s when the cat latched on to her skull.”
Wilson did everything she could to release Eva from the cat’s grasp. She told The Sacramento Bee that she threw rocks, tried choking it and gouging its eyes. But no luck. It wasn’t until she received help from a passing motorist, Sharon Houston, who had a PVC pipe and some pepper spray that the situation improved. The pair were finally able to get the mountain lion to let go, but not before it dragged poor Eva along the path trying to escape. She was quickly rushed to the vet.
Wilson’s beloved canine companion was in life-threatening trouble. Wilson’s husband, Connor Kenny, told SFGATE that Eva had suffered two skull fractures, a punctured sinus cavity, severe damage to her left eye and experienced seizures. The pup’s situation was dire.
To help cover the medical expenses, Wilson created a GoFundMe account and was soon surprised by the outpouring of love and support the public had for her heroic Malinois. The fundraiser gathered more than $30,000, well exceeding what the family needed.
And luckily, Eva never lost her fighting spirit. As was posted on her own Instagram account, Eva recovered, returning home to her sister Mishka (and to new toys, no less).
She even got a milkshake on the way home. And Wilson shared with The Sacramento Bee that there's going to be more treats where that came from, "stuffies" shall be chewed and steak dinners shall be had.
Eva might technically be a Belgian Malinois, but her true breed is hero. Her fierce determination, loyalty to her loved ones and unbridled courage came out in full force. Because of her, a life was saved. She is, without a doubt, the goodest girl.
"We were already calling her mom because it felt so natural."
Sisters Gabriella and Julianna Ruvolo know that they're extremely lucky. Their stepmom Becky Ruvolo has been there for them for most of their lives and it's clear that they're grateful to her for it. On May 9, Gabriella posted a video to TikTok to share the very special way the young women honored their stepmom for Mother's Day.
In the short clip, you can see Becky flanked by the two girls, flipping through a book. On the video are the words "After 12 years… we finally asked our step-mom to adopt us." As Becky goes through the pages, you can see her becoming increasingly more emotional before she gets to the last page. By then, all three of the women are crying.
"Really?" Becky asks, before putting her head down on the table in tears. "Is that a yes?" the girls ask before embracing her. It's so touching, you can't help but feel moved by it.
@gabbyruvolo after 12 years of love, our biggest dream came true ❤️🥰 @beckyruv18 @juliannaruvolo #mothersday #adpotion #fyp ♬ Yellow - Coldplay
Pete, the girls' father, is the one filming the entire thing, and while you can't see him, you can guess his heart is swelling with love and pride as much as ours are while watching it.
"I was so caught off guard," Becky Ruvolo told Good Morning America. "When I read that, it was just pure shock and an honor and the emotions of just like, 'Is this really happening?'"
And it was really happening. If you ask the sisters, it was always a matter of "when" and not "if" they would ask Becky to officially be their mom. She met them when they were 8 years old and, as they all tell it, the connection was instantaneous.
"We met as friends and then she became mom and it was just, from the start, it was like love at first sight," Gabriella Ruvolo told Good Morning America.
When Becky married Pete in 2013, she made sure the girls knew just how important they were to her by including them in the ceremony. In the 12 years she's been in their lives, the twins have always thought of her as the strongest mother figure they have.
"We were already calling her mom because it felt so natural," Gabriella said.
"We always went to her as we would a mom. She was always there for us," Julianna added.
It's really wonderful to see these two young women not only acknowledge the role their stepmom plays in their lives, but find a way to honor all the love and care she has put into them and their family.
"We figured like, what's the best time to ask the biggest question we will probably ever ask? And why not make it on Mother's Day? Ask our mom to officially be our mother on the day dedicated to her," Julianna told GMA.
And what about their dad? Well, he couldn't be happier, which is why he filmed the moment.
"To actually see it unfold, just filled me with such a feeling of pride, proud for my girls and for my wife. I know how happy that would make her and it really was such a special moment," he said. He also added that the relationship between the girls and Becky "worked out better than I could have ever dreamed of."
Based on how people reacted to the TikTok, it seems that stories like the Ruvolos' are starting to reshape the narrative around blended families and the stereotypes about stepmoms.
"As a step mom to a daughter who never had a relationship with her bio mom …this put me on my knees," one user wrote.
"My step mom adopted me and my brother may 14th 2018. so happy for you guys!" wrote another.
This story originally appeared on 12.15.21
Imagine being 6 years old, sitting in your classroom in an idyllic small town, when you start hearing gunshots. Your teacher tries to sound calm, but you hear the fear in her voice as she tells you to go hide in your cubby. She says, "be quiet as a mouse," but the sobs of your classmates ring in your ears. In four minutes, you hear more than 150 gunshots.
You're in the first grade. You wholeheartedly believe in Santa Claus and magic. You're excited about losing your front teeth. Your parents still prescreen PG-rated films so they can prepare you for things that might be scary in them.
And yet here you are, living through a horror few can fathom.
The trauma of any school shooting is hard to imagine, but the Sandy Hook massacre was in a league of its own. These were first graders. Twenty babies, shot and killed in a matter of minutes. Six educators who tried to protect them.
That was nine years ago. Now the kids that survived Sandy Hook are in high school, and some of them are opening up about their experiences. Their voices deserve to be heard.
In February of this year, Sandy Hook survivor Ashley shared her story with NowThis News. Some of the scenario above was taken from her account:
Ashley was 7 when she went through the trauma of Sandy Hook. She said she has experienced survivor's guilt and the pain of people claiming that the shooting was a hoax. "I can’t give you proof except for my trauma," she said.
Another Sandy Hook survivor, Maggie LaBlanca, shared her story at this year's National Vigil for All Victims of Gun Violence last week. Her best friend, Daniel, was killed in the shooting.
"It's been almost nine years since I endured that day. Everything has stayed with me so clearly," she said. "The trauma never went away, and I still feel sad all the time that I'm here and they're not. I look for Daniel everywhere because it's hard to accept that I lost him."
We mourn those who are killed in school shootings and focus on the numbers of deaths, but the survivors deserve just as much of our thought and emotion. It's traumatic for anyone to have a loved one murdered or to witness someone being killed in front of them. In the worst scenarios, both of those things happen at the same time. And when it's children who are the witnesses, that's just a tragedy none of us should accept as normal.
This TikTok video from a Sandy Hook survivor sums it up succinctly.
At the time, we thought Sandy Hook had to be the last straw. We thought surely 6-year-olds shot and killed in their classrooms would change things. Our lawmakers would surely unite to take action—to do something, anything—to try to prevent this kind of thing from happening. People pleaded. Activists organized. And our laws have barely budged, especially at the federal level, where they have the greatest chance of actually being effective.
It doesn't have to be this way. Most Americans agree on some very basic gun legislation. A 2019 poll reported by Politico showed that 70% of Americans support banning assault weapons, including a majority of both Democrats and Republicans. Also in 2019, a National Public Radio (NPR), PBS NewsHour and Maris College poll found that 83% of Americans want Congress to pass legislation requiring background checks for gun purchases at gun shows or via other private sales.
Why wouldn't we want to make it harder for abusers or people with a history of violent or threatening behavior to get firearms? Why wouldn't we want to make it harder for troubled teens to get a hold of guns in their household?
Gun rights activists will argue that no law will prevent all shootings, which is true. The U.S. has far too many guns in circulation to curb all gun violence. But some will prevent some, and some is better than none, especially when we're raising generations of kids who have to practice what to do if a gunman starts shooting up their school.
What we have now is not normal. It's not freedom. It's a tragic embarrassment and a stain on our nation—one that we don't have to accept without a fight. We owe these kids at least that much.