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richmond, virginia, animal shelter, dogs, adoption
Photo by Terricks Noah on Unsplash

Richmond kids help shelter dogs get adopted.

There is not much cuter in this world than dogs, with the exception of kids, but putting the two together makes for all kinds of adorable. That’s exactly what Cody and Marie Lucas found when they were on the hunt to rescue a dog from an animal shelter. They knew they wanted a dog and had been to several animal shelters looking for the perfect pup to adopt. When they got to Richmond Animal Care and Control in Virginia they noticed something different about the kennels that held the dogs up for adoption.

There were hand-drawn pictures and colorful notes attached to the dog kennels. On the kennel of a 5-year-old American Staffordshire terrier named Duquesa, the note read “I’m cute and short haired. I can cuddle and bark. Please adopt me.” The note was written in a child’s handwriting. There was another note on Duquesa’s kennel written in Spanish that read “Yo necesito to be adopted. Yo necesito food and agua. Please adopt me.” Marie said that after reading the letters and looking at the dog's sweet face “how could I not love her?”


Looking around the shelter, the Lucases found notes attached to the kennels of other dogs that had health issues and dogs that could be viewed as undesirable by adopters. The notes were all written by children around 8 years old and from the perspective of the dog who was looking for a forever home. The doodles that accompanied the sweet stories added to the appeal for the dogs.

Cody and Marie Lucas with Bonnie.

Richmond Animal Care and Control

The couple decided to bring Duquesa, renamed Bonnie, home with them after reading the letter. The pup had been in the shelter for more than a month and was hard to find a home for due to her limp. There are around 170 animals at the shelter and they stay there until they are adopted in most cases, unless they are deemed too sick to be rehabilitated. Most animals are adopted within three weeks, with the exception of the ones who may have health problems or other issues that make them less desirable, which is where these cute notes come in.

The letters were part of a class project coordinated by Kensey Jones, a second grade teacher at St. Michael’s Episcopal School in Richmond. Jones has been a volunteer at the shelter for the past four years. She also has three rescue dogs of her own, so it’s safe to say this project was close to her heart. Jones wanted to find a way to help the dogs less likely to be adopted find their forever families.

Christie Peters hangs letters on kennels of available dogs.

Richmond Animal Care and Control

Jones told The Washington Post, “The idea just came to me to connect persuasive writing with these adoptable pets that need a forever home.” She thought it would be “a way that I could make their writing real for [the students], and actually make an impact on the world and our Richmond community, specifically.”

The shelter's director, Christie Peters, has a son is in Jones' second grade class. So when Jones approached her with the idea, Peters enthusiastically agreed.

A letter written to hang on a dog named Sunday’s kennel reads: “I would love to be adopted. If you do adopt me, I hope I will brighten up your Sundays like the sun. You’ll be my Sunday Special, and I hope I’ll be yours!” Jones admitted she was surprised at what the kids came up with and that it “pulled at the heartstrings.”

Shelter dogs are always looking for a home that will care for them forever, and this is just one way to make sure they get the families they deserve. If you’re thinking about adding an animal to your family, consider adopting from a local animal shelter. Maybe you, too, will be met with sweet notes from kiddos helping to facilitate successful adoptions.

Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

via Dion Merrick / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.09.21


At 1:30 am on Monday morning an AMBER Alert went out in southern Louisiana about a missing 10-year-old girl from New Iberia. It was believed she had been kidnapped and driven away in a 2012 silver Nissan Altima.

A few hours later at 7 am, Dion Merrick and Brandon Antoine, sanitation workers for Pelican Waste, were on their daily route when they noticed a vehicle that fit the description in the alert.

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Joy

Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

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