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Love dogs? Watch how one pooch went above and beyond for his owner.

The incredible story of how this dog helped his human heal.

Love dogs? Watch how one pooch went above and beyond for his owner.
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Pedigree - Learn From Dogs

Veteran Dan Lasko returned home from Afghanistan after an explosion led to the loss of one of his legs. But the injuries that weren't visible were the hardest for him to face.

Watch Dan's story, or keep scrolling to read about it.

Dan was deployed to Afghanistan in 2004 for Operation Enduring Freedom, where he was injured in an explosion and eventually had to have his left leg amputated. When he returned home, he — like many others — experienced symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).


It’s not unusual for soldiers like Dan to experience anxiety and PTSD — to feel socially isolated and constantly on edge.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 11-20% of those who served in Operation Enduring Freedom have PTSD, and about 8 million people suffer from it in any given year. For Dan, PTSD meant that he didn't want to leave his house, he was always looking over his shoulder, and he avoided crowds.

Enter man’s best friend.

Through the help of Vet Dogs, Dan got Wally, a black lab whose energy and spirit lifted Dan’s.

Service dogs provide more than just sloppy kisses and happy tails (although those are great, too). All images via Pedigree/YouTube.

A 2015 report by the Society for Military Psychology showed service dogs can help veterans cope with PTSD symptoms such as hypervigilance, nightmares, and impaired memory. These dogs are trained to perform tasks including patrolling the perimeter of a room so the veteran feels safer upon entering, turning on the lights to interrupt a nightmare, and blocking a person who is coming too close to the veteran — amazing, right?

The report also says that interactions with dogs can increase oxytocin, a stress-reducing hormone. The increase in oxytocin helps counteract paranoia, improves trust, and has an overall positive effect on sociability.

Wally and Dan go everywhere together.

Wally became the support and motivation Dan needed.

Dogs naturally arouse a nurturing response — think baby talk and belly rubs — from people when they play with them. As a result, veterans with PTSD are in turn nurturing their own ability to once again connect with people.

One study also found that people with disabilities found it easier to make new friends after being paired with their service dogs. Dogs, service or not, can help initiate impromptu conversations with strangers, and for vets this helps enhance their social skills by turning outings into a more positive experience.

"I was always looking over my shoulder thinking that something is gonna happen. Having him around has really helped with the healing process," Dan says in the video. "He’s taught me patience, loyalty; he taught me how to be myself again."

Dan, along with his wife, Jessica, and their kids, have since adopted a rescue dog, Maggie, as a way of paying it forward for all the good Wally has done for them.

"Wally took care of me when I needed it, and I just wanted to pay it back to another animal. [Maggie's] a rescue and she's been through tough times, but hey, I have, too. I have a good support system here; you're with us and we're here to take care of you."

Image by 5540867 from Pixabay

Figuring out what to do for a mom on Mother's Day can be a tricky thing. There's the standard flowers or candy, of course, and taking her out to a nice brunch is a fairly universal winner. But what do moms really want?

Speaking from experience—my kids range from age 12 to 20—a lot depends on the stage of motherhood. What I wanted when my kids were little is different than what I want now, and I'm sure when my kids are grown and gone I'll want something different again.

We asked our readers to share what they want for Mother's Day, and while the answers were varied, there were some common themes that emerged.

Moms of young kids want a break.

When your kids are little, motherhood is relentless. Precious and adorable, yes. Wonderful and rewarding, absolutely. But it's a LOT. And it's a lot all the fricking time.

Most moms I know would love the gift of alone time, either away at a hotel or Airbnb or in their own home with no one else around. Time alone is a priceless commodity at this stage, especially if it comes with someone else taking care of cleaning, making sure the kids are fed and safe and occupied, doing the laundry, etc.

This is especially true after more than a year of pandemic living, where we moms have spent more time than usual at home with our offspring. While in some ways that's been great, again, it's a lot.

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Courtesy of CeraVe
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"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN

From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.

First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.

Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.

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