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Meet 2 pit bulls that had it rough. Their human families' love saved them from stigma.

Canelo and Lula found forever families, and those families changed everything.

Like many pit bulls, Lula was a stray.

When Lula first showed up at the Hughes' home, she was severely underweight. She was also covered in scars and had evidence of mistreatment, but her sweet disposition won her family over immediately.

Lula was "just a giant head attached to a bag of bones," Ame Hughes told me about the day her family met her.


Lula photos via the Hughes family, used with permission.

And yet, Ame said, "I knew we were goners from the start. She's just too easy to fall in love with!"

Pit bulls have an unfortunate history in America as fighting dogs.

They're sometimes kidnapped or recruited into dogfighting circles. This bad reputation — often misguided — makes it difficult for pitties to get adopted. In fact, some adoption centers won't put pit bulls up for adoption at all.

But studies (like this 2013 one from the American Temperament Test Society) have disproved people's fears about pit bulls, showing that the pups are actually far more friendly and stable on average than most other dog breeds. Many pittie owners, like me and others, will tell you their dogs are nothing but loving.

Rather than risk Lula's low chances of adoption from a shelter, the Hughes family decided to take her in. They gave her a forever family on Valentine's Day 2012.

“She's a gentle baby," Ame says about Lula's temperament three years later. “[She] will kiss whatever happens to be in front of her face, including our guinea pigs."


Lula is also a big fan of napping with the Hughes kids in her favorite chair.

But even once a pit bull is adopted, discrimination lurks everywhere on a daily basis.

When my husband and I first adopted our pit bull, Tori, the adoption organization suggested — like places do for many types of dogs — that we enroll her in behavior training. We live very close to a PetSmart, so we planned to take her there. But guess what? PetSmart does not allow "bully" breeds to be trained at their locations. (They also specify that they don't allow wolves. Good to know, right?)

It's a common and sad story, one Simona Mihiela says she's faced with her pit bull, Canelo. Simona has been Canelo's dog mom since he was six weeks old.

All Canelo photos via Simona Mihiela, used with permission.

"He has been the joy of my life!" Simona told me. "[He] still thinks he's a 13-pound baby. He tries to crawl in my lap!"

But when Canelo grew into a 126-pound big boy, he didn't always mind commands like "sit" and "stay." So Simona sent him to an extended behavioral training course that a friend recommended.

Look at that sweet face! But, no, not quite a lap dog anymore, are we, buddy?

What's hard to realize is that pit bull mistreatment can happen anywhere.

Simona says when she took Canelo to obedience training, he was healthy. When he came back, he was 17 pounds lighter and covered in cuts and scars. She believes that because of his breed, Canelo was used for stereotypical dogfighting during his "training." He had fresh and healing cuts and sores all over his body, and his teeth were damaged, she says. According to Simona, the training facility, which has since closed, says Canelo caused his own injuries.

Poor Canelo!

Canelo is safe and sound now, thanks to Simona's efforts.

He's on five different medications and needs surgery on his teeth, Simona says. But despite that, he's still a happy pup. With her own form of training now, Simona encourages him with treats, toys, and “showing him tons of love."

Canelo and Simona: forever friends!

While Lula and Canelo were lucky enough to be saved from tough situations by their families, many pit bulls aren't.

But even people who don't own pit bulls can help change the current stigma! Organizations like The Humane Society of the United States offer rewards to people who report suspected instances of dogfighting. And Facebook groups like Your Pit Bull and You, Bully Rescue and Advocacy, and Pit Bull Advocates share positive pittie news and educate followers about training tips.

If pit bulls don't have humans expecting and encouraging them to fight, maybe we can see how family-friendly they can be!

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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Matthew McConaughey in 2019.

Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey made a heartfelt plea for Americans to “do better” on Tuesday after a gunman murdered 19 children and 2 adults at Robb Elementary School in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas.

Uvalde is a small town of about 16,000 residents approximately 85 miles west of San Antonio. The actor grew up in Uvalde until he was 11 years old when his family moved to Longview, 430 miles away.

The suspected murderer, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was killed by law enforcement at the scene of the crime. Before the rampage, Ramos allegedly shot his grandmother after a disagreement.

“As you all are aware there was another mass shooting today, this time in my home town of Uvalde, Texas,” McConaughey wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. “Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us.”

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Joy

50-years ago they trade a grilled cheese for a painting. Now it's worth a small fortune.

Irene and Tony Demas regularly traded food at their restaurant in exchange for crafts. It paid off big time.

Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash

Painting traded for grilled cheese worth thousands.

The grilled cheese at Irene and Tony Demas’ restaurant was truly something special. The combination of freshly baked artisan bread and 5-year-old cheddar was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, but no one was nearly as devoted to the item as the restaurant’s regular, John Kinnear.

Kinnear loved the London, Ontario restaurant's grilled cheese so much that he ordered it every single day, though he wouldn’t always pay for it in cash. The Demases were well known for bartering their food in exchange for odds and ends from local craftspeople and merchants.

“Everyone supported everyone back then,” Irene told the Guardian, saying that the couple would often trade free soup and a sandwich for fresh flowers. Two different kinds of nourishment, you might say.

And so, in the 1970s the Demases made a deal with Kinnear that he could pay them for his grilled cheese sandwiches with artwork. Being a painter himself and part of an art community, Kinnear would never run out of that currency.

Little did Kinnear—or anyone—know, eventually he would give the Demases a painting worth an entire lifetime's supply of grilled cheeses. And then some.

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