To pay our respects on the one-year anniversary of the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," we decided to send a note to all the people who stood up for it. Without them, whom would we have to fight against for our basic civil rights?
Marine veteran Paul Coppola is a wonderful example of the transformational power of service dogs.
Ten years ago, he was rocked by two explosions in an attack that took the lives of 17 Marines in Afghanistan. The attack left Coppola with traumatic brain injury, PTSD, and an injured back.
Coppola didn't think his struggles warranted a service dog but after prodding from his wife, he was paired with Dobby, a four-year-old black Lab mix trained by veteran organization Operation Delta Dog.
Dobby and Paul soon became best friends and partners in life.
Dobby helps Paul with simple tasks such as opening accessible doors and eases his anxiety by giving him something to focus on in stressful situations. Paul is also a source of support for Dobby, a rescue dog who also suffers from anxiety.
"He's given me my freedom back, really," Paul says. "I have to admit the fact that he's saved my life."
Today, Paul volunteers at Operation Delta Dog where he acts as a mentor and provides living proof of the positive effect service dogs can have in the lives of veterans.
Paul's journey was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Veteran and His Service Dog."
A few weeks ago, Upworthy shared the hilarious winners of the 2021 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards and the winner was a well-timed shot of a monkey who appears to have hurt the family jewels on a suspension wire. (Don't worry folks, no monkeys were harmed for the awards.)
The awards were created six years ago by Tom Sullam and Paul Joynson-Hicks to promote positive awareness of animal welfare issues. The competition has been so successful, the duo decided to branch out and create the Comedy Pet Photo Awards, where photographers can submit pictures of their furry friends for a £2,000 ($2650) prize.
Donations generated by the competition go to Animal Support Angels, an animal welfare charity in the U.K.
This year's winner is Zoe Ross for "Whizz Pop," a photo of her labrador puppy Pepper who appears to be tooting bubbles.
“We never ever thought that we would win but entered the competition because we loved the idea of helping a charity just by sending in a funny photo of Pepper," Ross said in a statement. "She is such a little monkey, and very proud of herself, bringing in items from the garden and parading past you until you notice her. She is the happiest puppy we’ve ever known and completely loved to pieces.”
Here are the rest of the winners of the 2021 Comedy Pet Photo Awards.
© Zoe Ross /Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021
Did this puppy swallow a bubble?
© Carmen Cromer/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021
"My golden retriever, Clementine, loves to stick her face in front of the hose while I water the plants. Her expression in this photo made me think of a tyrannosaurus rex, hence the title, "Jurassic Bark." Duh nuh nuuuh nuhnuh, duh nuh nuuuh nuh nuh, dun duh duuuh nuh nuh nuh nUUUUUUhhhh." – Carmen Cromer
© Kathrynn Trott/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021
Jeff stealing the limelight from his brother Jaffa.
© Mary Ellis/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021
"I like to visit the stable horses before I begin my hike at the State Park. This is the reply I received when I said 'Good morning.'" – Mary Ellis
© Sophie Bonnefoi/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021
"Cutie and Speedy are two chicks hatched from eggs placed in an incubator at home in August 2020. They spent their first few weeks indoors. In the photo, they are just over two weeks old. They were curious about everything. This is the day they discovered their own shadow. It was hilarious to see them wondering and exploring that 'dark thing' that was moving with them!" – Sophie Bonnefoi
© Suzi Lonergan/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021
"Our granddaughter gave the command to sit. Beau is very obedient." – Suzi Lonergan
© Jakub Gojda/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021
"This photo was taken by accident during the photography of my ex-girlfriend with her beloved mare. For this cheerful moment, I thank the fly that sat on the horse's nose and he instinctively shook his head." – Jakub Gojda.
© Chloe Beck/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021
"This is my best friend Faith, her husband Alex, and their cheeky Sproodle, Hugo. Faith wanted a photograph to mark a special occasion—her first outing after shielding at home for 14 months. Hugo jumped into the frame at just the right moment!" – Chloe Beck
© Luke O'Brien/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021
"Losing the opportunity to play with my human bandmates during lockdown, Flint, my rescue dog, soon taught me that we didn't just have sharp bones in common, but musical ones, too. He soon became the perfect substitute for a collaborative stomp up at home, so much so that we felt we deserved our own band name (Muttford and Chum). With my camera set up remotely during this shoot, I think it's fair to say that the image is proof that his conviction as a performer matches my own." – Luke O'Brien.
© Kathryn Clark/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021
"It's that time of day again! Little Blue enjoys it almost as much as me." – Kathryn Clark.
© Diana Jill Mehner/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021
"This is Leia. As you can see, she definitely loves playing with all the leaves in autumn. It was really tricky to take this picture because you never know what the dog is going to do next." – Diana Jill Mehner.
© Christine Johnson/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021
"I was busy playing with my dog on the beach and this dog came to play. I liked the shapes he was making in the air." – Christine Johnson
© Manel Subirats Ferrer/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021
Nuka playing hide and seek at the beach.
© Colin Doyle/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021
"According to Ozzy, we need a new fence panel ASAP. He is fed up with Chester our nosy next door neighbor spying on him every time he has a meal." – Colin Doyle.
© Corey Seeman/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021
"Two of the morning regulars at the dog park are Gary (hound mix with the jacket) and Kona, one of the most chill dogs ever." – Corey Seeman.
© Lucy Slater/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021
"This is how I like to sit!" – Vincent the cat
© Mollie Cheary/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021
"Bailey was so excited to see her friends, she couldn't sit still for a photo!" – Mollie Cheary
Peet Montzingo and his mom have the most delightful relationship, as evidenced by their joint videos on Montzingo's social media platforms. And one viral video sums up the sort of fun Montzingo and his unique family engage in.
The video is a compilation of clips of Montzingo following his mom around with a trombone, making silly sound effects as she goes about doing chores and normal daily life things. It's simple and silly, which is what makes it so wholesome. People can't get enough of their gentle bantering.
The impromptu Star Wars duel is the best, isn't it?
Montzingo has millions of followers on YouTube and TikTok, where he regularly shares videos about life in his family. At 6 foot 1 inch tall, Montzingo stands out—literally—from his parents and siblings.
As his mini bio from IMDB reads:
"Peet is from Seattle, Washington. He is the only average height member of his family (his mom, dad, brother and sister are little people), which immediately put him in the media spotlight growing up. In February of 2019, he scored a spot as a touring/recording artist in the band 5WEST, touring South Africa, Spain, and Europe. They did their first arena tour as the supporting act for Boyzone autumn of 2019. During the pandemic in 2020, Peet cultivated a massive presence on Tiktok and continues to post his wholesome videos alongside his singing career."
Montzingo advocates for little people in a way that is humorous and light-hearted in addition to being educational. For instance, watch him and his mom illustrate how to (and how not to) talk with short people:
i actually get this question all the time so hope this helps!!! @queenmamadrama #little
"I actually get this question all the time so hope this helps!!!" he wrote in the caption of the video demonstrating various cringey ways to talk to a little person before ultimately showing that you should just stand normally.
Montzingo addresses lots of questions people have in his videos, including whether or not he's actually adopted. This makeover video with his mom is surefire proof that he's got her genes, as the resemblance at the end is uncanny.
low key this process was traumatizing😭 @queenmamadrama
What makes Montzingo's videos so popular is the way he and his family use humor to destigmatize dwarfism and normalize the lives of little people. His mom's house is designed for little people living, with short counters, sinks and furniture, and Montizingo laughs at his challenges as a tall person when he visits her. It's what he grew up with, however, and he shows how much he loves his family and the physical differences between them.
Montzingo's unique role in his family means he can help bridge gaps as an advocate for little people, and it's great to see him doing so in such a wholesome and entertaining way.
Barbara Walters is a now-retired broadcast journalist who gained international fame for her candid interviews with well-known figures. Though she was renowned for her interview techniques and willingness to ask tough questions, sometimes her questions could be somewhat tactless.
Put those two together 44 years ago and you get a shining example of Parton's grace and wit in the face of tasteless questions about her looks, her breasts and criticisms lobbed at her. Parton has always been who she is and portrayed the outward appearances she wants to portray, and she calmly and deftly navigates Walters' patronizing line of questioning with impressive poise.
So much of Barbara Walters' commentary and questioning comes across as condescending and judgmental, but Dolly Parton transforms that negativity into a positive portrayal of who she is, where she's from and what she's all about.
When Walters told her she was beautiful and didn't need the wig and the make-up and the outrageous clothes, Parton told her it was a choice she's making. “I don’t like to be like everybody else," she said. “I would never stoop so low to be fashionable, that’s the easiest thing in the world to do.
"I'm very real as far as my outlook on life and the way I care about people and the way I care about myself and the things I care about. I just chose to do this, and show business is a money-making joke and I've just always liked telling jokes," she added.
Walters asked her if she ever feels that she is a joke, since people make fun of her.
“Oh I know they make fun of me, but all these years the people have thought the joke was on me, but it’s actually on them,” said Parton. “I am sure of myself as a person. I am sure of my talent. I’m sure of my love for life and that sort of thing. I am very content, I like the kind of person that I am. So, I can afford to piddle around and do-diddle around with makeup and clothes and stuff because I am secure with myself.”
The questions about Parton's breasts were particularly tacky, especially by today's standards. But Parton handled it all beautifully. Her responses are a masterclass in grace and her self-assurance is a refreshing model for us all—especially now that we can see how she has stayed true to herself all these years. Anyone who has ever wondered why Dolly Parton's appearance is what it is will learn a lot from this interview, and anyone who wants to learn how to maintain dignity and class in the face of inconsideration will learn a lot as well.