Here are some beautiful portraits of people whose lives changed forever when one simple thing changed for the better.
Every letter submitted donates a pound of food to pets in need.
Every holiday season,
millions of kids send letters asking for everything from a new bike to a pony. Some even make altruistic requests such as peace on Earth or helping struggling families around the holidays.
But wouldn’t the holiday season be even more magical if our pets had their wishes granted, too? That’s why Chewy Claus is stepping up to spread holiday cheer to America’s pets.
Does your dog dream of a month’s supply of treats or chew toys? Would your cat love a new tree complete with a stylish condo? How about giving your betta fish some fresh decor that’ll really tie its tank together?
Or do your pets need something more than mere creature comforts such as life-saving surgery?
“At Chewy, we know pets are a part of the family and we wanted to give them a way to truly participate in the holiday season this year,” said Orlena Yeung, VP of Brand Marketing at Chewy. “Through Chewy Claus, we are hoping to spread joy while recognizing the most important gift that keeps on giving—the love and companionship of our pets.”
To submit your letter to Chewy Claus, just go to be.chewy.com/chewy-claus.
Not only could your pet’s letter make their holidays even merrier, it will give back, too. For every letter submitted to Chewy Claus, Chewy will donate one pound of food to Greater Good Charities (up to 15,000 pounds). Further, for every product purchased during the Season of Giving, Chewy will match up to $1 million per week in a pet food and supply donation to Greater Good Charities, for a potential total of $10 million.
I’ve got a new dog this year, a one-year-old boxer mix named Archie and I know what he wants this holiday season.
The first letter sent to Chewy Claus came from True & Faithful Pet Rescue in Venice, FL. The rescue, which focuses on saving senior dogs, was one of the many victims of Hurricane Ian. Their wish was simple; they asked for food for themselves and those in their community.
Chewy Claus delivered by providing a 20-thousand-pound truckload of food to True & Faithful and other shelter and rescue partners in the community. Chewy also assembled a team of volunteers to hold a clean-up day and donated the necessary funds to rebuild their beloved dog beach.
“We are so grateful for Chewy’s support in rehabilitating our space and not only donating thousands of pounds of food to our community, but also providing the help and funds necessary to rebuild our beach,” Lisa Letson, Founder of True & Faithful Pet Rescue told Upworthy. “The beach is our senior dogs’ happy place, where they can live their best lives for the time they have left. It really is a dream come true for us.”
Chewy is the best place to shop for pets this holiday season because it's the gift that keeps on giving. It’s simple: when you shop, they donate. Chewy will also match customer purchases in the form of a product donation up to $1M per week for a potential total of $10M throughout the season of giving. That means pets living in shelters and rescues will receive toys, treats, food and other essential items this holiday season. Plus, if you write a letter to Chewy Claus, your pet may get their holiday wish and pets in need will get theirs, too—a win win win. Isn’t that what the season is all about?
'Life shouldn't be this hard.'
In America, many people have to work well past the age of retirement to make ends meet. While some of these people choose to work past retirement age because it keeps them active, some older people, like Nola Carpenter, 81, work out of necessity.
Carpenter has been working at Walmart for 20 years, way beyond most people's retirement age just so that she can afford to continue to pay her mortgage. When 19-year-old Devan Bonagura saw the woman looking tired in the break room of the store, he posted a video to his TikTok of Carpenter with a text overlay that said, "Life shouldn't b this hard..." complete with a sad face emoji.
In the video, Carpenter is sitting at a small table looking down and appearing to be exhausted. The caption of the video reads ":/ I feel bad." Turns out, a lot of other people did too, and encouraged the teen to start a GoFundMe, which has since completed.
The retirement age in the United States in order to collect Social Security benefits is 66, or 67 if you were born in or after 1960. But early retirement starts at 62 for reduced benefits. How many years you worked is a deciding factor in how much financial benefit you will receive from Social Security, with the average amount expected to be $1,827 a month in January 2023.
WE LOVE YOU NOLA I HOPE THIS HELPS❤️🙏 #blowthisup #fyp #gofundme #nola #walmart #viralvideo
While that amount of money is nothing to scoff at, it's also not enough to live off of alone, especially for those who fall below the average amount. You also have to factor in Medicare premiums and tax withholdings that must come out of that figure. So it's no wonder that people over the age of 67 have to continue to work if they don't have adequate savings put away to retire on. The cost of living increases impact all age groups, including the elderly.
Thankfully for this elderly Walmart worker, the GoFundMe quickly exploded and raised $110,000 in just 24 hours. But when Bonagura went to give the money to Carpenter, she was grateful for the help but explained she would still need to work until the other $60,000 of her mortgage was paid off. This prompted users to give more to secure Carpenter's retirement.
In the end, the GoFundMe raised $186,000, which was enough to pay off the mortgage on the woman's house. Retirement is now on the horizon for the grandmother, who says she's set to retire on the first of the year. She wants to make sure she helps her co-workers get through the holiday season before hanging up her vest for good.
Update video with Nola ❤️ #nola #dbon #gofundme #viral #blowthisup #love #kindness #givingback
As for Bonagura, he's currently suspended with pay due to him filming at the store and posting it to TikTok. While he wasn't an employee of Walmart, he worked for a cellphone carrier that operated sales inside the store. Nevertheless, Bonagura feels he did the right thing and is focused solely on making sure Carpenter gets to retire.
It's amazing what people can accomplish when they work together. Happy retirement, Nola! Here's to hoping you enjoy every minute of it.
No quarters required!
Remember when calling your parents, a tow truck or a friend when you were out and about meant digging in your pocket for a quarter to make a pay phone call? Well, a Philadelphia-based collective, PhilTel, is jumping into the past with a modern twist, by installing free-to-use pay phones throughout the city.
Of course, the pay phones that many of us grew up were removed from public places years ago. There no longer seemed to be a need for them when most people had a phone in their pocket or in their hand. But it's easy to forget that not everyone has or wants that luxury. For some people, staying that connected all the time can be too much and for others, it's simply financially impossible to own a cell phone.
Cell phones are expensive, and when you add the cost of a phone plan or paying for minutes, they quickly become out of reach for many people on fixed incomes or those experiencing homelessness. PhilTel's aim is to help close this gap by making phones accessible to all. There's only one catch: You have to leave the quarters at home!
That's right, the phones will be free to use and that includes making nationwide calls. For the people of Philadelphia, that means a lot less asking strangers to use their phone if your battery dies or you accidentally lock your phone in your car. According to opensource.com, Mike Dank, the co-founder of PhilTel, said, "Philadelphia in particular has a lot of payphone use, even as payphone companies have been steadily removing phones from service year after year."
Dank continued, "Residents who rely on these phones are being increasingly marginalized and if this trend continues, many will be left without a communication platform they need to carry out their lives."
This isn't the first time pay phones were added to a city in the age of cellphones. PhilTel was inspired by a company called Futel in Portland, Oregon, that has a similar program.
The phones are not new, they're actually refurbished pay phones and will use a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service to connect callers. If you're in Philly, you'll be able to use one of these free pay phones as soon as December 17, when the first one gets installed at Iffy Books.
While this is a wonderful solution for those that need access to pay phones for day-to-day life, one has to wonder if the name will get updated. I mean, they're not really pay phones anymore. They're free phones or just public phones. I don't know about you but this little detail is going to live in my head rent-free for a while.
This article originally appeared on 07.22.21
As if a Canada goose named Arnold isn't endearing enough, his partner who came looking for him when he was injured is warming hearts and having us root for this sweet feathered couple.
Cape Wildlife Center in Barnstable, Massachusetts shared the story on its Facebook page, in what they called "a first" for their animal hospital.
"We often have people ask if they can visit the patients they dropped off, but today we had our first animal visitor!" they wrote. "For the safety of our patients we do not accommodate visitation requests, but in this case we had to make an exception!"
Arnold is a Canada goose that lives on a pond near the facility and is part of a mated pair of wild geese that have been together for several years. The center said the geese usually keep to themselves, but one of their staff noticed that Arnold was walking with a "significant limp" and kept falling over. They were able to capture him and bring him into the hospital for examination.
A goose visits its mate at the Cape Wildlife Center
"Upon exam our veterinary team found that he had two open-fractures on his foot," they wrote. "This means that the tissue and skin has been pulled away leaving the bone exposed. Our best guess is that a Snapping turtle or other predator attacked him while swimming."
To save his foot and help him survive, the staff knew they had to amputate one of the digits and suture the other wound closed. They gave him antibiotics and pain meds and prepped him for surgery the following morning.
Then his mate came knocking.
"Today, as we prepared to sedate Arnold and get him ready for surgery, we heard a faint tapping at the clinic door," the center wrote. "We turned to see that his mate had waddled up onto the porch and was attempting to break into our clinic! She had somehow located him and was agitated that she could not get inside. She remained there throughout the entire procedure, watching us work, never moving from the doorway."
Surgery went well, and once Arnold woke up the staff decided to let him recover by the doorway so he and his mate could see each other.
"We opened the door and gave Arnold his flow-by oxygen in the doorway. His mate immediately calmed down and began to groom him through the door. They both seemed much more at ease in each other's presence."
"Arnold will likely need several weeks of treatment in our hospital before he is ready to rejoin his mate in the wild," they added. "He will need to be kept inside for the majority of this time in order to keep his wound sterile and prevent infection. We will do our best to get him back out quickly and will perform bandage changes and treatments in view of the doorway when possible so that his mate can check up on him. ❤️"
While attempting not to anthropomorphize too much, it's so sweet to see animal partners show such genuine care for one another. Canada geese mate for life, and they are known to mourn in seclusion when they lose a mate. Seeing Arnold's mate coming to find him and comfort him during his treatment is just too lovely.
Feel good story of the day, indeed. Wishing you a speedy recovery, Arnold!
Photographer Nils Jacobi shows how cats aren't nearly as aloof as one might think.
People often mistakingly attribute a singular personality to cats—usually the words "aloof" or "snobby" are used to describe them. At best, they might be given the "evil genius" label. But in actuality, no two cats are alike. Each has their own distinct ways of being, whether that’s silly, sophisticated, affectionate, downright diabolical or somewhere in between.
This photographer has the pictures to prove it.Nils Jacobi, better known online as furryfritz, the catographer, has photographed literally thousands upon thousands of cats—from Maine coons who look like they should be in a perfume ad to tabbies in full-on derp mode.
Jacobi started on the traditional photography path in 2011, focusing mostly on human portraits.
When he noticed that his kitty content generated a lot more buzz online (no surprise to cat people), Jacobi started developing a niche, and now has made a career out of it. He not only does commissioned shoots for individuals, but is often called on for commercial work in magazines and pet food ads. In other words: cats on cats on cats. All day, every day.
This was certainly an unexpected life path, since Jacob admits to not even liking cats as a kid—a lot of that due to a temporary childhood allergy. It wasn’t until he met his adopted cat Fritz, aka the “love of his life,” that he started to have a change of heart.
Here’s Fritz in full Halloween glory.
@furryfritz Count Fritzula wishing you a spooky Halloween 🎃🧛♂️👻 #furryfritz#catographer#cat#halloween#halloweencat♬ Solitude - Felsmann + Tiley Reinterpretation - M83 & Felsmann + Tiley
Despite having worked with so many cats, Jacobi says that every photoshoot is unique, and that's what keeps things exciting. The key, he tells Upworthy, is being flexible and patient. “You can’t force a cat to pose in front of the camera. If it feels uncomfortable, you will notice it in the photos and it won’t look good.”
He also stresses the importance of tending to the needs of each individual cat. Some respond to play more, kittens especially. Others are a bit more treat oriented. Occasionally he'll even pull out the “kitty drugs” like valerian, catnip or silvervine if a feline client is particularly high strung.
Actually, there is one thing that remains the same. Every photoshoot begins with a thorough sniffing of Jacobi’s equipment.
In case you're still on the fence about whether or not this guy has the best job in the world, one of the biggest perks is meeting kittens on the regular. It’s one of the things he finds the most rewarding, along with collaborating with shelters. For two years in a row, he’s participated in a charity photoshoot for his local animal shelter, and he has offered free photoshoots in exchange for shelter donations. You could say he’s using his talent to be a top-notch catvocate.
And of course, when not sharing images of his fabulous meowdels, Jacobi offers us vital info on his TikTok, like how to make kitty Christmas cookies:
@furryfritz Cat cookies for xmas 🍪😻 #furryfritz#catographer#cats#xmascat#christmascookies#catcookies♬ Jingle Bell Rock - Bobby Helms
Or you can stick to following his work on Instagram. It’s never without amazing cat inspo.