Note on woman's apartment door about her howling old pug is a heartwarming reminder to treat animals with kindness.

Please stop what you're doing and say hi to Charleston Chew.

He's an adorable old pug from Pennsylvania who's recently won over the internet's heart.

And he'll likely win over yours, too.

All photos courtesy of Sharla Wilson, used with permission.


(According to his human, Charleston goes by about a dozen other names — including Muffin Toes, Puffins, Chi Chi, and Butters. But for the sake of simplicity, let's stick with Charleston.)

Charleston and his owner, Sharla Wilson, recently moved into a new home in Pittsburgh.

But Charleston's been having some real issues with the change.

You see, the new apartment — with its foreign floor plan and unusual surroundings — has been stressful for 11-year-old creature of habit Charleston.

So he's been a bit louder than usual throughout the adjustment period.

Concerned her new neighbors may be irked by Charleston's stress-induced howls, Wilson taped a message to her front door.

"Hello, Neighbors!" the note began. "My name is Charleston Chew and I'm very sorry for my howling."

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The message continued:

"I'm an old man now, with cataracts, and sometimes I get real scared because I can't see where I am and can't find my mom. As I get used to my new place, I will start to settle down.

Thanks for being patient with me. I don't mean to be such a pain.

Charleston Chew Pug
Apt 502"

"It's a quiet building and I just didn't want anyone losing sleep or getting upset over his challenges to adjusting," Wilson explains in an email to Upworthy. "This isn't something he just does when I'm away at work. If I'm in another room or in the shower, he'll howl for me if he wakes up and I'm not by his side."

She's not kidding. Here's a cute video of Charleston howling ... at a dandelion.

One of Charleston's new neighbors, Megan Jones, spotted the note on Wilson's door and shared a pic of it on Twitter. "You howl all you want Charleston, honey," she wrote.

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Her tweet totally took off.

Since Jones shared it on April 30, nearly half a million people have liked the image, and over 120,000 have retweeted it (at the time of this writing).

Charleston truly has gone ridiculously viral.

The replies to Jones' tweet were delightful as well. Many people were losing it over how adorable Charleston is, and many fellow pet owners shared pics of their own four-legged family members.

"What an awesome mom!" one user chimed in. "Letting the new neighbors know what's going on in such an adorable way!"

Charleston's viral fame even made its way back to Wilson and Jones' landlord!

The story is super sweet all on its own — but it gets even sweeter when you learn how much Charleston has meant to Wilson over the years.

Charleston was given to Wilson when he was just 5 weeks old. He weighed less than 3 pounds and wobbled more than he actually walked.

"I'm a big proponent of adoption and wasn't in the market for a dog," Wilson said. "That being said, as soon as I saw his tiny little face, he had my heart."

The little pup has helped Wilson through more than he'll ever know.

"Charleston has been my constant through some of the biggest struggles and obstacles I've faced," Wilson says. "He's been a steadfast source of laughter and joy. He has been a driving force of renewal and hope during my darkest days. He is the embodiment of the purest form of unconditional love this world has to offer."

He's the biggest sweetheart, Wilson emphasizes, always making friends with cats, children, and other dogs, too: "He's just the nicest dude."

Maybe he's not the fiercest guard dog — "My apartment was once broken into and I guarantee you [Charleston] offered the intruder a beer and helped him carry the stolen goods to the car," Wilson jokes — but he's a kind-hearted keeper nonetheless.

Charleston's health has been declining, though.

And as many pet owners know all too well, it's a tough experience for Wilson.

Among other ailments, Charleston has diabetes, which keeps him on a very strict diet. Wilson said she can spend over $300 a month on items like insulin, prescription food, lotions, and pee pads: "I stretch myself to try and give him the best life after all that he's given me."

"It's difficult not to feel sorrow from time to time at the idea of losing my sweet boy," she says.

Fortunately, the love-struck internet wanted to help Charleston out.

And a few big pet brands caught wind.

Wilson confirms that PetSmart is letting Charleston and Wilson go on a shopping spree, free of charge. A company called WyzeCam is providing camera so that Wilson can keep tabs on Charleston when she's away from the apartment. And 1-800-PetMeds is sending a goodie basket filled with calming tabs, an activity monitor, and more.

Wilson has had "tears in [her] eyes" from all the love sent Charleston's way. She's "at a loss, shocked by it," she says. "To be able to give him a bit more and get some things that were beyond my means is just incredible."

But beyond any tangible items, Wilson is most touched by the fact that strangers near and far have been able to get to know the Charleston she's adored from the start.

"This outpouring of love has been the most comforting experience," she says. "I see Charleston as this unique and wonderful little guy, and to feel so many people experiencing that with me has been inconceivably fulfilling. His big heart has touched people and it's beautiful to feel that I'm not alone in my sentiment."

"He and I are a tag team of weirdos," Wilson concludes. "And I wouldn't have it any other way."

To keep tabs on Charleston, follow him and Wilson on Twitter.

This article was originally publisted on May 5, 2018.

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Judy Vaughan has spent most of her life helping other women, first as the director of House of Ruth, a safe haven for homeless families in East Los Angeles, and later as the Project Coordinator for Women for Guatemala, a solidarity organization committed to raising awareness about human rights abuses.

But in 1996, she decided to take things a step further. A house became available in the mid-Wilshire area of Los Angeles and she was offered the opportunity to use it to help other women and children. So, in partnership with a group of 13 people who she knew from her years of activism, she decided to make it a transitional residence program for homeless women and their children. They called the program Alexandria House.

"I had learned from House of Ruth that families who are homeless are often isolated from the surrounding community," Judy says. "So we decided that as part of our mission, we would also be a neighborhood center and offer a number of resources and programs, including an after-school program and ESL classes."

She also decided that, unlike many other shelters in Los Angeles, she would accept mothers with their teenage boys.

"There are very few in Los Angeles [that do] due to what are considered liability issues," Judy explains. "Given the fact that there are (conservatively) 56,000 homeless people and only about 11,000 shelter beds on any one night, agencies can be selective on who they take."

Their Board of Directors had already determined that they should take families that would have difficulties finding a place. Some of these challenges include families with more than two children, immigrant families without legal documents, moms who are pregnant with other small children, families with a member who has a disability [and] families with service dogs.

"Being separated from your son or sons, especially in the early teen years, just adds to the stress that moms who are unhoused are already experiencing," Judy says.

"We were determined to offer women with teenage boys another choice."

Courtesy of Judy Vaughan

Alexandria House also doesn't kick boys out when they turn 18. For example, Judy says they currently have a mom with two daughters (21 and 2) and a son who just turned 18. The family had struggled to find a shelter that would take them all together, and once they found Alexandria House, they worried the boy would be kicked out on his 18th birthday. But, says Judy, "we were not going to ask him to leave because of his age."

Homelessness is a big issue in Los Angeles. "[It] is considered the homeless capital of the United States," Judy says. "The numbers have not changed significantly since 1984 when I was working at the House of Ruth." The COVID-19 pandemic has only compounded the problem. According to Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), over 66,000 people in the greater Los Angeles area were experiencing homelessness in 2020, representing a rise of 12.7% compared with the year before.

Each woman who comes to Alexandria House has her own unique story, but some common reasons for ending up homeless include fleeing from a domestic violence or human trafficking situation, aging out of foster care and having no place to go, being priced out of an apartment, losing a job, or experiencing a family emergency with no 'cushion' to pay the rent.

"Homelessness is not a definition; it is a situation that a person finds themselves in, and in fact, it can happen to almost anyone. There are many practices and policies that make it almost impossible to break out of poverty and move out of homelessness."

And that's why Alexandria House exists: to help them move out of it. How long that takes depends on the woman, but according to Judy, families stay an average of 10 months. During that time, the women meet with support staff to identify needs and goals and put a plan of action in place.

A number of services are provided, including free childcare, programs and mentoring for school-age children, free mental health counseling, financial literacy classes and a savings program. They have also started Step Up Sisterhood LA, an entrepreneurial program to support women's dreams of starting their own businesses. "We serve as a support system for as long as a family would like," Judy says, even after they have moved on.

And so far, the program is a resounding success.

92 percent of the 200 families who stayed at Alexandria House have found financial stability and permanent housing — not becoming homeless again.

Since founding Alexandria House 25 years ago, Judy has never lost sight of her mission to join with others and create a vision of a more just society and community. That is why she is one of Tory Burch's Empowered Women this year — and the donation she receives as a nominee will go to Alexandria House and will help grow the new Start-up Sisterhood LA program.

"Alexandria House is such an important part of my life," says Judy. "It has been amazing to watch the children grow up and the moms recreate their lives for themselves and for their families. I have witnessed resiliency, courage, and heroic acts of generosity."

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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