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The therapy dogs at Walter Reed are not magic. (OK, maybe a little bit.)

When you're going through something really hard, sometimes what you need is a warm, fuzzy, adorable distraction.

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The magic science is compelling. Therapy dogs really do seem to help sick and injured people recover.

Therapy dogs like those at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in the above video by Military Health aren't random dogs from a local shelter. These are highly trained, certified dogs with handlers. Therapy and emotional support dogs have been shown to help veterans break out of their emotional shells, leading to more productive therapy sessions and better relationships with loved ones.

More research is needed into how exactly therapy dogs help mitigate the problems that wounded veterans experience, but we've known for a very long time that having pets — especially dogs — grants some pretty serious health benefits.


Why do dogs make us feel good?

One big reason: They stimulate our brains to create oxytocin.

Quick neurochemistry lesson:

Oxytocin is a hormone that the brain excretes during certain social interactions. It does a few neat magic tricks on the mind and the body. Scientists have found that oxytocin:

  • helps us bond with our friends, romantic partners, and family (especially children),
  • prompts our bodies to heal themselves,
  • helps us trust each other, and
  • reduces anxiety, fear, and stress.

How awesome is all that?

This awesome:

Do you think a dog can have an impact on happiness?

Go pet your dog and then tell me. If you don't have a dog, pet someone else's dog. (But always ask first.)

Pedro Pascal and Bowen Yang can't keep a straight face as Ego Nwodim tries to cut her steak.

Most episodes of “Saturday Night Live” are scheduled so the funnier bits go first and the riskier, oddball sketches appear towards the end, in case they have to be cut for time. But on the February 4 episode featuring host Pedro Pascal (“The Mandalorian,” “The Last of Us”), the final sketch, “Lisa from Temecula,” was probably the most memorable of the night.

That’s high praise because it was a strong episode, with a funny “Last of Us” parody featuring the Super Mario Brothers and a sketch where Pascal played a protective mother.

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Photo by Rusty Watson on Unsplash

A few simple tweaks to go from "Yuck!" to "Yum!"

Sure, you might find an adventurous 3-year-old who enjoys sushi and salads from time to time. But generally speaking, toddlers are notoriously picky eaters. If a meal strays even an inch beyond the comfort zone of french fries and grilled cheese, it’s a hard no. Followed by tears. Or maybe screaming. Or both.

However, Emma Hubbard, a pediatric occupational therapist, is convinced that even the finickiest kid can be coaxed into expanding their palate with just a few simple yet effective tweaks.

As Hubbard mentions in her video, new food isn’t just unpleasant for toddlers—it’s downright scary. “Toddlers have a genuine fear of trying new food,” she said, which explains why they have such a visceral fight-or-flight reaction and “become overwhelmed and run away, have a tantrum, or shut down.”

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Pop Culture

Keanu Reeves shocks a small-town pub by stopping in for a pint and taking photos with the staff

“So today we had a surprise visitor for lunch. What a lovely man he was, too."

Keanu Reeves in São Paulo, Brazil, 2019.

Keanu Reeves has a reputation as one of Hollywood’s nicest celebrities. Recently, he cheered up an 80-year-old fan who had a crush on him by calling her on the phone. He’s also bought an ice cream cone for a fan to give an autograph on the receipt and crashed a wedding to take photos with the bride and groom.

He’s also an incredible humanitarian who gave up a big chunk of his money from "The Matrix" to a cancer charity.

The “John Wick” star was his usual gracious self over the weekend when on Saturday, February 4, he and a friend walked into The Robin Hood pub in Tring, Hertfordshire, about 30 miles outside of London.

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Education

She quit teaching, works at Costco, and has 'never been happier.' That says something.

Maggie Perkins' viral videos and unique perspective have ignited the conversation around teacher attrition.

Maggie Perkins doesn't miss having a winter break.

Maggie Perkins loves teaching, loves teachers and loves students. In fact, she loves them so much that working on her Ph.D. in Educational Theory and Practice. Her research is focused on teacher attrition, examining why quality, experienced teachers quit the profession—something she understands all too well since she recently became one of them.

The former educator now works at Costco and she says she's never been happier. Her migraines are gone. Her anxiety has improved. She sleeps through the night. As an entry-level employee, she makes less money than she did teaching, but not enough less to make a difference in her financial situation. She goes home from work happy at the end of the day.

Perkins has been sharing the contrast in working conditions between the classroom and Costco on her TikTok channel and it is eye-opening, to say the least.

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The Late Late Show with James Corden/Youtube

The instructors were ruthless.

If you’re not familiar with James Corden’s popular "Toddlerography" segment, you’re in for a treat.

As the name suggests, celebrity guests on “The Late Late Show with James Corden” take a dance class taught by kiddy instructors. Sure, the “students” are usually pretty seasoned performers, like Jennifer Lopez, Justin Bieber, and Jason Derulo, but their experience doesn’t make learning the moves any less intense. Anyone who’s tried to keep pace with a toddler knows it’s a helluva workout.

Billy Porter was the latest guest invited to participate in this wholesome fitness trend, and he did not disappoint.

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via Freepik

A new mother struggling with postpartum depression.

We may be just months away from having the first-ever pill to help treat postpartum depression (PPD). The drug, called Zuranolone, was developed by Sage Therapeutics and Biogen, two companies out of Cambridge, Massachusetts. The FDA has given the drug’s application priority review and the period ends on August 5, 2023.

Currently, there is only one FDA-approved medication for PPD, Zulresso, which is only available through a 60-hour, one-time infusion and can cost up to $35,000 per treatment.

If the medication is approved, it can also be used to treat major depressive disorder (MDD).

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