Syria is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a child. The numbers tell a story some of us haven't heard.
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
In his book Atomic Habits, James Clear notes that “your outcomes are a lagging measure of your habits … you get what you repeat.” Basically, if you want to predict where your life is leading, take a look at your daily choices. And Clear is certainly not the first or last motivational speaker to promote this wisdom. Pick up any self-help book, and it will most likely tout the message of how small, incremental changes can have an enormous impact on our lives.
A recent thread on AskReddit posed the question: What improved your quality of life so much you wished you did it sooner? For those of us who still can’t seem to tick off things like “drink more water” from the to-do list (despite knowing full well all the benefits) it might help hearing success stories from real, everyday people.
Here are some of the highlights:
“Drugs, bed rest for weeks, chiro, deep massage, electroshock. Then I swam some laps and over a three day period months of decrepitude vanished. I couldn’t believe and am now obsessed with swimming." – DontShootTheFood
“Most people who have back pain (especially lower back pain) have it as a result of sedentary lifestyle (exacerbated by sitting in office chairs for a long period of time). Swimming is a fantastic total body and core workout which just builds and balances strength to reduce back pain. If you have pain due to an injury, it may not be as effective." – hanksredditname
“Someone wants to pass me when I'm in the left lane? Move over and let them pass. Someone wants in my lane? That's ok, I don't consider the gap ahead of me to be my real estate. Semi puts on their blinkers when I'm intending to pass? Let off the speed and flick my high beams to let them know there's enough room to enter my lane. All of this helps traffic flow better, makes things safer, and actually feels good to do. And all it required was to stop feeling like all of those things were a personal attack on me and my desire to get to my destination." – Buddahrific
“I used to feel like I had to hang out with people when they asked, and as an introvert would resent losing my ‘me’ time. Now I'm just honest with people and say I'm tired, or that I had a long weekend of Great British Bakeoff and dog snuggles that I was really looking forward to. Might sound lame but I'm 150% happier.” – Acceptable-Place0872“…I'm in my late twenties and talk to neither of my parents. I forgive them for what they did, but I don't want a relationship of any kind with them and have made that very clear. I just stopped picking up the phone, texting back, messaging back at all. My brother still talks to one, but he suffers for it. I know I made the right decision.” – thekindwillinherit
“I wish more people knew exactly how helpful exercise really is for both mental and physical health! Throughout high school I was seeing psychologists for anxiety and other issues and they repeatedly told me to eat healthy and exercise to improve my mental state. It's pretty easy when you are in a bad place to dismiss that and say 'a chemical imbalance in my brain isn't going to fix itself if I go for a run' so I never followed their advice. When I was around 20 I got a gym membership and actually started exercising for unrelated reasons and WOW does it help a lot! If you have mental health issues, a healthy lifestyle might not totally fix you but it will DEFINITELY help.” – vindaflyfox
“Disable your push notifications in tandem with uninstalling all social media apps. It's quite fascinating how much better you feel when social media isn't installed. Bye bye FB/Meta, Insta, Twitter, all of it gone. Talk about liberating. Took me about a month of "training", but now I hardly ever look at my phone, and I no longer feel phantom vibrations while it's in my pocket. It's disgusting how we've become slaves to our devices.” – dj92wa
“I’ve been using my CPAP for a few weeks now and I actually know what it’s like to have energy and motivation and not be a zombie by 2 pm. If anyone else feels like that, I heavily recommend talking to your doctor about having a sleep study done.” – whomikehidden
“Sunrise Alarm Clock. I wake up so much better during the dark winter months.” – herbstavore
“...A consistently clean home is amazing and doesn’t take a ton of time. 10-15 minutes a day I can keep things fairly tidy.” – unwinagainstable“Nothing feels so relaxing when everything is in its place, organized and uncluttered. This obviously goes for at home, but also a clean car, clean desk, clean and organized computer and filing. Taking notes and reminders and deleting them when the task is done really relieves the mind. You can relax and focus better when your brain isn't cluttered and overwhelmed.” – KanataCitizen
“This literally saved my life. A lot of people think just going out for a walk has minimal benefits, but it has both great physical and mental ones. Highly underrated (and free).” – grittypitty
“…it helps remind me of my values, which helps me make better decisions each day, and having done it for three years now, I can see the progress I’ve made in learning not to sweat the small stuff. It’s encouraging. I’m figuring myself out.” – babblewocky
"I thought this gave me sharp, dry wit but really it was one step up from a teenager's whiney voice making fun of people. It really was a low form of humor and, indeed, the perfect analog to the pseudo-intellectualism of the cynical act. It's so easy to be sarcastic and nasty and it gets old REALLY fast.” – zazzlekdazzle
“I stopped consuming true crime content this past summer. It overall made me a more fearful, less empathetic, and more judgemental person by nature. The content encouraged my negative thought spirals and called it awareness. Never going back.” – notwest94
“It is small but it genuinely makes a big impact. I had an assignment for a university course last year where we had to spend one week noting down something positive/good each day and then the next week negative things and I hadn’t realized just how much my life has improved until the week where I focused on negative things, it really solidified how much of a difference it made on my mood, how I felt about myself, and even how much I accomplished.” – supersaurus65
There were some other great contenders: daily dancing, seeing a therapist, stretching before bed and at waking … just to name a few. But no matter the habit, they planted seeds for not only a new life, but for a new identity. As Clear would put it, “every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.”
Let authors like Clear help guide you—and stories like the ones above help inspire you—as you forge a better path for yourself, one small step at a time.
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.