These pigs, seen here busily devouring carrots, have a very important job.

All GIFs via USA Today/YouTube.


They provide Alzheimer's patients in Colorado with love, affection, and an ample dose of surprise.

Back in May 2015, USA Today spoke with the pigs' owner, Erin Brinkley-Burgardt, who brings them to Highline Place in Littleton, Colorado, to work with the seniors there. The memory care facility has kept up the program, its activities organizer told Upworthy, with Sunday piggie visits planned at least through September.

According to Brinkley-Burgardt, many residents are skeptical of the animals at first (having a pig in your house is ... unusual, to say the least), but that skepticism very rapidly devolves (evolves?) into a total love-fest. USA Today explains:

"Boris and Pumba make their way around the halls of Highline Place in a little green wagon. Brinkley-Burgardt says the residents are always a little shocked when they first arrive, but warm up to the pigs quickly.

'It just takes the first person to warm up—then everyone else is like 'oh ok! I'll try it!' said Brinkley-Burgardt."

Because of the nature of Alzheimer's disease, the pigs are a constant, delightful surprise. As Brinkley-Burgardt says in the article, "The residents won't always remember the pigs — so it's really like a new experience every week — and it's a different experience every week — which is great!"

Therapy animals can be a godsend for patients suffering from all kinds of dementia — including Alzheimer's.

Some studies have shown that having an animal around can significantly decrease anxiety in people with older dementia patients and even help them regain the desire to socialize.

Usually these animals are dogs or sometimes bunnies. Therapy pigs are not quite as common.

Not yet, anyway.

But after watching video of Brinkley-Burgardt's pigs charm the pants off the Highline Place residents, it's hard not to come to the conclusion that perhaps they should be:

When reached for comment, Highline Place told Upworthy that they are, unfortunately, discontinuing the program because the pigs have gotten too big and Brinkley-Burgardt is moving out of state soon, but Boris and Pumba will continue their weekly visits through the end of August 2015.

But, if you know anyone in the Littleton, CO area with a pair of adorable piglets looking for work...maybe give Highline Place a call?

via Jody Danielle Fisher / Facebook

Breast milk is an incredibly magical food. The wonderful thing is that it's produced by a collaboration between mother and baby.

British mother Jody Danielle Fisher shared the miracle of this collaboration on Facebook recently after having her 13-month-old child vaccinated.

In the post, she compared the color of her breast milk before and after the vaccination, to show how a baby's reaction to the vaccine has a direct effect on her mother's milk production.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Picsea on Unsplash
True

It is said that once you've seen something, you can't unsee it. This is exactly what is happening in America right now. We have collectively watched the pot of racial tension boil over after years of looking the other way, insisting that hot water doesn't exist, pretending not to notice the smoke billowing out from every direction.

Ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away—it prolongs resolution. There's a whole lot of harm to be remedied and damage to be repaired as a result of racial injustice, and it's up to all of us to figure out how to do that. Parents, in particular, are recognizing the importance of raising anti-racist children; if we are unable to completely eradicate racism, maybe the next generation will.

How can parents ensure that the next generation will actively refuse to perpetuate systems and behaviors embedded in racism? The most obvious answer is to model it. Take for example, professional tennis player Serena Williams and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Mahir Uysal on Unsplash

Two years ago, I got off the phone after an interview and cried my eyes out. I'd just spent an hour talking to Tim Ballard, the founder of Operation Underground Railroad, an organization that helps fight child sex trafficking, and I just couldn't take it.

Ballard told me about how the training to go undercover as a child predator nearly broke him. He told me an eerie story of a trafficker who could totally compartmentalize, showing Ballard photos of kids he had for sale, then switching gears to proudly show him a photo of his own daughter on her bicycle, just as any parent would. He told me about how lucrative child trafficking is—how a child can bring in three or four times as much as a female prostitute—and how Americans are the industry's biggest consumers.

Keep Reading Show less

Believe it or not, there has been a lot of controversy lately about how people cook rice. According to CNN, the "outrage" was a reaction to a clip Malaysian comedian Nigel Ng posted as one of his personas known as Uncle Roger.

It was a hilarious (and harmless) satire about the method chef Hersha Patel used to cook rice on the show BBC Food.


Keep Reading Show less